On Friday, April 26, 2013, we hosted our first CCNY Chapter Healthcare Policy Conference.  After much promotion, organizational tasks, and arrangements, we can proudly say the conference was a success.  The conference had over 60 students in total and there were even attendants who were not formally students in CCNY such as Hunter College and Hofstra University.  We had various health organizations and health experts such as Harlem Seeds, Metro NY Health Care for all Campaign, Doctors for America, and Peer Health Exchange, and Professor Villarosa who informed students on different health issues pertaining to NYC and the Harlem community. Students and student organizations also had a chance to speak about some of the health related issues they are currently working on campus such as New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Veterans Association, Price of Life Campaign, Harlem Seeds Youth Council, Teachers of Tomorrow, and Earl who spoke about diabetes. Throughout the day, we were constantly asking the attendants if they were engaged, learning, and gaining from the experience.  Everyone we spoke to were engaged in the different kinds of discussions on healthcare policy and public health issues.  After the conference, I have asked a few of the attendants about their thoughts on the conference.  Listed below are a few attendants’ thoughts on the conference:

“The health conference was not what I expected. I expected a room full of stations (tables with info) where people could go and find out information about respective health organizations/projects. What we experienced was far greater. I enjoyed the round table discussions, they were informative and engaged the room in an efficient way. There’s something about learning in groups of people versus standing at a table with fliers. It seemed more personal and you were able to hear out every organization and their heart/vision. The conversation that struck me the roughest was the talk on diabetes. It’s crazy how expensive it is and how unaware certain communities are of the damage and consequences that come with that disease. I was encouraged to find out more about it. It also helps that I have been more conscious of what goes in my body and what I support when I buy food, which heavily ties into the Price of Life Campaign. I was excited to see Price of Life represented. I was blown away by the response, so many unaware individuals exposed to a harsh reality, that we can help make a difference in. I was also very proud to see my teammate Kimberly share what Price of Life mans to her, I felt like a proud big sister. With all that said, I am truly grateful to the Roosevelt Institute for their invitation to participate.”

Gissell Rodriguez, Senior Music Major, History Minor

“The Health Conference was helpful and enlightening as it hit various aspect of public health. I enjoyed the talk about how media affects public discourse of health, ranging from the current political situation with healthcare to international coverage of health in different regions around the world. Harlem Seeds was also enjoyable to listen about as I learned different ways of bringing a healthy diet to communities with little access to healthy food. Overall, the conference was very fun to attend and very helpful in understanding more about the different aspects of health besides the scientific aspects of it.”

Emily Cheung: Lower Junior, International Studies Major, Asian Studies Minor

“The Roosevelt Institute’s conference on health care was very informative and engaging on all levels. I learned about the different opportunities available in the local community, which individuals could pursue to promote healthy lifestyles. In addition, I enjoyed listening to presentations by the Metro NY Health Care Campaign, Peer Health Exchange, NYPRIG, Harlem Seeds, Doctors for America, Teachers of Tomorrow, Price of Life Campaign, CCNY Veterans Association, and the Harlem Seed Youth Council about the health care initiatives they are promoting and or advocating for. Overall, it was a great experience.”

Kishan Singh, Senior, Political Science

“Attending the healthcare conference affiliated with the Roosevelt Institute at City College has been a great experience. Hearing issues and policies from other representatives from different health organizations has broadened my views on how to make a difference and what to be aware of. Also, I was pleased to speak on the behalf of Westchester Square Partnership and how it has benefited the South Asian community. As I spoke about the focus on promoting health through education in ESL classes and other physical health improvements, many of the guests were thrilled to hear of the outcome. One of the questions asked were “Most Bangladeshi families are very introverted so how do you get them to be extroverted?” It was a great question and I replied “As the women speak more English they are comfortable in their skin and also WSP takes them out on a few trips such as museums, parks, site-seeing and other educational areas. This allows the women to accommodate to changes and they are able to ask questions openly and have a voice. And letting them understand different issues and resolutions allows them to take their own stand.”

Humaira Naushad- Junior, International Studies Major, Psychology Minor

“I must say the I really enjoyed my time at the Roosevelt Health Conference. I was not there from the very beginning but the time I was there I had a great time. The environment was very welcoming. I really liked the speakers who had spoke during the conference, and I’m not saying this because I was one of the speakers. I had the opportunity to hear one of our CCNY professors, Villarosa, talk about her experience as a Health Journalist. I found it to be quite intriguing hearing about her journey as a journalist because I am actually interested in writing about topics relating to health as well.

I truly liked that there was a time for CCNY students to talk about what they are doing in the community, relating to health. Also, giving attendees the chance to connect with other students and organizations, like Harlem Seeds. As someone who is interested in getting involved in the Roosevelt Institute it was good to see that there were copies available of the different policies and work those in the program have written.

Lastly, I noticed chicken wings, fries, and sandwiches were being served during the conference. My suggestions for next year’s conference is that someone looks into the food that is being served. Since this was a health conference I was expecting healthier food options. In the future perhaps have cooking demonstrations?”

 All in all, I give this conference a thumbs up!

Merelis: Sophomore, International Studies and Economics Major

These five attendants were few among many who were actively engaged throughout the conference.  The conference was a true success, thanks to the attendants, and the organizers. If you would like to get involved in the Roosevelt Institute City College Chapter or attend more of our events, feel free to email President Angela Choi (Achoi@rooseveltinstitute.org) or Vice President Sundus Mujahid  (syeda.mujahid@macaulay.cuny.edu) and inquire about ways to get involved with the chapter.

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