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2023 DIS Scholars STD Engage Reflections

Jun 07, 2023

NACCHO’s HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis team had the pleasure of meeting the selected Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) scholarship recipients for NACCHO’s 2023 DIS Scholarship. In May, these recipients were provided with the opportunity to attend the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) annual meeting, STD Engage in New Orleans, LA. The scholars attended numerous sessions focused on STD prevention and control, as well as sessions specific to their workforce. They were also able to meet and network with their DIS colleagues from across the country! After attending the conference, our scholars shared some reflections on their attendance to the conference. Check out excerpts from some of their reflections below!

2023 DIS Scholars STD Engage Reflections

In regards to key takeaways, STD Engage is thrilling and started off with a bang (no pun intended) when executive director David Harney welcomed everyone in the opening plenary. I was amazed at how many states and territories represented the field I cherish. My favorite sessions were ones that challenged the status quo; these sessions focused on building on DIS skills by incorporating tools such as in the field blood draws in collaboration with nurses to administer treatment, utilizing pharmacies in rural and/or less populous area to fill the testing and treatment gap as healthcare access is highly limited, and updates on the DIS certification. -Celine Coleman, Linn County Public Health

Health equity, a vision to uphold,

Where every voice is heard, every right,

A mind awakened, seeking truths untold.

Exploring passions, desires unfold,

Embracing love, casting judgment aside,

In the streets of New Orleans, a tale to unfold.

STI prevention, knowledge takes its hold,

Empowerment through choices, barriers we fight,

A mind awakened, seeking truths untold.

-Excerpt from ‘In the Streets of New Orleans’ written by Gustavo Garcia, Suffolk County Department of Health Services

I met so many DIS from all jurisdictions across the United States and even had the opportunity to present my story in front of the entire conference attendees as a scholarship recipient! In addition to meeting many individuals, I learned a lot about the advances happening in many parts of the states that are encouraging more modern partner services initiatives, various projects reaching demographics that have historically been difficult to reach (i.e. Sex Workers, Persons Who Inject Drugs, Persons Experiencing Homelessness etc.) due to a variety of different factors. - Ethan Quinnell, Chicago Department of Public Health

To read more of these reflections, please click here. Congratulations again to our scholars and it was great meeting you in person!

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