Health Equity High School Summit 2018
Thank you for attending the 2018 Health Equity High School Summit. The summit intended to create a space where high school students could learn about health equity and motivate a call to action for those at a young age to realize the urgency of eliminating health inequities. At the first ever Health Equity High School Summit, students, staff, and faculty at the University of Michigan had the opportunity to witness high school students address the effects of systemic injustice towards the health of marginalized communities and teach them the power of public health.
Keynote Speaker - Wm Jahmal Miller, Director of Corporate Reputation & Thought Leadership with San Francisco-based Blue Shield of California's External Affairs Division. Former, Deputy Director of the California Department of Public Health's Office of Health Equity.
Wm Jahmal Miller led an engaging keynote address, incorporating the high school students and volunteers into the discussion. Miller laid down the foundation for the Summit by defining social determinants of health and illustrating the ecological model. He emphasized that public health is about "the systems, institutions, and structures that influence outcomes of people's lives." Further, Miller stated that "the more downstream we go [with an issue], the costlier it is to address." Stressing the extreme relevance of public health in our society today, Miller invited the students to draw from their personal experiences in their communities that relate to health. This activity ignited passion among the high school students to create change in their communities and in society as a whole. Responding to the energy of the high school students, Miller shifted the conversation to speak about how we go about making change. He called for a health equity lens in which the students can use their "energy to proactively and preemptively address health inequities." Miller wrapped up his talk by insisting that public health is about the "decisions you make, actions you take, lives you influence." Miller's keynote address set the tone for the day leaving a lasting impression on the high school students, University of Michigan students, and other attendees.
The educational, interactive workshops offered a brief introduction to a more specific health disparity topic following the keynote. Topics included:
Criminalized Identities: Impact of Immigration Policy on LatinX Health
Hannah Mesa, MPH and MSW Candidate
Health Policy and Health Equity
Tianna Morgan, MPH Candidate and Leslie Cerpa, MPH Candidate
Adam Eickmeyer, MPH and Academic Director of the Health Science Scholars Program
Case Study Competition
Facilitated by University of Michigan undergraduate students, the high school students collaborated in groups to work on a case study competition. Each team was to play the role of the health department for Rayton, a fictional industrial town. Rayton had a series of public health issues that needed to be addressed ranging from high teen pregnancy rates to high prevalence of asthma. After reviewing the case and Rayton's demographics, the teams brainstormed for an hour to develop an intervention for one of Rayton's issues. After the preparation period, the teams presented their intervention(s) to four panelists (Bushra Habbas-Nimer, High School Ambassador, Brenda Vasconcelos-Ramirez, undergraduate SEP alum, Dr. Ebbin Dotson, Faculty Director of The Collaborative, Christopher Clarke, Program Director of The Collaborative). First, second and third place medals were awarded.
Here are some illustrative quotes from the high school students that summarize the Summit's impact:
- "I learned how health equity is different from health equality."
- "For the future, I can involve public health into my life by suggesting needed services in my community, especially for certain groups of people, to the leaders within my community."
- "I learned that public health isn't only about sickness but also a person's everyday life and resources."
- "I learned a lot about how public health stretches over a range of people and places and how we shouldn't always choose to focus on equality rather than equity."
- "What I learned today; health equity isn't subjective to the actual biological and physical factors, but also refers to internal pressures/determinants that affect society as a whole."
- "I want to learn more about how to get people to listen to me so I can make a meaningful difference."
- "I could get involved in helping others unload their bags of bricks and call my Congressperson to get the ideas of today heard."
- "I want to learn how I can help make changes in my community addressing sexism, racism, and LGBT populations."
- "I learned about the specific ways that immigration policies directly change the lives of immigrants in the U.S."