I have had the wonderful opportunity to serve H-STAT as the Education co-chair for the past year (2015-2016). As a responsibility of this position, I had the pleasure of organizing and attending H-STAT’s 13th Annual Leadership Symposium (for the first time). If this is your first time hearing about this event, the Leadership Symposium provides health students in Georgia the opportunity to present their research through different styles and listen/ network with other students, many of whom share similar interests and goals. The symposium’s theme this year was “Taking Action Together: Student Perspectives on and Solutions to Health Inequities.”
Students were able to present their research through panel discussions, three-minute thesis presentations, and poster presentations. One of the two panel discussions was geared towards addressing inequalities through student innovation. The students discussed the various community programs they were participating in/ organized and the strengths and weaknesses of their programs. An extremely important takeaway I observed was the impact strengthening intra-organizational relationships has on the efficacy and longevity of the program. Many times, we become so absorbed in reaching the targeted outcome that we forget to maintain the foundation. I thought the students made wonderful suggestions focused on mentoring future leaders and the continual focus on communication within the organization.
In addition to the student presentations, we were joined by Dr. Rodney Lyn from Georgia State University and Dr. Otis Brawley from the American Cancer Society. Personally, I was tasked with reading Dr. Brawley’s book, “How We Do Harm”, during my first semester of graduate school. It was surreal to, not only get to meet him, but listen to him discuss inequalities in our society and the future of cancer research.
If you were unable to attend this year, check back in the spring of 2017 for the 14th Annual Leadership Symposium!