This years Promising Practices seminar took place in the Donovan Dining Hall on November 7th. The day started off with our keynote speaker, Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott, she is the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. She spoke to us about some of the more important current health problems encountered in Rhode Island and how the integration of social work and public health is important when finding a solution to our current problems.
After that we left the Donovan Center and went to our first seminar. We got to pick our own workshops and I had originally picked one that was about outdoor learning, however, that workshop was cancelled so I signed up for "An Integrated Behavioral Health Approach to Peer Recovery."
In this workshop we got to meet with Judith Fox. The peer recovery program is an up and coming program hat is meant for people have recovered or overcame lives of drug use, suicide, depression, anxiety, and many other behavioral health dilemmas. This program provides the opportunity for recovered addicts and suicide survivors to get jobs helping people struggling with similar issues. These people then become mentors and life coaches and help guide people with similar issues to success and help them overcome their adversity.
My second workshop was in Craig Lee, "Advancing Health at the City Level" was taught by Azade Perin and Peter Asen. In this workshop the speakers took turns explaining what they do and how they have helped the city of Providence. The main things that they talked about were the gardens that they have been building in the poorer sections of Providence. In this program they find a way to get abandoned properties taken over by the state to be knocked down and replaced by community gardens. In these gardens the people of the community can grow whatever fruits and vegetables they like, some of the crop is then taken and given to a meal program that is set up at local parks. These meal programs provide lunch and snacks to children who don't have enough food to eat. The rest of the crops produced in the gardens are for local consumption and can help the people living in the community. It sounded like a great program that seems to be helping a ton of people.
After the workshops we broke for lunch. Lunch was surprisingly good, I even went up for seconds. After lunch they had a discussion panel. There were high ranking people from several local colleges, universities and departments of health in Rhode Island. They ran a panel discussion that felt like it was way over my head. I noticed pretty much every student left and the only people remaining were professionals or students who had to help wit setting up Promising Practices. I stuck around for a while and left a little bit early.
Overall I would say that Promising Practices was a positive experience that I plan on attending next year as well.