National Network Meeting Reflection

by Emilia Dunham,
Program Associate

As I posted before, I am privileged to be in Atlanta for the National Tobacco Prevention Networks Meeting. This is my first time traveling for the Network, and I must say that it’s been such a pleasure as much as it’s been a tremendous amount of information to soak in.

From my last post, I described the themes I saw emerging from updates/presentations from each Tobacco Control Network which has proven to be evidenced by strong collaboration between each Network.

I still remember when I first found out about the six tobacco disparities networks. I had assumed that they were in competition with each other in some way, perhaps in an attempt to be outdo each other in terms of successes, national reach and quality/quantity of ongoing projects. I quickly found that was certainly not the case, and realized from the meeting today that just the opposite is true. I don’t believe I have ever seen as strong of collaborations between organizations as I have with these six networks. For instance, each discussed plans for learning from the social media campaigns of each other in addition to broader goals for collaborating on the intersecting issues of each of the Networks. I have learned an incredible amount from each Network.

These Networks proved that there is no reason to shy from working on projects together. Each Network is incredibly empathetic to each other’s goals and missions, and it’s extremely inspiring seeing the true passion and commitment each Network brings to the table. They aren’t just collaborators; they are colleagues; they are friends; they are family. Most importantly, they are our advocates. Together they represent the most affected tobacco disparities in the United States, and they are working relentlessly to selflessly remove these disparities. So I can say that I’m proud to be a part of the great work that this team of Networks has been leading for years (in some case decades.)

Published by Emilia Dunham, MPP, MBA

Emilia Dunham is currently a Project Manager at MassHealth/Department of Public Health, and formerly the Project Manager of the Life Skills project at The Fenway Institute, an HIV intervention study for young transgender women. Emilia worked at Fenway for 7 years, first as a Quality Control and Regulatory Assistant mainly involved with biomedical HIV prevention trials, before serving as the Program Associate for The Network for LGBT Health Equity, a network instrumental in many national LGBT health policy improvements. She is also involved with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, serving as a Steering Committee member and the Policy Committee Co-Chair, an organization largely responsible for the recent passage of the Trans Rights Bill. Additionally she serves as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, Co-Chair of the Recommendations Committee. Emilia received a Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. There she served as President of the LGBTQ student group where she planned programs such as Pride Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and AIDS Week. In addition, she advocated for LGBTQ inclusive policies and programming on campus such as a Gender Neutral Housing program, an LGBTQ Center and the expansion of Women’s Studies to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Emilia recently earned a Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration in health policy and management from the Brandeis Heller School School for Social Policy and Management.

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