his past week, Monica Banks and Halimah Washington boarded a plane to Boston for the 2020 TEDMED conference. Banks and Washington are members of The Ladies of Hope Ministries program, Faces of Women Imprisoned. The FACES speakers bureau cultivates members' storytelling abilities and provides them with opportunities to speak publicly in order to change the narrative of incarceration. The TEDMED conference allowed Banks and Washington to think critically about public speaking and how to create an effective learning environment. The weekend event covered an array of topics ranging from compassionate care, and digital health, to disease and problem solvin
verall, it was an amazing experience,” Washington said. She was grateful for the opportunity to engage with brilliant innovators. She learned new tactics for storytelling such as starting with a statistic or personal story. Banks realized how important passion is when giving a speech. Body language, articulation, and timing are all essential when trying to captivate an audience. “To be a great public speaker you have to be able to connect with your audience and hold their attention, which is not the easiest thing to do. These speakers touched almost every emotion in me, and I walked away wanting to change the world,” said Banks.
he conference reminded them that diverse representation creates an exciting opportunity for productive dialogue and teachable moments. Not everyone receives equal treatment when it comes to the health sector and because of that, the voices of marginalized individuals must be heard so that improvements can be made. One story in particular stood out to Banks. It was told by an older black woman and exemplifies the disparity in care that many people face due to the color of their skin. The woman’s daughter, who was a doctor, repeatedly told her physicians that something was wrong after she gave birth. But, they brushed aside her concerns and insisted on sending her home. Three weeks later, she passed away. There is no blueprint for healthcare seeing as everyone has different needs, but in order to achieve health equity, there should be equal access and quality care for all. Banks and Washington left the TEDMED conference with new knowledge and motivation to create change.
“To be a great public speaker you have to be able to connect with your audience and hold their attention, which is not the easiest thing to do. These speakers touched almost every emotion in me, and I walked away wanting to change the world,” - Monica Banks