2021 Wrap up!

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Show Notes

In this episode the whole team sits down to discuss the past year at PH Spot. Join Sujani, Kajanth, Lis, Jana and Kelsey as they talk about all their favourite from 2021 and what they’re most excited about the year to come at PH Spot. 


You’ll Learn

  • More about the team as they introduce themselves and talk about their role with PH Spot
  • What is playing on the team members highlight reel for the year at PH Spot
  • PH Spot stats on how much content was produced across the newsletter, blog, podcast and social media
  • Examples of how PH Spot content has helped team members in their personal lives and careers
  • About feedback from the community
  • Insight on what’s coming up for PH Spot next year

PH SPOT resources:

Episode Transcript

Kajanth Nithiy 0:00
I’ve been a big fan of PH SPOT from day one. And mostly because of the level of connection and bringing the community together that the mission for PH SPOT was. And we’ve always been trying to do that. And that kind of- that mission itself was very interesting.

Sujani 0:19
Everyone, thank you for joining me today on another episode of PH SPOTlight, a space for you and me and everyone else in public health to share our stories and inspire each other. My name is Sujani Siva, the host of PH SPOTlight, and I’m here to help you build your public health career.

So today’s episode is quite different from I think, any episode we’ve done in the past two years. And it’s because we are joined by the entire PH SPOT team. And we’re actually recording this the- towards the end of November. And it’s going to be our final episode of 2021. And it’s really hard to believe that this episode is going to be our final one, and that we’ve been running the podcast for two years. And so we’re really proud of our team’s accomplishments of what the community has contributed to PH SPOT. And I think before we jump into the bulk of this week’s episode, I just wanted to provide some highlights to really celebrate it through some numbers that we were able to collect. So as I mentioned, the podcast was launched in January 2020. And since then, we’ve launched 23 podcast episodes in 2020, and then 22 episodes in 2021. And today, we’ve had nearly 10,000 downloads of the episode, which is amazing. Yes, thanks, Lis for that clap. And then blog posts. So additional to the podcast, we’ve been also publishing blog posts, and we’ve had 25 new articles posted in 2021. And that’s thanks to the community really stepping up and contributing their journeys, their tips, career advice for all of us to really learn and build our own careers. And then exciting kind of tools and resources that were published in 2021 are the public health programs tools. So we had one for Canada, MPH programs that were available in Canada, and it was a download tool that people could start their research off with. And so that was a really popular one. And we decided to create one for the US MPH programs online. And then additionally, a tool that would help you research on doctor of public health programs. So those were three new tools that we launched this year. Additionally, we held a- build a public health website workshop, which Kajanth actually facilitated and it’s been made as a self paced course. So if you’re interested in that, you can check it out on our website, pHspot.org. We also published a writing a letter of intent guide. So this is a free resource that would help you prepare a letter of intent for your grad school, which was exciting. And then we had Tasha McAbey come in and collaborate with us to release monthly book reviews, which was also super exciting. So lots of great things that were done this year. And I can’t say anything more than I’m like, really proud of the accomplishment that the community has kind of delivered for PH SPOT, but also the team. Which brings me to the team members. So you may have heard or seen a lot of these introductions in our newsletter or social media. But we had a few team members joined this year who took on really nice special projects for us earlier this year, Mercedes, Bianca, and Sarah. And so once they wrapped up these projects, they’ve gone on to pursue grad school, of course in the space of public health. And then Lis, who everyone obviously knows and hears from on a weekly basis on the newsletter. So Lis continues to be part of PH SPOT. And then finally we had two new team- team members joining Jana and Kelsey, who you’ll be hearing from in just a few minutes when they do their introductions. But yeah, the soul- This is a team. So you know myself, you’ve all heard from Kajanth over the past few years, and Lis, and we have Kelsey and Jana and to celebrate this milestone of our final episode of 2021. I’ve invited all of them to join me on this recording. And we’re going to take a few minutes to get to know everyone and then we’ll be handing over the mic to Kelsey, who’s going to take us through this episode and ask us some really, really good questions about what we can expect for 2022, what we’ve done in 2021, and just an episode of celebrating our great winds for the year. So maybe I will pick on Kajanth here who’s sitting right beside me and it’s a family affair because we’ve got our son beside us was not wanting to take his bedtime early today. So you would have heard from Kajanth, he is the one really responsible for how all the content is delivered to you. And behind building the website, both the PH SPOT website and the infographics 101 platform, putting together the podcasts, and the online courses. So anything to do with how all of our PH SPOT content is delivered to you and the way that you’re accessing it. It’s all thanks to Kajanth. And I think many of you might also know that he’s also my husband. So I’m going to turn it to Kajanth for a quick intro, and then we’ll get to know the rest of the team members.

