Here is a blog featuring Alton Murray, a DIS from Chatham Care Center in Savannah, Georgia. Alton was one of the DIS Engage scholarship winners from STD Engage 2019.
STD Engage was an amazing experience. The coordination and the small details that the planners put into the conference was phenomenal. I was amazed at how NCSD made the conference relevant for health care professionals such as myself. Utilizing the app for planning and networking, data driven workshops, and the city cultural tours for relaxation and education made the conference so memorable. The knowledge that each presenter brought to the conference was outstanding, beneficial, and crucial to every role within healthcare. Above all, the friendly and professional NCSD staff made extra efforts to make everyone feel welcomed. No questions were unanswered and each morning you can find a staff member greeting the attendees with a smile. In return, this made the workshops more cohesive, the environment warmer, and everyone ENGAGED.
New to my role, I was awakened and enlightened on so many topics and how to find solutions to a multitude of problems that I am facing as a DIS. As a DIS, the ability to maneuver and combat challenges before they arise is a skill and, with any skill, it must be sharpened. One of the biggest takeaways from the conference is not waiting for someone else to make your ideas come to life. DIS workers taking the initiative to create groundwork for trainings and programs within their respected regions motivated me to do the same. I plan on creating a community initiative to engage more men in the public health arena in hopes of them being leaders and a strong voice to end the various epidemics that are affecting their surroundings. The lesson learned after the conference: “It will be no small feat, but it’s worth trying”.
One of the biggest takeaways from the conference is not waiting for someone else to make your ideas come to life.
DIS wear many hats and take on several titles in order to effectively get the job done. In addition, one of the biggest challenges faced by DIS is being misunderstood by our healthcare peers. Being a DIS requires a person to be creative and versatile and these characteristics vary from person to person depending on their state, region, and the community they serve. Many healthcare roles are textbook driven, so the tactics of a DIS worker may be viewed as unorthodox. This can cause pushbacks on creative ideas or new ways in connecting healthcare clinics with the communities and targeted populations that could greatly benefit. Ultimately, the common goal is to provide care and that takes everyone, including the crazy DIS methods, to make it happen!
Alton J Murray is a DIS from Savannah, GA with over a decade of experience within the HIV/STD field. Alton has traveled throughout the United States working in prevention, research, and lending his voice to end the HIV/STD epidemic. Alton holds a Bachelor of Arts from Winthrop University and master’s in business from Ashford University. Alton started his career working for Janssen Pharmaceuticals then found a passion to be more involved within the public health field. Alton has worked with institutions such as the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles and served on several local and state health boards in South and North Carolina. Alton is a life member of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., a youth mentor, and an ordained minister. Alton’s greatest achievement is being recognized by his hometown for his accomplishments with youth and breaking stigma surrounding healthcare.