Gephardt News

St. Louis Up Close Focuses on Public Health Strategies

St. Louis Up Close is a series featuring casual dialogues with St. Louis non-profit leaders about the social issues they address, sponsored by the Gephardt Institute for Public Service and the Community Service Office. This past Wednesday, the topic of conversation was public health. A panel of three innovative field workers came to discuss new and promising intervention strategies in the St. Louis community. The event brought together a diverse group of people including medical professionals and undergraduate/graduate students from WashU and neighboring institutions. Attendees were interested in hearing about a range of different topics from health disparities to new technology and social entrepreneurship.

Associate Dean of Public Health, Matthew Kreuter facilitated a conversation about various interventions and the inventive ways of addressing public health challenges the community faces. One of the guest speakers of the night was Anita Chary, a PhD student who is involved in the Barbershop Initiative. The Barbershop Initiative is a program where volunteers visit barbershops on a monthly basis and offer health information and basic screenings. Anita has found that the most important aspects of running a successful health initiative are collecting representative data and follow up with patients. Another member of the panel was Lisa Meadows, a trained nurse practitioner whose involvement with Healthy Kids Express has fostered a passion for health coverage. The Healthy Kids Express program consists of three main express vans which provide free screenings and health services to populations that wouldn’t necessarily receive them. Lisa explained how these programs are constantly changing based on the needs of the community and this ability to adjust is what has made Healthy Kids Express so sustainable. The final guest of the night was Jennifer Miros from The Carol and Paul Hatfield Cerebral Palsy Sports and Rehabilitation Center. Jennifer came from a background in pediatric physical therapy and stumbled into the realm of adaptive sports. The center promotes the integration of young people with Cerebral Palsy into sports activities through classes and a summer camp. Jennifer stressed the importance of kids being able to talk about commonalities with their peers instead of their disabilities.

The St. Louis Up Close event gave attendees the opportunity to engage with the speakers and ask them any questions they had. The interesting stories that were told allowed conversation to flow and engaged the entire room.

Join the Gephardt Institute and the Community Service office Tuesday, November 19 from 5-6 pm in DUC 233 for the next St. Louis Up Close event, Financial Deserts: Is Paying 391% Interest a Problem for You?