Kajanth Nithiy 5:41
That’s a heavy, heavy weighted introduction already, I don’t know if there’s anything else to add. But I’ve been a big fan of PH SPOT from day one. And mostly because of the level of connection and bringing the community together that the mission for PH SPOT was and we’ve always been trying to do that. And that kind of- that mission itself was very interesting and very, very much motivating, that actually led me to be part of this mission. So it’s been an exciting journey. I’ve always been interested in technology and- and online business. So that’s also another additional perk of PH SPOT that led me to continue my involvement in the organization. So thanks for having me.

Sujani 6:24
So although Kajanth may not have a degree in public health, he, I think very much has learned quite a bit just being part of PH SPOT. And I’m sure Jana will probably also learn a ton about public health. And we’ll get to know Jana just a bit. Next person I wanted to introduce is Lis.

Lis 6:45
Hey Sujani, so it’s been absolutely wonderful having the opportunity to work at PH SPOT, I started off as a subscriber newsletter and amazing, definitely love to be a content creator. So that because I’m inspired by all the amazing work that public health professionals do on a regular basis, contribute to the professional development. And I’m super grateful for Kajanth and Sujani, who have given me this opportunity to be a part of this amazing thing.

Sujani 7:19
And you will continue to hear from Lis on a weekly basis as we think about how to deliver more great content on a weekly basis going into 2022. And we’re really excited about that. Maybe I’ll turn it over to Kelsey next.

Kelsey 7:34
So hi, everybody. My name is Kelsey, as a little bit of background, my training is actually in epidemiology. So I recently finished my PhD specifically in nutritional epidemiology. And it was in the last year of this Ph. D program that I sort of became aware of PH SPOT and it was through PH SPOT public health infographics course, I was really drawn to this once I sort of saw it being promoted on LinkedIn and through a few people in my network. Because really nothing like that had been covered in my coursework at all, of course, I had gained a lot of skills and sort of study design and data analysis, all those kind of epi things. But I felt like I kind of use a leg up on that piece around knowledge translation. So really, that’s where the infographics course came in. And through that course, which I really loved, highly recommend it to any listeners, I was able to meet Sujani. And so she and I really kind of bonded over this shared recognition of know for lack of a better word, the kind of gaps in the sort of community and support system and resources for public health students and early career professionals like myself, and really achievement it to me, you know, that was kind of the gap that she was trying to fill with this amazing organization, PH SPOT. And so very quickly, I came on board as they- the content and partnership strategist. And so what that actually means is sort of twofold. So first and foremost, of course, identifying topics and contributors for blog posts and podcast episodes. So we’ll use this as a little opportunity to plug if there’s any listeners who have some ideas about what they would love to contribute to PH SPOT. We’re certainly all ears. We’re definitely a community generated organization. So we’d love to hear from you, and work on any ideas that you might have. And then the sort of second aspect of my role is really to work on partnerships. So for example, with different colleges or universities, really with the goal of allowing more public health students and early career professionals to kind of access our resources and become a part of our community. So I’ll leave my introduction at that I tend to ramble. So I’ll have to cut myself off.

Sujani 9:37
Thanks, Kelsey. Great intro and finally, to Jana, hey, Jana?

Jana 9:42
Hey. Yes, well, I’m, I’m in charge of the social media marketing. Well, I- like Sujani said I didn’t- I don’t have any kind of background in public health, but it did do some theology and I minored in marketing, like let me see if I can, you know, put those skills you know, to use. And when I looked at PH SPOT, I really liked the concept. Like if I had something for my major, like, I would definitely use all those resources. So the fact that you guys have so much resources in one website and any kind of opinion pieces and just hearing from people in, in the major, like public health. It’s- it’s such a good way to build your career. And yeah, I just thought it was a good concept. So I was like, why not? Let me take on the challenge, see how it goes? Yeah, so far, it’s good. I like it. It’s very interesting, a lot of stuff I’m learning about public health. So I really, really like it. Like I really enjoy working for PH SPOT. So yeah.

