Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Commentary: Capitol Hill - An MPH Student's Perspective

Brittany Wright
MPH Candidate, 2011
Thomas Jefferson University

Attending the 14th Annual Health Education Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC was a great learning experience. I left Capitol Hill with a new found interest in policy and advocacy. I am nearing the end of the MPH program and am exploring future career options, and as a result of this visit, policy and advocacy opportunities rank high on my list. This opportunity provided a completely different outlook of public health and for that I am grateful.

I took part in scheduling and preparing for visits with Senate and House of Representative legislative aides. Alongside fellow New Jersey classmates, I met with Dennis Sendros, legislative aide to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). As a supplement to my visit, I accompanied professors and classmates to their meetings with legislative aides to Delaware Senators Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Thomas Carper (D-DE). At all the meetings, we discussed the PHYSICAL act, CDC prevention and health promotion funding, and the Affordable Care Act.

Overall, the weekend summit was a success. One of my take-home moments exemplified what it was like to be on Capitol Hill; I witnessed citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to petition in the Senate building, Russell Hall.

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