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Professional Leadership

Practical Experience

I had the great privilege of working with a team of students on an oral health assessment of pregnant prisoners at Valley State Prison.  One of the most disturbing findings of this assessment was the realization that because of California Prison polices that required prisoners to have no health issues upon entering community-based programs, most women prisoners interviewed were unable to meet the CPMP dental clearance requirement.  Furthermore, because women prisoners have little access to restorative or preventative oral healthcare, incarcerated women often agree to have their teeth pulled to establish dental clearance for a CPMP. In 2006 one of my fellow students and I collaborated on a presentation with LSPC staff to talk about the injustice in this cruel practice of having mothers choose between their oral health and their children.  These findings highlight the detrimental healthcare disparities for women prisoners and provided the fuel for LSPC's campaign to remove dental clearance requirements for prisoners to be with their children.  My practicum team and I were leaders igniting this campaign.  This campaign recently came to light in the mainstream press.

"Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy."
M.L.K, Jr. 1963

Reflective Statement

One huge component of the SFSU MPH program is the emphasis on fieldwork within the community and student collaborations, or teamwork.  While this presented many of us with the challenge of relationship building and finding consensus about project goals and objectives among students with diverse backgrounds, the team experience was indeed one of the strongest aspects of this program.  The occurrence of actualizing strengths through struggle transcends individual learning and created a type of leadership in me mindful that without fellowship and esteem, power is a defective proposition. 

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