Sujani 10:42
Thanks, Jana. Yeah, it’s, it’s been great. I think a lot of people have probably seen that our social media content has really increased. And that’s all thanks to Jana. And really understanding our community and jumping right in and engaging with them, they’re so really excited to have you know, marketing and social media kind of be at the forefront of the work that we’re doing to which I can admit that we didn’t spend too much time on over the past few years. So that’s been exciting. So this is where I’m going to hand the mic over to Kelsey and sit back and kind of listen and jump in on the conversation. I’m also hearing my son screaming, so I might go in and out in a bit. But yeah, Kelsey, it’s all yours now we’re gonna be answering some of the questions you have for us.

Kelsey 11:31
Great, thanks so much Sujani. Admittedly, I am shaking in my boots a little bit right now taking over the sort of proverbial podcast microphone from you, but excited to be here sort of facilitating these conversations and great questions that we have for the team. So just to get us started, the first question that we thought we’d talk about is a little bit nostalgic, right, we’re at the end of 2021, looking back at the rest of the year, and Sujani just went over all the amazing accomplishments that our team has has gone through, I’m curious to learn from the team, what’s playing on your highlight reel, when you look back on 2021. And you think about PH SPOT and what we’ve accomplished. So maybe, Jana, if we could start with you, I’d love to hear what’s playing on your highlight reel.

Jana 12:14
So this year, I decided to introduce the weekly polls to hear from just the people that are following us. And we just asked a bunch of questions that are pretty popular. And it’s mainly opinion based questions. So I’ve learned a lot from all these polls. There was one question where it was something like is it possible to work in public health without a master’s degree, and I feel like it’s just a known topic were like, in 2021. Like, I feel like the bare minimum, a lot of people have to have a master’s degree to get somewhere. But the fact that 80% of people said you don’t actually need a master’s degree to work in public health was surprising. So people that don’t want to really go on to doing master’s and just want to stick with a bachelor’s degree. Yeah, you could still make a difference in public health and work in it. So that I thought that was surprising. And that was one of my highlights, I would say.

Kelsey 13:11
Yeah, thanks so much for sharing that. And I’ll echo your sentiments. And I’ve also really enjoyed and have been surprised to looking at the different polls that we’ve been running on, you know, LinkedIn, or Instagram, and I’ll see a pop up on my feed, you know, on a Sunday afternoon, or Sunday evening, and I’m always refreshing to see when you’re going to share the results. Because, yeah, oftentimes we do discuss what questions we’re going to pose as a team. And they’re things that we’re excited about. And we don’t necessarily know the answer to. And we want to sort of crowdsource it from from our really committed community. So thanks so much for sharing that, Jana.

Sujani 13:41
And I might just jump in and tell everyone the comments. They’ve been great, especially on Instagram under these polls. So if you’re looking for really like what- what is everyone thinking around this question, I’d encourage everyone to check out the comments under these polls, because people have shared some really good personal experiences there as well.

Kelsey 13:59
Awesome. And so maybe we can move over to Liz now and just hear what’s playing on your, you know, highlight reel when you look back on the year?

Lis 14:08
So it’s really fun working on the newsletter, then we share the survey results a few weeks ago. And so having the opportunity to read the survey results to understand that there’s our community one, how can we improve it? I look forward to incorporating some of the great and helpful comments that you’ve suggested for the next year. Also, it’s been really fun working on a micro course that will let you know in the new year.

Kelsey 14:39
Thanks so much for sharing that was for sure. Yeah, we’re definitely a kind of evidence based community driven organization. I think those are terms that we keep bringing up here and for sure your- your example of being able to do a survey among our audience to try to really improve our offerings is a great example of that. So let’s move over to Kajanth. Now, can we hear a little bit about what’s playing on your highlight reel for this past year 2021?

