Greetings from San Francisco: Taking in the spectacle of APHA and presenting the “Reentry Project”

In the midst of the San Francisco Giants’ sweep of the World Series, there is other excitement to report here from “the city by the bay.”  The APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition is in full swing at the Moscone Convention Center and was kicked off yesterday as colorful carnival performers on stilts, an array of hula-hooping dancers, and an amazing percussion troupe paraded through the exhibit hall in a dynamic show of fun and flair.  APHA is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world but these unexpected festivities kept things exciting and rejuvenating, reminding everyone that you never quite know what to expect around the corner.

I’m proud to say that JSI appears to be represented well by several of us from offices across the U.S. and abroad and our booth looks great!  We are showing off much of our intriguing work via a computer monitor that has a running slideshow.  Our customized fortune cookies are also a big hit!  My fortune, as the cookie foretold, was the Emerson quote,“The first wealth is health.”  So true!

Aside from fun giveaways and technology, it was also a great day to meet colleagues from Boston, DC, San Francisco and Atlanta offices, as well as those who traveled even further from the countries of Monrovia and Georgia.  I believe we have approximately 20 JSI colleagues here among approximately 13,000 national and international attendees interested in the current and emerging public health science, policy, and practice issues, so connecting with each other is not always an easy task.

What brought me to APHA this year was the opportunity to present a poster on “Evaluating Models for Supporting Women’s Transition from Incarceration to Communities.”  Around the JSI-Denver office, this project is affectionately referred to as the “Reentry Project.”  The poster session was surprisingly lively and engaging (surprising because it was held on a beautiful 80-degree Sunday afternoon and I was worried that nobody would show up to the conference!).

Many people stopped by to learn about our recommended reentry framework and hear more about the 3 pilot sites that we are supporting.  With funding from the Office of Women’s Health, we are doing important work to support the Institute for Health and Recovery, Resonance, and the College and Community Fellowship. JSI is providing technical assistance to these sites as they enhance their reentry services for women in a comprehensive, trauma-informed and gender responsive way.  Of the folks I talked with at the poster session, some who work in the reentry field and others who do not, there is also a lot of interest in our upcoming evaluation of the implementations at each site. I look forward to keeping people posted as the project progresses.  In the meantime, the conference continues and so I’m off to see what fun and excitement await in the ballrooms and hallways of Moscone Center.

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