What you need to build your public health career: a purpose driven path and belief in yourself, with Maudra Brown

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In this episode, Sujani sits down with Maudra Brown, the founder and CEO of MRB Public Health Consulting. They discuss Maudra’s various work experiences in public health, her transition from working in government to creating her own consulting firm, and how taking risks and believing in her passions has led to Maudra finding success in entrepreneurship.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Maudra found her way to the public health field
  • A brief overview of the public health and tropical medicine program at Tulane University
  • Tips on how to find your niche in public health and the importance of trying new and unique experiences
  • Maudra’s experience leading a new public health program right out of graduation
  • Why Maudra moved from her directorial role in government to creating her own consulting firm
    • How Maudra’s passion for caring for children and communities of her interest led to pursuing entrepreneurship 
  • How Maudra has found success with her company and creating sustainable partnerships
    • How exploring non-traditional partnerships has helped communities and clients that Maudra has worked with
  • What a day in the life of a chief health strategist looks like
  • Advice for students and early professionals and why believing in yourself is at the core of building a fulfilling career

Today’s Guest:

Combining over a decade of public health expertise with lived experiences internationally and domestically, Maudra champions public health in innovative ways, focusing on non-traditional partnerships and incorporating best practices with independent thought leadership. 

Maudra holds a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance from The College of Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina and a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in International Health and Sustainable Development from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She is certified and credentialed in both health systems and public health arenas, a unique and specialized expertise that not many in this industry have.

As MRB’s Chief Health Strategist, Maudra helps communities effectively integrate and practically navigate public health.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript

Maudra 0:00
Sometimes we say passionate, but we need purpose. The purpose of what I’m here for right? I’m a connector. I’m a facilitator, I have a love of people and love for moms and babies. And what does that translate for me as a career, supporting children, supporting communities in the ways that I know work?

Sujani 0:25
Welcome to PH SPOTlight, a community for you to build your public health career with. Join Us weekly, right here. And I’ll be here too, your host Sujani Siva, from PH SPOT.

Sujani 0:40
Hi, Maudra. And welcome to the PH SPOT podcast. It’s so wonderful to connect with you this morning and to just learn about the journey that you’ve taken in your public health career. So welcome, and thank you.

Maudra 0:53
Thank you for having me. It’s exciting times in public health.

Sujani 0:57
Yeah, and, you know, for our listeners, because it’s only audio, Maudra is sitting in this like wonderful presidential suite. You want to talk tell us a little bit about your background that I just got to get a glimpse of right before we started recording.

Maudra 1:13
Sujani, they say, you know, dress for the job you want not the job you have. And I took that quite literally. So my background is actually the Oval Office, there’s a show on HBO, I forget the name of the show. But there’s a female president and her office is decorated beautifully. It’s really really my vibe. So I just throw it up as my background inspiration. You know, I’m not coming for anyone’s job. But it is very inspirational dressing, not just yourself, but your background and space for the job that you want. Not necessarily the presidency, though.

Sujani 1:55
I mean, like, this is kind of the first time I’m gonna get to learn about your journey. But I can already tell just based on our quick chit chat that this is gonna be you know, quite an uplifting conversation and inspirational for me as well. So I can’t wait to dive in, Maudra.

Maudra 2:09
Awesome. I’m glad to be chatting it up.

Sujani 2:12
Yeah. So my listeners know that the first question that I love to hear my guests talk about is their discovery of the field of public health. Like how did that happen. And, you know, just as background for you, a lot of my guests and even myself included, it was an accidental discovery, like it’s not a field that I ever knew existed prior to, I guess, like starting university, probably second year is when I discovered the field. So curious to hear what your experience was in terms of taking that first step into the field of public health, or even kind of discovering it as a field that you can build your career in.