Kajanth Nithiy 15:01
Yeah, for sure. I think 2021 really was the year where we let PH SPOT fly and see if we can actually take flight. What I mean by that is Sujani has been largely the main person who’s running a PH SPOT along with the support of the team members. And this year was the first time in five years that she actually was able to take some time off because of the newborn that we reached the- we showed off earlier. He because of- because of the four month old that we have, we were taking some time off, to just focus on him and let PH SPOT run its course. And we were actually amazed at how well the team actually ran with it. And not to mention the community was how involved it was in contributing the content and being engaged. So we were really proud of what our team was able to do along with the community. And we really saw it really take flight. And we’re really proud of that. The second binotto, like obvious change that we made was going from a .ca domain to a .org domain, that- that was intentionally done. The early days of PH SPOT was mostly to focus on Canada. And now that we have decided that we want to focus more internationally and bringing in more the international community together. The .org was a significant change in terms of branding, and also accessibility in terms of recognizing that this brand is international. This is the first step that we have taken as a brand to actually bring this more internationally connected community. And we’re hoping more and more from our services and content that we have on platform, it will be more more more beneficial for our international users and public health community at large.

Kelsey 16:41
Great, thanks so much. So going back to the newest member of our team and also your family. I’m curious, have you in Sujani thought about what his official title is going to be with PH SPOT? Is it VP finance? Or is he after you know, Lis, Jana and I’s roles we have to be careful?

Sujani 16:57
I think we’ll stick with VP of cuteness. I think that’s what we had suggested. Right, Kelsey?

Kelsey 17:03
I think that sounds exactly right. All right. Sujani, we will turn it over to you to hear what you feel is your- your sort of highlight when you look back on the year.

Sujani 17:13
Yeah, I think when you ask this question, they started, you know, jotting down everything. And I feel like a mother where I’m like, my baby’s the perfect baby. And all these things are so great. And I realized that you started listing pretty much everything I’ve been talking about. And yeah, it was hard for me to really pick one thing that we did so great this year. And so you know, five of the things that really stick out for me, I think by far, just having that consistent newsletter for the past five years, without missing a single week, I find that such a huge accomplishment. And I had done it for the first couple of years. And then Lis came in and took that on and never skipped a beat like Kajanth mentioned, it’s been great. And I think we hear from the community when they tell us like they really look forward to those days when they can open that email and take a look at all the opportunities that we’ve been able to deliver to them. So that’s really cool. And it is one of my highlight reels for 2021. But also for the past five years it- it remains kind of the best part of it. And then secondly, I think it’s expanding the team, it’s so nice to have people to bounce off ideas with and share the same passion and the vision for PH SPOT. And yeah, the first two years quite lonely, you know, building PH SPOT. I mean, hearing from the community was always amazing. But having people on the inside to bounce off ideas and execute. That’s been super awesome. And some of the other things that we’ve already talked about, like the great resources that we’ve released this year, the polls and the social media engagement that we’re doing has been super awesome. And then when it comes to the podcast episodes, I think the Doctor of Public Health episode with Erica was super special. And I think it’s because of the significance for Canada, where this is the first doctor of public health program that is being introduced in our country. And I thought that was super exciting, super special. And yeah, I just looking- looking out for more kind of great opportunities that stem from that one degree and other resources and support that we could provide as an organization for individuals wanting to pursue that route as well. And then I’m sorry, go ahead, Kelsey.

Kelsey 19:30
No, I was just gonna say thank you so much. And I’d like to confirm to the listeners that Sujani does indeed have many, many bullet points in her notes for this answer. She’s very proud of everything that we’ve accomplished and certainly lots of highlights looking back on this year.

Sujani 19:43
And so yeah, turning it over to you, Kelsey. And I think before I ask you what your kind of 2021 Highlight Reel looks like. One question I did have was you know, when you- when you were first introduced to PH SPOT or when you first came on to PH SPOT, what is kind of the first blog posts or podcast episode that you are- that kind of stood out for you that you would really recommend someone discovering PH SPOT for the first time? What would be your recommendation to them?

