Omaha, NE- Global Health Conference Midwest: Day 1
After a full morning of visiting the University of Nebraska- Lincoln College of Engineering, the students hopped back in the van and rode the 45 minutes up I-80 to Creighton niversity in Omaha. This would be their longest stay in any one location during the trip- 3 days, 2 nights. The students were tired from a packed morning and were processing the information they had received for the two hours we had prior to the start of the conference.
After check-in, the welcome session introduced them to the organizers and the Creighton University administrator who was acting as host for the next two days. Then it was time for the first Keynote- Dr. Renaisa Anthony from University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). She started out by gauging her audience by calling out the different levels of education and experiences that were present. She started with high schoolers and undergraduates and quickly realized that our high schoolers needed to be recognized. She backtracked and asked who the high schoolers are. Our five students, who were sitting down front and center were the only ones to rais their hands. This set the tone for our delegation as they were soon to find out during the conference. Their professional dress, their engagment with the material, their willingness to talk with attendees and participate in discussions soon endeared them to all those present- doctors, nurses, graduate students, undergraduates, professors and healthcare prfessionals.
Dr. Anthony continued to talk about healthcare disparities in the 21st centrury constituted and what that looks like. As the Deputy Director of the UNMC Center for Reducing Health Disparities definitely allowed her to speak from a knowledge base few in this country can match. Her professional and personal commitment to eradicting health disparities and improving the lives of women, children and families across the globe have developed a myriad of professional and personal experiences. She shared quite a few of those with the audience during her talk, which brought a dose of reality to what has otherwise been only heresay to some of our students. She drew on a number of topics from her TEDx talk, "A Recipe for Health Equity."
At the end of her talk she prompted attendees to visit her Facebook group- My Soulwork 2016. The essence of this group is to really clarify for others what an individual's soulwork is. People are doing amazing things every day and what may seem small but a passion to one may have a resounding impact on the direction of a person trying to develop a definition for themselves of what their specific soulwork may be. It gave our students great pause to try and define (very early in their potential careers) what it was that will drive them, ignite the passion for them and motivate them to go do a job they love each and every day.
Each student had the chance to meet with Dr. Anthony after her talka nd individually express their appreciation and impact her words had on them and would have on them through the rest of the conference as they put what she said into the context of what they hoped to hear.
It was a great start to the conference for our students and caught their attention right away.