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University of Indianapolis students learn from policy makers at National Advocacy Summit

“The goal of the summit is to take all of these young people who have really engaged in advocacy previously and teach them about the process and how this all works."
University of Indianapolis student learn from policy makers at National Advocacy Summit
Posted at 5:09 AM, Oct 28, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — University of Indianapolis Professor Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch is giving her students an opportunity to learn more about public policy and how lawmakers make decisions that could impact our future.

“The goal of the summit is to take all of these young people who have really engaged in advocacy previously and teach them about the process and how this all works,” Hancher-Rauch said.

Hancher-Rauch is the Director of UIndy’s Public Health Program. For years, she has been taking students to Public Health Education’s Annual Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C.

“I have them meet with the aides and the offices and sometimes we even had senators or representatives come into the meetings,” Hancher-Rauch said.

The summit says it engages public health advocates to share advocacy training, materials and resources.

According to the Society for Public Health Education, each year, those who are a part of the Advocacy Summit meet with policymakers and learn how the different policymakers make decisions that impact those on the front lines.

This year’s summit was titled “Youth Health Equity: Forging the Path for an Inclusive Future.”

“Hearing all of those different perspectives really got my brain going about how do we bring those things together to help prevent the impacts of adverse childhood experiences,” University of Indianapolis Student Kylie Beaudreau said.

Beaudreau says she wants to work in policy and program development within the addiction and recovery services sector.

Kathleen Toomey, another University of Indianapolis student, also attended the summit with Hancher-Rauch and had the opportunity to be on the front line with policymakers.

“People grow empathy when they know somebody ... that’s when you grow and you care if they have access to the same things that you do,” Toomey said.

Toomey is a graduate student at the University of Indianapolis. She is currently in the dual Master’s program of Public Health and Doctorate of Health.

Toomey says while her ultimate goal is still being formed, she could see a career in policy.