Kelsey 20:14
Yeah, for sure. I think honestly, my answer to that question is connected to what’s on my highlight reel. Because for me, when I first joined PH SPOT, this fall, I sort of did a baptism by fire and really tried to immerse myself in all the content. So I was listening to like, three, four or five podcasts a day, I was reading through all the different blog posts just to get really caught up and understanding the organization. And so I feel like I do have a good sense of you know, what, what we have out there. And what I would recommend to someone, if they were sort of going to listen to their very first episode are going to read their very first blog post. And I think my sort of first recommendation would be to check out the quick career tips podcast series. So if you’re listening to this episode, maybe you’ve already listened to it, and maybe you missed those. But these are sort of bite sized five to 10 minute episodes that are hosted by the one and only, Sujani. And they provide really, really practical career advice. So you know, they’re short, you can listen to them while you’re making your coffee while you’re taking a walk around the block. And I think that they’re really great for people of any background. So of course, for people on the job market, but not only for those people, if you’re, you know, a student, and you’re sort of thinking a couple years down the line for what your next career steps will be. Or maybe if you already are sort of immersed in the first steps of your career as an early career professional, I still think that these sort of Quick Career Tip episodes would be really interesting. So some of the examples are getting yourself a career mentor or investing in professional relationships. So I will not go on too much to not spoil them for you, but really encourage you all to take a listen. And then with respect to the blog post, I would recommend the, “What I wish I knew series” is sort of MPH degree. So I feel a little bit like a Sujani fan girl right now because she also wrote these ones. But these are sort of a three part series where she talks about what she wished she knew before, during and after her MPH degree. And there’s actually podcast episodes that accompany them, too, if you’ve sort of preferred to listen and learn that way. But I personally didn’t do an MPH degree- degree, I did a Masters of Science and then a PhD, but I still found a lot of really important and transferable lessons from- from those three articles. So I would really recommend that you check them out if you haven’t already.

Sujani 22:31
Yeah, that series, if I remember correctly, also has kind of, I want to call them testimonials from individuals in the community kind of woven into those posts. And, you know, I think we just like grabbed exactly what people said and put them in there as we provided some advice and tips around there. And one funny story, I remember when we published that series, somebody on Facebook commented under it or sent me an email saying thank you for this series. This really helped me decide to not pursue my Master’s of Public Health right now. Take a pause, and then think about it later on. And I was thinking, oh, holy, I need to really be careful with what we put out there because people are making, I think, you know, the reason we’re putting these content is to help people make decisions. But when someone were did it in that way, I- I felt the impact and was telling myself that we really need to be cautious and really need to stand behind any advice and content we put out because people are making, I wouldn’t call them huge life decisions based on what they’re reading.

Kelsey 23:40
I think that’s exactly right. And Jana had mentioned before about the different polls that she’s been running on our various platforms, and I remember one of them a few weeks ago was something along the lines of if you could would you do anything different in your sort of education or career path? And I think I commented on one of them something similar to what you were just mentioning, that person said, which is maybe I would have paused a little bit before pursuing my public health graduate degrees. I think that having a little bit more sort of work experience and context before doing it might have been helpful. So perhaps if I had read your What I wish I knew series, before I made that decision. I don’t know it could have gone down a different path for sure. All right, so that sort of concludes the looking back into the past, what did we accomplish, what are we sort of looking at in our highlights for 2021, and now we’re going to shift our mindset and look forward. And so the next question is a little bit of a kind of pie in the sky question. I’m going to direct it at Sujani and Kajanth. And say, you know, as we’re celebrating five years PH SPOT this coming January, I’m curious to hear where do you to see PH SPOT going? If you could sort of look in your crystal ball? What are your hopes and dreams and aspirations and with that- With that question, maybe we could start with you Sujani to hear a little bit from you.