Maudra 2:50
I’ve always been adjacent to public health, and not really knowing that’s what it was. My undergrad is in health and human performance from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. And really, the interesting part about that is, you know, of course, I went in thinking, I’m going to do pre med, I’m going to be you know, somebody’s physician. But really, I learned quickly, that might not be the best work life balance for me, I have a fun and outgoing spirit. And it was just very stressful, even in school. So I was like, well, maybe I’ll think about something health related. My mom is a retired nurse. So I absolutely knew what nursing looked like I wasn’t 100% committed to that either. The journey, I think like most people in our field kind of just fell into my lap. I had a great mentor in undergrad and she just did a lot of public health promotion on campus. And I just thought, Man, she’s so cool. That seems like a good time. What is it that you do? And so she kind of led me into the field formally. And then I just kind of fell into I think, really a good foundation, because helping human performance and a lot of my family, I will say, this is a field that many people don’t know, absolutely. My family was like, what are you? Are you going to be a teacher? You know, teach health, like, what is it that you’re going to do? And so now everyone who’s anyone knows what public health is? Or thinks they know. But back then nobody, and nobody understood. So it was an interesting journey, getting in organically at the beginning, and then making that choice later on to do international health and sustainable development and that broaden my horizon and broaden my reach and broaden my understanding in my field.

Sujani 4:46
So did your mentor like what sort of training did she have? Were you able to model kind of the path that she took or was your discovery of public health kind of just added to what she had told you or did she kind of guide you and say, you know, you could possibly go and get a Master’s of Public Health. And there’s all these other paths that you can take, or how did that kind of conversation happened?

Maudra 5:08
She definitely sparked my interest around international work, she was returned Peace Corps volunteer, and did a lot of work in the Caribbean. And so her past, her stories of her work on campus, with the Campus Health Department, and just getting the education part of public health out. And advocacy, right advocacy is so intertwined with the work that we do. And it’s a skill that we know, near and dear. And I think that was so interesting to me advocating for those that maybe didn’t have a voice, those that are underserved, those that are under resourced, was near and dear to what I wanted to do with my life.

Sujani 5:51
And so you went on to complete a Bachelors of Science in Health and Human Performance. And then what kind of happened after graduation for you?

Maudra 6:00
I stayed a little while in the south, just exploring what I wanted to do next, I worked in schools and hospitals, just trying to figure out what was a good fit. I think a lot of times in public health, Sujani, we try a lot of things to see what we don’t like. And then we find the things that we love. And I knew I love working with people I loved being engaged. I love difficult topics. Some people were not, that’s not their jam. But I love talking about hard things with folks and getting them a deeper and more clear understanding of risk, right, and what that means their lives. And so that’s kind of the transition, I took a break, I think some people go straight with a four plus one or they go straight from undergrad to graduate, I took a few years off, and then made a very intentional choice for Tulane in New Orleans, because they’re the only school that had that international focus. They have such deep roots all over the world. As a shameless plug. I’m a great alumni, I love, love their program and the flexibility that it allowed me to do and exploring tangibly, my interests, right, I got to do work in the Caribbean pilot studies, so much interesting things came out of that experience. And it made me a more well rounded public health professional, I believe.

Sujani 7:30
That’s wonderful. Yeah, I saw on your LinkedIn that you did some work in Jamaica, was that during your masters?

Maudra 7:37
it was, you know, instead of a thesis or a test, you know, they allow you a little more flexibility there still, you know, papers and writing things to do. But I was the lead in a pilot study in Jamaica, around recidivism, HIV work, and the maximum security prisons there with the Ministry of Health, and it was a very dynamic work environment, we often say, you know, where the rubber meets the road and public health is where people meet people, and having that lived experience. In another country working, you know, IRB approval aside, I think it gave me a lot more than I-

Sujani 8:20
Yeah know, the experience on the ground is so, so important. I know, for myself, you know, I kind of started out working federal level, not knowing exactly how things were done kind of on the ground. And when I did get that exposure, it was like, okay, I can see how that ripple effect takes place, and why the tasks that I was kind of struggling with and what was happening on the ground itself. And it really opens your eyes up and gives you a bit more, I guess, you know, a better perspective of the work that you are doing a bit more removed from the community. So completely understand that. After your bachelor’s, you said you took a few years off, and then you went to go to your masters of public health degree, like that decision point. Can you take us back to that point, maybe you know, what kind of motivated you to say, okay, maybe I need to go back to school, and it’s going to be an MPH degree. And it’s going to be in international health and sustainable development.

Maudra 9:16
I always knew I wanted to do more, and travel and see what this field looks like in other places, right? Sometimes we get so comfortable here in America, where the best way to do things all the time. And anyone that’s ever traveled knows that not to be the case. But it’s really, I think, important as a young individual to really open your horizons, and Tulane was a great opportunity to do so. And it’s in a great city that really embraces public health, working with their government and their health departments. They just have such a good relationship and health systems health care and in public health with Tulane, and that was so engaging and interesting, we hear so much about silos, we hear so much about the disconnect, but to see it, not so much, was refreshing. And honestly, again, I say, you know, not a shameless plug, but probably one of the best experiences and choices that I’ve made.

