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Cal State LA Hosts Annual CSU Health Policy Conference

180 CSU students from 14 CSU Campuses experience Health Policy making firsthand

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Cal State LA students under the Capitol dome in Sacramento

Cal State LA students under the Capitol dome in Sacramento

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Cal State LA students under the Capitol dome in Sacramento

J. Aaron Delgado, Photo Editor

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College is about exposing and educating students in their field of study, whether it be an intensive course that reviews the most advanced information about each subject or giving students the opportunity to experience their prospective career in the works. Cal State LA, one of the many campuses in the CSU system, gives students enrolled in a Public Health course to attend the CSU Health Policy Conference from Monday April 24 to Wednesday April 26 in order to experience policymaking firsthand as well as network with police people.

Starting in 2012 exclusively for Cal State LA students, the Department of Public Health on campus gave students the opportunity to travel to the state’s capitol in Sacramento to see their area in interest come to life and further expand their knowledge in public health by meeting legislators, agency officials, public health department leaders, lobbyists, and many other in the field. Along with multiple opportunities to network with officials, students also have the honoring opportunity to attend legislative hearings and, at times, visit the legislators who represent their campus. Opportunities this year involved getting a tour of the State Capitol, a Public Health Panel, looking through a journalist’s view of Policy Making with Emily Bazar from Kaiser Health news, as well as many other events throughout their visit.  

After seeing the success of the conference, other schools wanted to be involved in the trip to Sacramento. In response, Dr. Walter Zelman, Chair of the Department of Public Health at Cal State LA, discovered a foundation willing to support the effort and since then involved 14 other schools in the conference since 2013.

The way a Cal State LA student can participate in the trip is by being enrolled in the Public Policy course that academic year and by submitting short essays explaining why they wish to attend the conference. The department then selects 20 students of the many that apply and has faculty members attend with the students. This year Dr. Portia Jackson Preston and Dr. Walter Zelman attended this year as they both teach Health Policy on campus. Other schools can bring up to 12 students who are majoring in Public Health or a Public Health related field of study along with one or two faculty members. In total, 180 students attended this year’s CSU Health Conference.

Health Policy also plays a larger role in contemporary events as they Dr. Zelman’s and Dr. Jackson-Preston’s classes focus on current events. Dr. Zelman’s class is currently learning about policy making with an emphasis on The Affordable Care Act and its possible replacement, as well as Medicaid, Insurance, Medicare. Atop of assigned readings, Zelman assigns articles from newspapers that are 2 days old maximum so they can stay current with many of today’s issues involving Health Policy. Keeping with current events is very important as it is a very interesting time for students studying this field with Republicans passing a bill through the House of Representatives repealing Obamacare on Thursday May 4th.

“We merge an overview of policy issues and process with discussion of what is going on in the real world at the moment” Dr. Walter Zelman said.

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Cal State LA Hosts Annual CSU Health Policy Conference