Sujani 24:52
Yeah, I think this is where I need to give the credit where it’s due I’m- I’m very dependent on Kajanth when it comes to who, like the visionary, he’s a visionary for anything that we really work on. And when we started PH SPOT, I had a very small goal. And it was, you know, putting out blog posts, sharing people’s career stories onto a platform where people could read. And that’s as far as I kind of thought about it. And Kajanth kept encouraging me and challenging me to think about it, you know, at a much larger scale, and what PH SPOT could eventually really become. And so, as much as I have, like all these great ideas of what I’d like to accomplish with PH SPOT that they’re, they’re more of a to do list of tasks and things that I want to do. But when it comes to that big vision, I think I Kajanth might be able to word it a lot more eloquently than I can, but I think, one shift that you will be seeing, and you’ll, I think we’ll get back, get into it when we talk about more 2022 and less on the large vision is providing our community members with a lot more guidance and support when it comes to their career. I think what we’ve done to date is provide a lot of inspiration and motivation and tips and advice. But we felt that there wasn’t a like, something more tangible, more tactical that people could take and say, okay, I think if I can do 123, I can accomplish this in my career and kind of thinking about how can we provide individuals with more tactical resources or programs, and one of the examples we’ll get into later on is the boot camp, or career boot camp that most of you may have heard of, through our newsletter. And that’s one example of it. And a lot of the content that we’re going to be putting out through the podcast or the blog is going to be aligned with that. And I think that’s where I see PH SPOT kind of going is giving people those tangible guidance when it comes to their public health career. But as I said, I’m gonna turn it over to Kajanth, for more of that visionary speech.

Kajanth Nithiy 27:16
I think Sujani does a great job of giving me more credit than I deserve every time. But I’ll take it, I think- I think Sujani is the visionary, she just doesn’t put the business spin on it. And I do the- I do the better job of doing the business spin on things and PH SPOT started off as the hub for public health professionals. And that was Sujani’s intention from day one, whether she said it or not, it started off as newsletters and blog posts. And it was a means for us to connect the community, from these amazing professionals that are doing incredible work out there that don’t get recognized often, at least in the public eye. And that’s really what PH SPOT initially wanted to do. And I think we did a great job of bringing these incredible people to light and, and now we are actually looking at the next step of PH SPOT, which is bringing the community together. What that means is up until now, we’ve been giving highlight to people that have done amazing work, but not really be a platform for enabling people to connect with each other, for them to actually engage and have a communication, have- have a relationship on the platform, we don’t have that at the moment, which is our next step of bringing that together what that means we don’t really know we’re going to be exploring and experimenting with different platforms and products and means of actually bringing that or making that happen. But that’s our next step. And that’s the next next big milestone for PH SPOT to really bring that international public health community together and bring them in a very engaging manner. So they’re able to connect and reach across the globe for specific reasons, whatever that may be unable to do that with these on our platform. So that’s really the vision and the long term strategy for us. And how we’re going to be achieving that, help, we’ll let you know when we figured it out.

Kelsey 29:06
That’s fantastic. I know I speak for the rest of the team when I say that we’re so lucky to have you both as our sort of fearless leaders for this really important organization. So thank you both for sharing your your thoughts on the kind of, you know, five year longer term vision. And I wonder now if we can maybe transition to thinking a little bit more short term, if we look just into the upcoming year. So in 2022, what are you most looking forward to with respect to PH SPOT, what kind of changes are coming down the pipeline that our community can sort of look to and maybe could juggle, I’ll put it back to us and say no, you’re just talking about the longer term vision and plans but if we just go a little bit more short term, I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and plans.

Kajanth Nithiy 29:45
Yeah, for sure. I’m really excited for some of the major tweaks that we’re making to our brand and the product itself. So there- there’s going to be some changes that’s going to come down the pipeline and how the web site itself look and feel how you navigate the website. Right now you’re discovering content by mostly by chance and- and by people who are actually referring you to that content, what we’d like to do is actually give you a more of a guided path, especially for newcomers into the community. Like Kelsey mentioned, she ended up consuming so much content over- over- over- the summer, just to kind of get herself familiar with all the stuff that’s going on in PH SPOT. That’s one way to do it. But what we would like to do is actually be able to give you a guided path of like, these are the first set of articles that you should familiarize yourself with if you’re in this current phase of your career. And that’s ideally what we would like to do. And that’s one of the biggest changes that we’re going to be making to make it more accessible our content, we have over a couple 100 articles and blog posts in combined, that would add a ton of value, but all kinds of scattered around for you to kind of discover on your own. So what we’d like to do is bring that bring that more of a succinct way for you to discover it, appropriate to your phase in your career. And that’s largely the major changes that we will be putting through on our website, and bringing that accessible through the website itself as being the main platform where you’re connecting to our content. The other is really exploring the initial, our next steps of bringing the community together. And that’s- that’s really a vague way of kind of identifying as our next steps. We haven’t really figured out exactly what’s the best path. But we’re going to be experimenting with smaller groups just to see how effective it is, in terms of medium of communication and contact. That’s really the some of the big things that I’m really looking forward to in 2022.

