By Monica Murphy, MPH, Public Health Prevention Specialist, Metro Public Health Department
Attending the EWSE Regional Meeting May 22-23, 2012, was a great experience. It was truly “a meeting of the minds!” Representatives from each of the 9 member states were in attendance and full of energy and enthusiasm. The two day meeting was jammed packed with discussions about the vision, identity and direction of EWSE and the much anticipated launching of the W.K. Kellogg grant. Everyone at the table shared their expertise, practical wisdom, and hopes for the grant project and the overall work of EWSE.
As a new EWSE team member from Nashville, TN, this meeting was an opportunity to get an in-depth understanding of the mission and goals of EWSE and to be a part of the strategic planning process as the collaborative prepares to move into a new phase. As an emerging public health leader, I have learned that improving the health of our communities is not a one man or woman job. The work that we do in our communities and states will not reach its full potential nor have maximum impact without the vision for new approaches that include collaboration, systems thinking, and adaptive leadership strategies. The EWSE collaborative is one example of a multi-state effort to improve the health of all women in the Southeast regardless of race, place, or circumstance.