Side-By-Side:  A Practice Based, Student-Driven Collaborative Conference

Public health faces many challenges and needs health professionals with the skills to create and communicate a vision, champion organizational changes, and energetically commit to shared goals. This “Quick Win” project allowed students to create and shape a learning experience that has relevance to a community’s public health needs.

In March 2014, students from the Health Informatics Society collaborated with partners to provide a workshop on the use of design thinking in public health. Partners included the design-thinking agency Mad*Pow, and four local public health organizations including Food Gatherers, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, Generation with Promise, and MHP, Inc. Recorded tutorial modules from this workshop are available for viewing on the Michigan Public Health Training Center website or at

The Side-by-Side project also allowed a second team of students to develop and produce a conference on the topic of food access in March 2015. Relevant to those in public health practice and focused on tough issues faced by communities, the Public Health Students of African Descent (PHSAD) Annual Minority Health Conference brought students, faculty, and public health practitioners together to focus on the issue of food access in urban neighborhoods. The Fair Food Network influenced the conference theme and participated on the practice panel during the event. The expert panel from this event was live-webcast and the recording is now available for on-demand viewing at

Project Team:

Phyllis D. Meadows, Associate Dean for Practice, University of Michigan School of Public Health
Phoebe Goldberg, Program Manager, Michigan Public Health Training Center
Dana Thomas, Program Manager, Office of Public Health Practice