Sujani 10:25
And was that a one year two year program at Tulane?

Maudra 10:28
It’s a two year with a little more grace for the IRB, a pilot study-

Sujani 10:33

Maudra 10:33
Like I said, being flexible and open to supporting their students and meeting their needs, I will say, what attracted me, you know, outside of the international work was an opportunity to get those critical skills that you need in public health. So although my track was international health and sustainable development, it is a public health master’s degree and Tropical Medicine, and so I was able to broaden the scope around public health, within tropical medicine, but also get those hardcore skills, those qualitative, quantitative, those computer packaging programs, all of that epi bio says, everything that you would need to run a program to run a monitoring evaluation to get that framework down, it’s kind of like, arming you with the best armor, and not forgetting the sword and shield.

Sujani 11:34
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s a wonderful program. And I keep thinking, there’s just so many great programs all around the world. And it’d be wonderful to hear firsthand about each of them from the students. So this is great to hear about Tulane, just for any of our listeners who may be considering it as a school for any of their either undergraduate or graduate study. So thanks for that. Okay, so it’s a two year program, you have a wonderful experience there, you get to do some international work out in Jamaica. And then what happens, I guess, upon graduation for you?

Maudra 12:05
Like everyone else, you’re like, What am I going to do? And I’m a millennial. So I came as an undergrad, it was a rough time for jobs when I got out. And the same was said for graduate schools. But I will say I was armed, I think better from the school, they do a wonderful job of supporting students to get them, you know, the job that they want, and help them support them, give them tools and skills, resume, cover letters, all of that work, and making sure that you know, best practices in those arenas to because degree is great on the wall, but not if you don’t use it. Right?

Sujani 12:42
Right. Right.

Maudra 12:43
My transition was easy finding some work back in the States, I found some work on the East Coast and decided to put some of my skills to use and then got picked up by the government and did some really innovative work with them for over a decade. So I think my journey is a little different, because of all the training that I got around programmatic intervention around sustainable development around international best practices, and then coming to the US. And working in health systems and government and quality improvement in those efforts is two sides of the same coin. But it really shows you the niche, and the area that needs the most improvement, the communication between health care and public health.

Sujani 13:37
Yeah. And that’s kind of the role that you took on with the government. Right?

Maudra 13:42
Yeah. So I managed the quality efforts around managed care organizations, they working for HHS, and just navigating those health systems, arenas. And so I like to say I’ve always been a sneaky public health spy, maybe, you know, it MHAs and MBAs and, you know, physicians and those individuals as kind of a way to bridge that gap.

Sujani 14:08
Right, right. So I think I saw on your LinkedIn, that first job that you had out of grad school, was pediatric injury prevention.

Maudra 14:18
It was so fun.

Sujani 14:20
Tell us a bit more about that. And how did you figure out what role it was that you wanted to start your public health job in right out of grad school? And you said the university kind of helped you figure that out? But, you know, what are some things that you assessed on kind of your friend to figure out okay, where should I go and look for jobs? What type of jobs am I looking for? I think you spent about a year in that role before spending a decade in government.

Maudra 14:48
I am a little ambitious. I’m a little different than my peers. You know, a lot of our folks you know, will spend their whole career in government, will spend their whole career in programs but I I wanted to know, could I build something from nothing. And this injury prevention role was a new role, it was a blended role from a nonprofit housed in a health system. And so I wanted to know if I could build a wonderful program, that was evidence based, intervention focused, prevention focused, and strategic, right. So building their program from nothing, getting sponsors, making sure that they had a strategic plan, making sure that they received grant funding, all of the things that we say, and we learn about in public health, that are essentially best practices to a successful program, and to meet the needs of the community. So being inclusive level setting around equity, especially for those that are under service and under resourced. What does that look like practically in that position allowed me to do that, and flex those skills and really know that I could do it know that it was possible, gave me the flexibility and the creativity to do so.

Sujani 16:07
That sounds like such an excellent opportunity right out of grad school to have.

Maudra 16:12
I know, it was.

Sujani 16:14
Like, I know you had a few years of experience before you started grad school. But how did you prepare yourself for such a- such a huge undertaking? What it sounds like?

