Emerging Professionals in Public Health Conference Student Testimonial

By: William Bell

I had the opportunity this year to go to the Emerging Professionals in Public Health Conference and it was a highlight of my semester.  The conference introduced me to the ins and outs of public health, and to what it is like to be a Public Health professional.

My favourite part was definitely hearing from Dr. Fran Scott, a public health specialist at McMaster with a lifetime of experience in public health.  What was so incredible about hearing from her was to learn about all sorts of major disasters that she has been there to deal with.  Working with a suspicious gay community during the AIDs epidemic, trying to coordinate and organize Toronto’s response to the SARS outbreak, etc.  At the same time she also had incredible stories of when she had to learn from the people she was helping.  Sometimes a fisherman who fishes in the Hamilton Harbour knows the risks of eating fish from the water already, but keeps going anyways.  Our perspective is not always final, and seeing another way of looking at it seems like an incredible gift that those had given Dr. Scott who she was working to keep healthy.


And that was just one of the keynote speakers, the other, Dr. Thomas Piggott is in population health, and he gave us suggestions as to how to better excel in the field.  His message was inspirational and a call to hold ourselves to a higher standard.  I’m sure that his advice will stick with me as I meander my way into the Public Health profession or any other.

At this point we broke up into groups and went to a series of workshops held by researchers and public health workers alike.  One of the main takeaways from all this was simply this: “go upstream.”  All of the preeminent researchers and doctors we met had got into the field because of a simple fact that sometimes the most effective way to intervene is by anticipating medical problems before they happen and trying to prevent them.  There were presentations by people who were for this reason promoting changes to labour law among other things, and in particular I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Jennifer Brasch who was an ER Psychiatrist primarily working with patients following suicide attempts who is now planning ways to prevent those suicide attempts in the first place.  Her work on this cause has been admirable and I was thrilled to hear from her.

As well, I had the opportunity to meet many graduate students in McMaster’s MPH program.  These are individuals who are experiencing first hand what is involved in research on public health causes, and their specialties reflected that, from exercise program organizing to health economics to basic science with a public health twist.

Having encountered all of these various personalities, specialists, and stories I feel more excited to learn where this burgeoning field will go from here.  I have the conference to thank for kindling my interest in a field that is not regularly on anybody’s radar but has the chance to help more people than any amount of treatment after the fact could do.

Subcommittees and Junior Executive Applications!

The wait is over, you can finally be a part of our executive team or subcommittees and help further your passion for public health!

There will be two subcommittees that will work with their respective leads to either help promote our events and maintain our social media presence or help with the conference. Specifically, the social subcommittee will be run by the lead of events, and the conference subcommittee will be run by the directors of the conference. Meetings for these will be held twice a month, and additional meeting times can be added if required. Please indicate which subcommittee you would like to apply for.

Social subcommittee: will be in charge of promoting various events throughout the semester. Duties include creating posters, making social media posts, as well as helping with setting up for the event and cleaning up. Additionally, the committee will help the lead of events with logistical planning for the local events such as the student mentor social.

Conference subcommittee: each member can choose to join the sponsorship, logistics, content or marketing teams. These teams will report regularly to the directors of the conference. Meetings will be held twice a month. The goal of this subcommittee will be to help MPHA, in accords with other organizations to host a public health conference for undergraduate students in January.

Furthermore, we are looking for students in 1st and 2nd year to be our junior executives. These individuals will have the opportunity to be a part of our team and help us manage the club. These skills will allow them to pursue further leadership opportunities in the future such as becoming the presidents, lead of events etc… Their role will involve helping the executive team administratively and pitching ideas to increase student outreach and involvement. This is a great opportunity for individuals interested in pursuing public health in some capacity in the future. Through this opportunity you have the chance to help connect students and yourself to public health volunteering programs and initiatives.

The deadline to apply is 11:59pm October 30th!

SUBCOMMITTEE APPLICATION: https://goo.gl/forms/DXMaCNTN6CttK7bg1


Please do not hesitate to contact us at macpubhhealth@gmail.com or our Facebook page linked above if you have any further questions. Looking forward to reading your applications, hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend!

MPHA Executives

First General Meeting!


The wait is finally over, we are back in action and have an exciting year planned for those involved! We will be having our first general meeting of the year on October 6, 2016 from 7:30-9:00pm in MUSC 222. Here, you can find more information about what we do and how you can get involved! We have many opportunities lined up for you to be represented at the national and international level. Refreshments will also be provided!

Don’t forget to let your friends know and we look forward to seeing you there!