Thirteen students from the undergraduate and graduate public health programs in the Health Science Department attended the 7th Annual CSU Health Policy Conference in Sacramento in late April.
The event brings together students and faculty throughout the CSU to the Capitol for a two-day conference on health policy and careers in state government. This annual conference draws high profile, dedicated state leaders, legislators, lobbyists, public health professionals, and student interns as invited speakers. Student participants learn about state history, observe legislative hearings, hear from fellow students about undergraduate and graduate programs in public health throughout the CSU, and engage in conversations with public health and policy professionals about careers in public health and state government.
Following two days of listening and observing, each school presents a one-minute summary of their experience and this is where everyone in the audience can hear and feel the dedication and the passion of public health students in their visions for improvement, equity, and justice. Intermixed throughout these testimonials are commitments for continued engagement in health policy and a clear understanding of the power and impact of policy in our lives.
Each of the participating CSU Public Health programs continue to support this event because of what our students tell us about the experience. The event is meaningful and important to all who attend. Here are some overarching thoughts that this year’s group of SJSU students shared about their experience.
“This conference was inspiring. Being exposed to the state policy makers – I thought – wow – this is where things really happen!”
“Being there was really impactful. It made me re-evaluate my own life and the choices that I am making to better myself and my own knowledge.”
“The trip is really important because we learn a lot, but also because of the scale of the event. We are up there with students from other campus and seeing the ways in which the discipline and the profession spans so many topics and we are all working together for social justice. Wherever we all are, we have to come together and advocate for health and justice for all.”
“I was honored to be part of SJSU and it made me feel really proud to be a student here. I felt it first when we had our picture taken with State Assembly member Evan Low. I felt so good about my decision to be a SJSU student.”
“Policy influences every facet of our life and regardless of our careers, policy will affect us and we all need to be engaged. Engagement might look different to different people, but it means we have to vote – at the very least – we have to read and we have to pay attention.”
“The system is for us and it is our job to hold our policy makers accountable for representing us.”