Eunice Lee ’19 was selected to receive a Conference Grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. With this grant, she traveled to Philadelphia, PA to participate in the Urban Health Symposium. You can read Eunice’s reflection below, read past grantee reflections here, and visit the PCSE website to learn more about all of our grant programs.
This past September, with the financial support from PCSE, I was able to attend the 2017 Urban Health Symposium at Drexel University in Philadelphia. As members of Professor H. Shellae Versey’s psychology lab, Critical Health and Social Ecology (CH+SE), Serene Murad BA/MA ’17, ’18 and I made a trip to Philadelphia to present our lab’s recent study on the meaning of community among older adults in the greater Chicago area. As the primary author of our research, Professor Versey met up with us in Philadelphia to attend the conference. This annual symposium brings together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers focused on health locally, in cities across the United States, and worldwide. The two-day symposium was broken down into speaker series by their areas of study. The first day focused on different methodologies in urban health studies. After the speaker series and lunch break followed poster session, at which we presented our research. I appreciated that the symposium invited researchers outside of the U.S. providing a wide array of perspectives.
One of the studies that I found very fascinating was the use of mobile wearable devices for behavioral health studies by Dr. Genevieve Dunton at the University of Southern California. Most behavioral health studies are retrospective and rely on the participants’ recalling of their behaviors. However, with wearable devices, researchers can gain real-time data without such concerns. Dr. Dunton brought up an important point about the privacy issues for real-time data collection. She said that in studies like hers that uses mobile wearable devices, there should always be a clear communication with the participants, as to who owns the data after the research and who will have access during the study.
During the lunch break, Serene and I looked at the list of presenters for the poster session, and we were surprised to learn that majority of them were well-experienced researchers with Ph.D. and M.P.H (Master in Public Health). Although initially intimidated by their titles and wealth of professional experience, we decided to only think about what an amazing opportunity we have, to be able to present our study in front of other professionals and researchers. Fortunately, our poster was located near the entrance of the building, so we attracted a good number of audience. We also received useful feedback on our study, which we incorporated into our manuscript.
On the second day of the symposium, Professor Versey, Serene and I were particularly excited about the speaker series because many of them were relevant to our lab’s primary interest – segregation, gentrification and health, and community partnerships for urban health actions. One study that caught all three of our attention was Dr. Malo Hutson’s study on gentrification and health. He said that in addition to the economic shift that results from gentrification, the cultural identity of the community also changes. As a solution, he recommended coalition of buildings across multiple sectors and racial/ethnic/economic groups, which is the kind of efforts he is taking in cities such as Boston and Chicago.
At the end of the two-day symposium, I felt I have gained a lot of information that I would have to read through my notes to process my thoughts. As someone who desires to pursue a career in public health, this symposium was an excellent opportunity for me to get a glimpse of various works of urban health researchers and policymakers. Lastly, at a personal level, this trip was a bonding experience with Serene and Professor Versey that made me feel much closer to them after the conference.
Again, I would like to thank you to the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) for providing me the financial assistance to attend this wonderful professional development opportunity!