Maudra 16:25
I think my personality, when I saw the knee, you know, everyone loves mamas and babies, right?

Sujani 16:32
Yeah, yeah.

Maudra 16:33
I have always throughout my career, that is an inner woven thread, I’ve always loved that population, love supporting their efforts, love helping them be healthier, as a whole, you know, because I think someone said, I forget who the quote is. But you know a lot about your society about how you treat your mothers. And so if we’re giving advisement on how to, you know, to get into something like that, don’t be afraid. Even if you are afraid, do the thing. Because trying your best giving it your all in my family, we have a mantra, and it’s be your best never quit work hard. And that is something that we say every day. And it’s something that really the root of it is that tenacity that all public health people have. Because it chooses feel is a passion, right? It’s something that you love to do. And I really was unafraid. People always say what’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen? The best that can happen is now they have an outstanding program. They have funders, they have a coalition, they have this beautiful integration of public health programs and nonprofit with an a very large health system, and that that partnership is flourishing. And so that’s the best that could happen.

Sujani 17:58
Yeah, I think when I was recording yesterday with another guest, we talked about letting passion drive your career. And at the end of the day, the title of your job, or the list of responsibilities you have is just, it’s just there. And and you know, obviously you, you do everything you can to check those things off and do what you were hired to do. But when you let passion kind of drive, why you’re waking up every morning, and like kind of showing up to that organization that you’re committed to. The huge task in front of you shouldn’t feel overwhelming, right?

Maudra 18:36
Absolutely. And I think, you know, sometimes we say passion, but we need purpose.

Sujani 18:41
Yes, yeah. Yeah.

Maudra 18:43
Purpose of what I’m here for. Right? I’m a connector. I’m a facilitator, I have a love of people and the love for moms and babies. And what does that translate for me as a career, right? Children’s supporting communities in the ways that I know work.

Sujani 19:02
And I think this is a good lesson, even for early career professionals who may be staring at a job posting and thinking like, there’s no way I could do this. But I think you know, going again, to this like purpose and passion conversation, if your passion and purpose, for example, is to serve mothers or be part of a community that you really feel close to, I kind of say, if you have the bare minimum qualifications that they’re asking for, forget about the rest of the list of tasks that they’re asking you to do. And just go ahead and put that application through because when you show them in your cover letter on your interview, how passionate and dedicated you are, I think that’s going to speak for itself.

Maudra 19:47
Honestly, it really is, you know, there’s always barriers and blocks and sometimes things don’t work out and that’s probably for the best, but if you want it, you should try for it. Absolutely.

Sujani 20:00
I think you, you said something like, you’re kind of someone who’s a bit different. And you get to paraphrase a little bit and say you kind of take risks and you try different things, right. And I think that’s very evident, because the role that you stepped into a decade after working in government is illustrative of that. So you now run your own consulting firm, MRB Public Health Consulting, and you’ve kind of ran that for just about three years. Tell us about that decision, like to leave a government job to then start a business and work for yourself and take that risk. Really, right.

Maudra 20:42
People were to stunned to speak, let me tell you, Oh, my God, I can’t believe you’ve been so you’re the director, what are you doing?

Sujani 20:49
Maybe you could tell us a bit about like, where you left when you were at the government, because you told us a bit about like, the type of work that you were doing, but you went into then, like a manager role, and then a director role, and then you decided to leave?

Maudra 21:02
It was, you know, a hot topic for a while, that’s for sure. I didn’t miss it really was what a time. I think, if you think back, it’s kind of hard because everyone’s in a fog, you know, for the pandemic, and around what year is this? Do we even know? It’s 2020? And 2022? We don’t know.

Sujani 21:21

Maudra 21:22
But you know, this was 2019. And I had worked my way all the way up through the ranks, through the struggle, through them when it’s government. So everything takes longer running a division with a substantial budget, really, you know, a good fit for me. But what pushed me was, and I tell this story, and I still think, what an interesting jam this was. So my kids go to school, just like everyone else’s kids do. And this was the beginning of the pandemic, the very beginning, it was, you know, probably March, and you know, there were things going on everyone in public health, you know, we were all, you know, clutching our chests. Were like, oh, my gosh, because we you know, it’s kind of like a train. You can see it coming, but you can’t stop it.

