If given three days to learn from some of the greatest public health influences of our country, be provided with evidence-based tools and resources for professional growth, and to receive a mini-grant for planning a community program, how would you choose to address a health issue in your community?
This was the challenge posed by program recruiters for a unique leadership program — the Paul Ambrose Scholar’s Program — named after a heroic medical doctor who fell victim to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Along with 40 other graduate students from other health care professions, I recently had the opportunity to attend this leadership symposium in Washington, DC, where we spent three days engaged in learning, communicating, and sharing our experiences and ideas for potential improvement in health care.
After attending multiple presentations on topics including health policy advocacy, program planning and development, prevention, health literacy, funding, and social determinants of health, my colleagues and I were given multiple opportunities to engage in roundtable discussions focusing on how the content provided might be applicable in addressing real world issues found in our communities. Bringing together individuals from various disciplines from around the country with one common interest — to address the health disparities through prevention and promotion — highlighted the necessity of taking a multidisciplinary approach when working to make meaningful and sustainable improvements within a population.
I returned to Austin with a renewed sense and better understanding of how my peers and I possess the potential to impact and influence change in the very city in which we reside. Through thoughtful communication and advocacy, careful planning and consideration, and evidence-based research, we future public health nurses and other health care providers, have the ability to serve as catalysts for positive change.
Having the opportunity to attend the Paul Ambrose Symposium was invaluable and worthwhile, and the relationships made with fellow scholars will be lasting. I look forward to sharing resources and additional opportunities with my peers during the upcoming semester, as well as beginning my community project in addressing perceptions of HIV testing and prevention among inmates in a local correctional facility.
As a current Alternate Entry Master’s in Public Health Nursing student and a former educator, I found great value in this program and want to encourage health care graduate students to look into it as an opportunity for growth. I feel fortunate to have received support from School of Nursing professors and instructors, such as Dr. Alexandra Garcia and Whitney Thurman, who have played instrumental roles in my personal growth and interest in public health.
For anyone interested in applying to this program for the upcoming cohort, please visit www.aptrweb.org/?page=pasp for more information, or contact me at email@example.com.
The Paul Ambrose Scholars Program (PASP) is planned and implemented by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. PASP is sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Mary Pomeroy is a second-year student in the Master’s in Public Health Nursing program at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.