Arizona State University TRANSCEND Program March Updates

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: 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: 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!

Arizona State University: Maternal and Child Health Grantee’s Meeting

2020 MCH Grantee’s at Capitol Hill

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!