Article by Helen Russette
During my time at the APHA meeting I participated in numerous activities. While volunteering at the disability booth I was able to relay information to others, discuss disability-related issues with newfound colleagues, and shared research with others who have familiarity in the same field. The student mentor activity was a great way to share my research interest and receive helpful and informative feedback from mentors who all had differing areas of expertise in the field. The research interests of other students in the mentor activity were very interesting. Being able to share the research I have been a part in both an oral and poster presentation was a great experience to discuss the significance of the studies and the research findings. I was able to see the latest research that was either completed or currently in progress and helped me strategize for my next research study. Specifically, the research studies that were presented on healthcare access issues for persons with disabilities were extremely helpful and I noticed similar findings that took a different methods approach to my own and were conducted in drastically different settings. I participated in a focus group on the accessibility of the APHA meeting that was initiated to learn priority focuses to make the APHA meeting more accessible. As a first-time attendee, I noticed some accessibility barriers such as not having all of the booths lowered to a reasonable level; however, other members had a wealth of knowledge and were able to give numerous solutions to identified barriers. Lastly, the DS business meeting signaled the end of my time at the meeting.
Social networking was a great experience and hearing from the DS board and for members receiving awards for their contributions to the disability and health is unforgettable. I cannot wait until next year.