One of my favorite phrases is that “jealousy is a stinky cologne.” If this is the case, I reek. Having been a member of PHR’s student organization for almost 4 years now, I have had a chance to attend multiple national conferences in the past and each has been a fantastic experience. Sadly, I will be out of the country this February and, as the finishing touches are put on this year’s conference, I can’t help but reflect on what I am missing — and be jealous of those who will attend!
About this time each year, I always find myself feeling a little burned out — thinking about whatever is coming (my “last free summer,” step 1, clinical rotations, residency). The PHR National Student Conference serves as a powerful pick-me-up and inspires me towards greater heights. Whether I was listening to Dr. Julio Frenk talk about his experience as the former Minister of Health in Mexico, Dr. Robert Lawrence discuss the founding of PHR and the development of Human Rights charters, my peer Justin List accept the Navin Narayan award for his incredible work in Uganda, or the conversations of inspired students like myself at tables all around me I was always instilled with a new passion for advocacy. So many of my projects over the years have a direct tie to this conference.
This year’s conference will be no different. Dr. Howard Zucker has held a variety of prestigious positions at the WHO, at the White House and at the UN — his insight into current international and domestic situations will be invaluable to hear. Dr. Jennifer Leaning has a long history of powerful advocacy initiatives — here is a 2007 video of her discussing her personal investigations of the Darfur region and her thoughts about what will be needed. Sarah Kalloch worked for PHR for many years and has great insight into the national student program — she is currently working as a policy advocate and education specialist for Oxfam; she is also one of the most inspirational people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. And there are so many more!
I think I am starting to stink again.