Sujani 22:13

Maudra 22:14
And I just was overwhelmed with not just anxiety, but just, what can I do? Right? I’m so used to, you know, jumping in supporting help me, what can I do? And I shot the head of school for my kids cluster of schools. And I said, Hey, how can I help? How can I start? How can I support you? And he said, Ma’am, I just cannot believe this. Because I was just like, he’s- I was, I had my head on my desk praying about this right now. And he said, absolutely, whatever your thoughts are, we want to hear them. We want to be supportive. We want our kids, our kids are our family, right? And this is where I’m sending my babies. And what a great motivator, right? To get it right. And to do it right, to have such a great collaboration with leadership. And we really just worked well together. And I was- I’m happy to report as my first client, I said, you know, I don’t want anything I just want to help. And of course, you know, they’re like, no, no, no, that’s not how this works. And so they have in the two plus years that we’ve been through this pandemic, has zero school based COVID. Thanks to our efforts, me as a consultant and their leadership, I always say it’s a partnership, collaboration, because we give and take and work with each other well, and so that is the push essentially, that I needed. And some would say, why don’t you just not stay with HHS? Why don’t you just do this on the side, I said, you know, what I’ve learned in government is for people that are innovative, it can be a difficult one. And I wanted some more flexibility. I wanted less long hours, I want it to be able to provide something more to my community, and the communities of my choosing. And so having that autonomy, having a great support system, being able to navigate business, because they don’t do a good job. Some do better than others about helping young folks understand their worth, and that they can be independent, and that they do know things and they don’t have to give their skill set away to organization or company. They can be a contractor. They can be an independent source. And sometimes that’s better. And it’s not as risky as people may want you to believe.

Sujani 24:50
I knew this was going to be quite an inspirational conversation with you.

Maudra 24:55
You know, I love to give advisement, but I also they, you know, everybody’s path is different. This was mine.

Sujani 25:03
For sure.

Maudra 25:04
And entrepreneurship is hard. They always glamorize it until you, you know, you just do what you want, when you want. That’s not how it goes.

Sujani 25:12

Maudra 25:13
But it’s- it’s definitely as far as your purpose as we were speaking about. I am purpose driven. I’m partnering in working with partners that have a shared vision. And so that’s important to me as a professional. I’m closer to 20, then closer to 10. At this point.

Sujani 25:31
Yeah, I think independent from where you landed, which is as an entrepreneur, the lesson here is quote it as you said, it was providing more to the communities of my choosing, right? I think, regardless of if you want to be an entrepreneur, or if you’re just, you know, thinking about changing jobs, or asking to work in a different role within your same organization, it’s about really tapping into your inner self, really figuring out like, what is it that I’m driven by? Is it by creating, you know, sustainable partnerships like you did? Or is it by something else? And really, like just going for that? I think that’s what I’m getting out of this. And of course, entrepreneurship is the path that you chose, and one of our listeners might choose something else. But I think regardless, there’s a good lesson there for everyone.

Maudra 26:20

Sujani 26:21
And so did you take that leap and go right into focusing all of your time and effort into your consulting? Or was there a bit of overlap for a period?

Maudra 26:32
I again, I don’t know that this is for everybody. But I did, I pulled the trigger really quickly. Again, having a great support system. And a great partner really allowed me to do that. And I think it’s different strokes for different posts. And I don’t think everything has a forever timestamp. I’m a consultant today, I’m independent. But that doesn’t mean that that’s how it’ll always be, there’s a fluidity in our field, and a flexibility that I think people don’t take advantage of as much. You don’t have to do this thing for 10 years. You don’t have to do the scene for three years, you can do it for three months, and knowing that there are opportunities like that, and it will help you as I said, before, very early in my career, it helped me to learn the things that I love, learn the things that I like to do, and also learn the things that I did not.

Sujani 27:30
Yeah, that’s, that’s quite a brave step for you to just go all in. And I think just that partnership that you had created was probably another reason right? Like that, you could step into it completely.

Maudra 27:43
Having a proof of concept, having, you know, a large cluster of schools that you know, that at that time, I mean, the pandemic was, at its height, so much misinformation, just really giving strong advisement, regardless, because as an independent consultant, you’re able to say what she knows to be true. And I’ve worked in very difficult environments with low resources. So I know at the root, is behavior change, and how can we operate and work with instead of working against people’s tendencies and associations around risk? Right? What does that look like?