Kelsey 31:42
So sounds like you have a pretty short to do list. Right? Not too much going on over there.

Kajanth Nithiy 31:46
Yeah, I think you can do it in six months.

Kelsey 31:48
That’s great. I definitely, I’m really excited about the idea of the sort of guided navigation to help our community members be able to access the kind of extensive content that- that we have available. And some of the listeners to this podcast may already have seen our sort of first step in that direction with the MPH guideposts that we released in November. And so that was really trying to bring together a lot of the content that we had already developed on helping people decide whether an MPH degree is right for them. And if so you know what specific type of degree and school would be the best fit. And so we really linked out a lot of different blog posts and podcasts episodes all from a single MPH Essential Guide. So we can link that in the show notes, but really excited to have that built out for more areas of the organization. So maybe Sujani, I can look to you to ask you a little bit about what you’re looking forward to most in 2022 for PH SPOT.

Sujani 32:44
Yeah, I think I’ve touched on this piece a bit already. But it’s the career bootcamp or program. There’s no official name yet that we’re looking to build. And really, what how this came about was, during my first few months on my mat leave, you know, I’m sitting there thinking that something’s missing with PH SPOT in terms of the guidance we’re providing people with. And as I mentioned, it kept- I kept thinking, okay, we’re providing inspiration, we’re providing motivation, we’re providing some sort of support, but there really isn’t true guidance for someone looking to jumpstart their career, for example, whether it’s right out of school, or they- they’re a new grad. And so for my reading pleasure, what I did was I went back and read hundreds of emails that people had sent us, I’ve saved all of them. So when people subscribe to our newsletter, they get a welcome email from me. And I asked him to write back kind of telling me about their phase of their career, what’s missing for them in terms of really taking their career to the next step. And I received all of these emails after responding to everyone. And so I sat and read through hundreds of emails over the course of a few weeks and jotted down some common themes that came up. And over and over and over again, everyone kept asking for help to find their public health job, or trying to, you know, I think just narrow down the space within public health that they should focus their job search on, or, you know, networking or developing a really strong cover letter or resume. So it’s that whole package of the job search journey that everyone kept mentioning, in different ways in different words. So put that all down and kind of thinking about how we could really action this because, you know, it’s hard to say here, let me help you find a job unless you are an employer yourself. But there are certain steps or there’s a framework that I find that people could use in order to set themselves up in order to succeed, which is equivalent to finding a job in public health. And so really thinking about it in that lens and thinking whether there could be some sort of a framework or a program developed around this problem was kind of how this all started. And I think just thinking about this problem space over the past few months, I think we’ve landed on a- an answer, which is yes, it is possible. And this is what this possible program could look like. And, again, going back to, you know, community driven content, we survey the community to see, you know, what is it that’s that they’re looking for in such a program? Is it a program that they’d be interested in, we got an overwhelming yes, a lot of great ideas in terms of what was missing for people when it came to their job search. And so now, it’s about pulling it all together in a way that we can deliver it to individuals who are really in need of such a program to help them with their career. And so that’s something that I’m really, really, really looking forward to, because I think it was the missing piece, and something that I felt was missing over the past five years. And I just couldn’t put my finger on it. And I feel like I’ve finally figured it out. And as Kajanth said, it’s going to be trial and error, we’re going to see how we could use this program to bring the community together to learn from each other, not just kind of passively, us putting content out to the community, we want to be able to bring everyone together and learn from each other as well. So it’s going to be an exciting program. And I really hope it’s going to achieve the goal that we’re setting out. Yeah, the goal that we’re hoping to achieve with this. So you know, for anyone listening, if you’re interested in this, I’m sure by the time this episode goes live, we’ll have a bit more information on our website. So definitely check out phspot.org. And there will be more there. Yeah. And you know, with that, and I’m going to turn that question over to you, Kelsey, to see, you know, what is it that you’re looking forward to in 2022?

