Meet a member of the Salud America! National Advisory Committee
As a student writing her dissertation on the African-American political response to HIV/AIDS in the mid-1990s, Maya Rockeymoore wanted to get more exposure to what was happening at the community level.
So she went to work as an assistant to the director of the Marion County Health Department (MCHD) in Indiana.
"In addition to gaining a better understanding how the politics of HIV/AIDS was playing out at the local level, this experience gave me insight into what it takes to manage the public health needs of a sizable county population, as well as exposure to the politics and policy of public health," said Rockeymoore, who got her Ph.D. in political science and public policy from Purdue University. "Working at MCHD also allowed me to participate in a number of activities, such as organizing community health events and writing federal grants, that helped enhance my skills and broaden my perspective on a range of environmental and population health issues."
Dr. Rockeymoore's time at the MCHD also affirmed her commitment to addressing health issues and health disparities, and she went on to become a respected policy analyst, researcher and advocate with expertise in an array of public policy issues. She has advocated health policies on Capitol Hill and founded her own policy consulting firm.
Today, she directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Leadership for Healthy Communities in Washington, D.C., which supports local and state government leaders nationwide in their efforts to reduce childhood obesity through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods, especially among children at high risk for obesity, such as African Americans and Latinos.
As a member of the Salud America! National Advisory Committee, Dr. Rockeymoore recognizes that there is a dearth of research focused on Latino childhood obesity and too few Latino researchers, physicians, nutrition experts and policymakers.
She hopes Salud America! can help bridge those gaps.
"I hope that Salud America! can develop a robust research agenda that comes up with compelling findings that build the field of knowledge," Dr. Rockeymoore said. "Salud America! will work with their partners to link their researchers and research findings to policymakers (Latino and non-Latino) that can use their findings to address barriers to healthy eating and active living."
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