Sujani 28:24
The quote that comes to mind is hearing your story is the one that goes luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, right? And when I kind of hear your story, that preparation piece is all about knowing yourself, right? Knowing what your purpose is, your passion is what’s driving you. And I’m curious to hear, because it seems like you didn’t have to think too much. You kind of just jumped in and said, Okay, this is what I’m going to do. Because all that preparation you had done for the past 15 years or so. Like were there things that you did to really help you understand that what you wanted to work on what you wanted to do was creating unique and sustainable partnerships. And that’s the purpose that you’re driving with. I’m wondering like, what sort of experiences and things that took place over those 15 years that kind of set the stage for that leap.

Maudra 29:22
Having, being holistically trained in public health, knowing enough about MP, about biostats, knowing enough about risk, risk reduction, harm reduction, knowing about viral suppression, really understanding behavior change. All of these things came from working with people working in communities, and really having an open mind. We can logic model all day. But that really isn’t practically how it works out because people are not always logical. And so how you came about those skills, it is experience. But the types of experiences, as I said before choosing things that were not normal working in the Caribbean and a pilot city with all male maximum security prison. I mean, it is very unique.

Sujani 30:15

Maudra 30:15
You know, it’s kind of an odd thing, especially at the time, when I thought, you know, I’m going to learn some things that I don’t even know, I need to know. And the same for working in a hospital setting like, nobody in public health hardly ever works within a hospital system. Not back then now, maybe so. But, you know, not in the 2000s. For sure. You know, it really was a sharp line, working in a public health community, like in a public health clinic, or, you know, doing programs with the public health department that was kind of the role of public health. And so that kind of got me interested in working so close with politics, advocacy, lobbyists, all those things, all those experiences, like I said, it taught me what I loved and what I did not as a whole, and it helped me have a broader understanding of how people, organizations, businesses make decisions.

Sujani 31:16

Maudra 31:17
That has been invaluable for my business now. And it has been invaluable as I matriculated through- through government work.

Sujani 31:25
Yeah, there was a question that you said you posed at the school, which I bet you probably said many times in your career is how can I help. And I think that’s probably another way that you’ve been able to be so involved in all these great projects throughout your career.

Maudra 31:44
People need help, just like anyone, I’m a mother, too, you know, we don’t want to ask for it. We don’t want to ask for help. But for me, you know, telling people what I do, telling people, what I have done, what models have been successful in similar environments, and how I can help them because everyone is overworked, underpaid, stressed, is a really, really hard time for a lot of folks. And if I can help alleviate some of that, right, this is my expertise. As an educator or a leader, school leader, or business owner. That’s your expertise. That’s your bread and butter. Public health has been mine for a long time. And so allowing me to step in and take that heavy lift has been probably one of the most the best ways I’ve engaged clients, partners, and non traditional partners, right, I’m able to think about things in a different way. Because of those experiences. I have a school that I worked with, that was struggling with testing, right? The Health Department’s overwhelmed, we’re teammates, we’re playing for the same team, myself, and department, I’m trying to get the same outcomes, do they are- they are under resource understand how can I support my client who needs testing, right, but they can’t get it together. As far as scheduling, opportunities, needs. So me connecting a pharmaceutical company that’s local, that does vaccinations and does testing on a regular basis. And that’s pretty much down the street. And so that is what I mean about having that mindset of non traditional partners, right? They never would have connected, they didn’t know about each other, they didn’t know about each other’s needs, right? And being that bridge to connect them. And now everyone’s a win win, right? The company’s getting reimbursed via insurance and you know, getting their name out there. And the same can be said for the school because they’re getting more people are vaccinated in the building and getting regular testing as they need to.

Sujani 34:01
Have you had any pushback when you’re trying to explore non traditional partnerships, whether it’s in your consulting role here or throughout your career, like has that being a barrier for you, since that’s kind of one of the things that you’ve really brought into all the organizations that you’ve worked with?

Maudra 34:19
I think in life, you will always find folks that are not ready for change. Everybody knows that change. Those early adopters are the ones.

