This past week, the Arizona State University TRANSCEND group attended the Maternal and Child Health Grantee’s meeting in Washington D.C. We were excited to network with our fellow grantees from the seven other programs in the MCH Training network and learned a lot while we were there!
One of our favorite parts of the two-day conference was the public policy training with Dr. Lindsay Hayes-Maslow. Our day started early and we were led by Dr. Hayes-Maslow on the very busy subway system (an experience of its own!) to Capitol Hill.
That morning began with a very helpful overview of how laws are passed from Dr. Shelia Fleischacker from Georgetown University. Next, we heard from Cailtin Van Sant, a senior policy advisor for Representative Butterfield, where she provided an insight into her day-to-day routine in her position. She also explained to us the relationship between research and policy, and how these both have an influence on one another. Lastly, Sarah Reinhardt presented on the role that non-profit organizations play in the legislative process. She also provided an insight to how the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are written collaboratively. We then received training on how to communicate with congressional staff for our visits scheduled later that day.
One group visited Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s office and provided education regarding barriers to breastfeeding for women in Arizona. Another group visited Representative Paul Gosar’s office, where they discussed the role of school lunches in rural settings and the importance of ensuring that children are given enough time to eat at lunchtime.
Overall, we left Capitol Hill feeling motivated and recharged. It was a great way to start off 2020 and the Spring semester with a bigger picture of MCH in mind!