Converge Team Member at APHA Annual Meeting
Ellie Smith standing in front of sign that says "150 Years: APHA 2022"

Our Director of Measurement, Learning and Evaluation, Dr. Ellie Smith, recently presented work at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo. Dr. Smith’s work, completed while at Fact Forward, focused on “research to develop a culture-
centered health communication campaign to increase access and use of sexual health services and dual-method
approaches among youth of color in South Carolina.”

Now that she is working with Converge in Mississippi, Dr. Smith shares some of the takeaways and how they relate to work in Mississippi.

On Converge’s place in Mississippi—and national—public health research:

Converge is unique in the fact that aside from clinical care and advocacy, we also engage in cutting edge public health research. For example, we hope at the next APHA meeting to present on our work around Title X clinic evaluation and our patient-centered contraceptive counseling training. From my time at APHA this year, there was an evident need for research specifically in the Title X space, but also regarding reproductive and sexual health in MS, by folks who work and serve Mississippians. 

On Converge’s approach to training and evaluation:

Throughout my time at APHA it is clear that Converge is leading the way in training and education for not only Title X clinics, but learner populations such as nursing students as well. I was able to make many connections with folks interested in our trainings as well as partnering to offer and further develop their trainings, for example, a community health worker certification program. Converge is also unique and innovative with its approach to rigorous evaluation of clinical services and operations to better meet the needs of the patients we serve.

How this project informs work in Mississippi:

The results provide insight to how we as a Title X grantee can engage with youth to uplift our services. For example, this project found that youth of color want to be engaged via social media and want sexual and reproductive health information that is sex-positive and empowering. These findings can be translated to how we promote Title X services to youth in MS.