On Thursday, February 27th, the non-profit Hunger Solutions organized their annual Hunger Day on the Hill where MCH Trainees, Marianna Colucci and Somadee Cheam had the opportunity to participate in advocacy at the Capitol in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Attending this event was a great opportunity to learn about hunger-fighting efforts, and provided a chance for the trainees to speak with districts’ legislators about important nutrition related issues in order to motivate decision makers to take supportive action on hunger policy issues. Issues on the legislative agenda included, eliminating school lunch shaming, continued funding for mobile food shelves, promotion of hunger free campuses, and building a new food shelf in Saint Paul. With a White House Administration that has been persistent in proposals to cut benefits and instill fear, state-level legislation is more important than ever in order to protect children, students and low-income individuals. Follow this link for more information on the bills the trainees asked our legislators to support!
The Arizona State University Maternal and Child Health Trainees have had several wonderful experiences this academic year. However, one of the most notable highlights of our traineeship experience thus far was the opportunity to participate in the Arizona Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment (LEND) leadership intensive workshop. This workshop was hosted by two amazingly knowledgeable and exuberant leadership consultants- Dr. Claudia Fernandez and Dr. Angela Rosenburg. This experience provided us trainees extremely relevant and evidence-based training in several areas of leadership, while addressing each maternal and child health competency. We discussed important topics such as communication, conflict resolution, mentoring, interviewing, and much more with other future and current MCH leaders. Additionally, this opportunity trained us and gave us the tools we need to host difficult conversations, maintain professional relationships, and understand how to work effectively in a team- something especially important when addressing maternal and child health topics and issues. From this workshop, we also had the opportunity to learn about our own unique styles of conflict resolution, attitudes towards change, leadership, and overall communication. Further, we discussed ways we can bridge differences in our styles when working together. It was quite mind-opening to see the variety of styles among our peers, and also to be able to understand their styles. For example, some MCH trainees had conflict resolution styles that were primarily “avoiding”, whereas others had “compromising” styles of conflict. By learning about our own styles of conflict, and the styles of each other, we were able to come together and understand how we can work together to more effectively overcome conflict, but also understand that sometimes, conflict may not always be necessary.
After attending this seminar, we have a greater awareness for how to create and contribute to a productive work environment, talk about difficult issues, work with others whose communication styles differ from our own, and deal with conflicts in a constructive manner. This was an opportunity that we were all so grateful to be a part of, and if ever the opportunity permits for other MCH trainees to attend a seminar for leadership training, we believe it would be a very valuable experience. If anyone is interested in learning more about leadership, some informative reads are “It-Factor Leadership” written by LEND host Claudia Fernadez, and her husband Ruben Fernandez (find on amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Factor-Leadership-Dr-Claudia-Fernandez/dp/0989396606). Additionally, “Dare to Lead” by Brene Bailey is a favorite of the 2019-2020 ASU MCH Trainees and it also comes with a read-along workbook (find it here: https://daretolead.brenebrown.com/). Enjoy!
Aside from our experiences with LEND, we are also excited to share about upcoming experiences that two of our trainees, Madison and Erinn, will be able to participate in. Madison and Erinn were recently accepted to present their research at the Nutrition 2020 conference in Seattle in June. Madison will be presenting on the effects of romantic relationships on dietary habits in college freshmen, while Erinn will be presenting her findings on discrepancies between parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of family meal habits. They are both very excited to share their research, as well as to see what others have to say!