Sujani 34:27

Maudra 34:28
We love and support the best. But there are some ladders and the skill that I have is understanding where people are, their readiness for change, their tolerance for risk, and what is important to them. For some schools, you know, in the schools that I work with and the businesses that I work with being open for five days, or being open for seven days. Matters is important. It’s the bottom line. It’s a practical move, and what can I do to support them to get to that goal, I think pushback happens when, you know, you stand on one side, and they stand on another. And you both tell each other what’s important to you. Instead of being a collaborator, a listener, and understanding their point of view, I think people, you know, also are shocked to know, you know, some of the schools that I’ve worked with, are in the southeast and have some of the highest COVID rates have some of the worst community spread in the nation. And people are like, well, how do you have zero COVID? How do you not even work? I said, it’s all in what you say, and how you say it. Both of those things have to be true. And so meeting people where they are, having a proof of concept, building that trust, it doesn’t happen overnight. But people all essentially want the same thing. They want healthy kids, they want safe environments, they want to be able to go to work, and not take off for quarantine every two weeks. They want a healthy family. And we can all agree on that.

Sujani 36:10
Yeah, no, that’s excellent. Thanks so much for that, Maudra. Just with like, kind of a few minutes left, how does a day, in your role as Chief Health strategist at MRB Public Health Consulting look like?

Maudra 36:25
Well, I will say every day is different, that will say it’s independent, you have to have some operations and structure in place, or things get wow, really fast. So make sure you have your systems and logistics are so important. Having those things together. I will say the blessing is I am wonderful in the morning, I am early riser, I get a lot of things done before and around as soon as the crack of dawn. And that has served me well in this work. A lot of businesses, owners, organizations, and schools open really early. So all of those things and efforts work well. And for the good a day in the life I have in about you know, 10 minutes, I’m gonna have another consult with a school in Missouri. And so that is a lot of client calls we do on site assessment. So making sure that we can put eyes on things and get a hands on perspective, I think a lot of times people are like, you can just take these advisements I’m not telling people stuff this that cannot be found in the internet. Right? Not all of it. But it’s a strategy, a more hands on approach that really that’s where the success happens. And so we found that being integrated in the school leadership or the business’s leadership, that is a great way to have success. And so we do that every day, staying connected and gaining more clients as we move into new territory, monkey pox, polio, all infectious disease, shenanigans, and so COVID and its variants we say, because we work with black kids, we say COVID and its cousins.

Sujani 38:16
Oh, that’s awesome. Thanks so much, Maudra. I mean, you know, I just heard that you, you do have another call right after this. So I want to make sure that you get to that. And I can already foresee that I’m probably going to have you come back in some capacity to talk more about your journey and all the great work that you’re doing. For some of our public health students or early career professionals. What’s one advice or tip that you can leave us with?

Maudra 38:41
That’s a great question. Because I always think advice is subjective, right? I used to work a lot with breastfeeding moms and just new moms and, and all of that as well, I, I’ve had a different career for sure. And I would always say, no one loves your baby more than you. Sometimes parents, they were- work very really hard. And said, you are your baby’s expert already. We’re just here to support you and help you make good choices. But you already know. And so that’s what I would say for any public health professional believe in yourself you know what you want to do. You may not have the words, when I began, there wasn’t necessarily a term of public health, an understanding of what that is, but I knew that’s what I liked, but it didn’t have a name. And I think the best advisement is a belief in you.

Sujani 39:35
I love that. Thanks so much, Maudra. Really, really inspiring chat this morning for myself, and I’m sure for our listeners too, and I will most definitely bring you back and share you with our community.

Maudra 39:48
Wonderful. Sounds amazing. Thank you for having me.

Sujani 39:54
Hey, I hope you enjoyed that episode and if you want to get the links or information mentioned in Today’s episode, you can head over to pHspot.org/podcast. And we’ll have everything there for you. And before you go, I want to tell you about the public health career club. So if you’ve been looking for a place to connect and build meaningful relationships with other public health professionals, from all around the world, you should join us in the public health career club. We launched the club with the vision of becoming the number one hangout spot dedicated to building and growing your dream public health career. And in addition to being able to connect and build those meaningful relationships with other public health professionals, the club also offers other great resources for your career growth and success, like mindset coaching, job preparation clinics, and career growth strategy sessions in the form of trainings and talks, all delivered by experts and inspiring individuals in these areas. So if you want to learn more or want to join the club, you can visit our page at pHspot.org/club. And we’ll have all the information there. And you know, as a space that’s being intentionally curated to bring together like minded public health professionals who are not only there to push themselves to become the best versions of themselves, but also each other. And with that, I can’t wait to see how this is going to have a ripple effect in the world as we all work together to better the health of our populations and just have immense impact in the world. And I hope you’ll be joining us in the public health career club.


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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