Kelsey 36:54
Absolutely. Although the first thing I’ll say, and I know I’ve joked this to you before is that I wish we could turn back time and do the career bootcamp. You know what I was on the job market last year at this time, but still really excited to see all the content that comes out of them. I’m sure they’ll still be lots to learn, even for people who are, you know, maybe working on ready. But yeah, in terms of what I’m looking forward to most for 2022. One change that our podcast listeners are going to see is that we’re moving to a weekly release of episodes. So hopefully, that is yeah, good news to you. If you’re listening to this episode, right now more content, more things to learn more guests to listen to and meet. And actually similar to what Sujani was saying, sort of as a complement to the career bootcamp course, that’s going to be released in early 2022. What we’ve done is we’ve sequenced the first two months of 2022, to be a sort of career focus series of episodes. So it’s sort of like a new- New year, new you job hunt edition. So we’ve got a bunch of really great guests, if I don’t mind, myself saying so we’ve got content and episodes on things like informational interviews on how to, you know, create a resume, but not just generally, how do you do it in the context of public health and public health jobs? Similarly, for cover letters, how do you develop an elevator pitch that you can share when you’re meeting with someone? Or when you know, you get asked that question that you always do in an interview, tell me about yourself. So needless to say, really, really excited about this sort of weekly release of podcast episodes coming down the pipeline, and particularly these career focused ones that you can expect to see in the first few months of 2022.

Sujani 38:32
That’s the- that’s the key is that, where possible, we’re hoping to bring in guests who have that experience with public health professionals or in the space of public health, which is, which will be I think, a factor that’s different from some of the general career advice that you would read on other- other websites or listened to on other podcast episodes?

Kelsey 38:56
Yeah, I could not agree more. I think, you know, you can google how do I write a resume? Or how to do a good cover letter, and there’ll be many, many hits, but are they going to be sort of tailored to the public health world and the training that you might have gotten through a public health degree? Not necessarily. So I think that’s really the the gap that we’re hoping to fill with our content. So Jana, I’m going to move to you next, and I’d love to hear what are you excited about for 2022 with respect to PH SPOT?

Jana 39:22
Basically promoting all of what you guys just said, with videos. So I was thinking about experimenting with videos so far, on the social media feeds, we’ve kind of just seen pictures, posts, so I was thinking maybe make it a little bit more visually appealing, and hopefully we can grab more people’s attention with some sort of video. So yeah, like with the podcast, hopefully, it’s being recorded just like this one we can. We can maybe put some kind of visual like videos to kind of promote the podcast, and hopefully that would help the followers connect twists everyone a little bit more when they see the face of like two people talking. So yeah, that’s- that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Kelsey 40:07
That’s great. Yeah sounds like a really exciting initiative. And I’ll echo what Sujani was saying earlier at the start of the episode that certainly our team is very lucky to have you and all the work that you’ve put into platforms like LinkedIn, and Instagram to really build awareness about the organization.

Jana 40:23
So just another thing that I think we might be doing in 2022, it’s still in discussion, maybe potentially expanding to other platforms, Tik Tok, people that are just starting to think about what they want to do University, public health may be an option for them for kind of introducing the younger generation to public health. And I think Tik Tok might be a good platform to maybe start doing that. So it’s still in discussion. But hopefully, that gets launched in 2022.

Sujani 40:53
In discussion, because we have to see if Jana was going to do great dances and produce the video content on Tik Tok.

Jana 41:03
There has to be another way to promote it other than dancing.

Kelsey 41:07
So that’s the last of the questions that we had for our team. So we just want to say that, you know, we really hope that you enjoyed this sort of brief episode, being able to have the opportunity to get to know a few of the newer members of the PH SPOT team, hear from our founding members, who you of course, know Sujani and many of you have heard Kajanth on an earlier episode, and we really loved and we’re proud of being able to share our accomplishments from 2021. And to also give you just a little taste of what we’re looking forward to in 2022. And what you can sort of expect to see coming down the pipeline. I’m going to echo what I mentioned earlier on in this episode is that we’re always looking for sort of contributors, whether it’s to podcasts episodes or two blog posts, so feel free to reach out if you have an idea about something that you’re interested in and excited to share with the PH SPOT community. And with that, we just wanted to wish you all a happy new year and we will talk to you in 2022 for our first episode of the new year. Thank you.

Sujani 42:07
Thank you. Happy New Year, everyone.

Lis 42:09
Happy New Year.

Jana 42:11
Happy New Year.


About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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