Scholarship Recipient Reflects on National Conference Experience
By Satia Kavanaugh Vanderloop, MS, LPC
Attending the 2023 National Conference on Correctional Health Care was an amazing, enriching experience for me and my fellow scholarship recipients. As emerging professionals in the field of correctional health care, we found the conference to be a welcome gathering of like minds. The experience helped alleviate the isolation that often accompanies our work, created lasting connections, deepened our knowledge, and empowered us to strive toward our goals. The NCCHC Foundation orchestrated an experience in which we were acknowledged and reminded of our potential to bring about positive change in correctional health care. Thank you to the Foundation and its generous donors.
Learning from the Experts
In workshops, seminars, and discussions, the conference provided an unparalleled platform for us to learn from renowned experts in the field. These experts shared invaluable insights, cutting-edge research findings, and innovative practices that are transforming health care delivery within correctional settings.
We engaged in candid discussions about challenges such as health care access, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and the ethical considerations surrounding correctional health care. These conversations gave us a deeper understanding of the intricate issues we encounter in our work and provided a framework for addressing barriers and evoking the changes necessary to empower those we serve. What an incredible opportunity to absorb this wealth of knowledge!
Connecting with Passionate Professionals
The conference was an opportunity for personal inspiration as well as intellectual and professional growth. Hearing success stories, witnessing transformative changes in the field, and engaging in open discussions about the future of correctional health care left us feeling invigorated and passionate about our chosen paths.
One of the best things about the conference was connecting with professionals who share a deep passion for correctional health care. We found the atmosphere at the conference to be one of genuine camaraderie and support. The sense of unity among attendees, regardless of their backgrounds or roles, was remarkable. Seasoned veterans generously mentored emerging professionals and a spirit of collaboration thrived. The exposure to a multitude of perspectives and experiences broadened our horizons, challenged preconceived notions, and broadened our horizons.
For many of us, this was a refreshing departure from the demanding nature of our work. The conference provided a place for us come together, engage in meaningful discussions, share experiences, and establish connections that promise to be invaluable in our future careers.
My fellow scholarship winner Lindsey Pennel had this to say: “As I was sitting on the plane ride home thinking about all the wonderful experiences I had throughout the conference, one of the biggest takeaways that kept coming to mind was the sense of community I felt throughout. I think many people will agree that working in corrections can feel isolating at times, especially being newer to the field. So being able to join with people who share my passion and were more than willing to not only share their experiences and resources, but enthusiastically wanted to hear what we as students had to say, was incredibly encouraging.”
In addition to professional connections, many of us forged friendship that we believe will transcend the conference. We created a valuable support network and a platform for future collaborations and professional growth.
For many scholarship recipients, attending the NCCHC conference via scholarship was an opportunity that might have otherwise been unattainable. The financial and logistical barriers associated with attending such an event can be daunting, particularly for young professionals and those currently advancing their education. The scholarship program offered a lifeline for us, allowing us to surmount those obstacles and participate fully in the conference. The opportunity allowed us to experience such an enriching event free from financial hardship.
For me personally, the NCCHC conference represented a turning point in my career. It reignited my commitment to making a positive impact within the field of correctional healthcare. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity and enthusiastic about the future of our profession.
The NCCHC 2023 conference was more than just a gathering; it was a beacon of hope and opportunity for all attendees. It showcased the tremendous potential for positive change within correctional health care and instilled in us a shared commitment to make that change a reality. The experience of being scholarship recipients and participating in this extraordinary event was a privilege that we will carry with us throughout our careers, continually reminding us of our capacity to create a brighter future for justice-involved individuals and the professionals who serve them.
Learn more about the NCCHC Foundation.
Satia Kavanaugh Vanderloop, MS, LPC, is a doctoral student in counselor education and supervision and a psychological associate with the Wisconsin DOC. After receiving her PhD, she plans to continue working with incarcerated patients.