ABC’s of informational interviews in the public health world, with Shanna Shulman

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On today’s episode Sujani speaks with Shanna Shulman about informational interviews. Informational interviews are very important and key to a successful career, whether it’s in public health or not. Shanna gives us the rundown of what informational interviews are, how to do them, share her experience, and a whole lot more insight into the topic including some homework for you.

Grab a notebook and let’s get into it.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What is an informational interview?
  • Shanna’s story of using informational interviews in her career, specifically how she’s leveraged them to achieve certain objectives
  • Why you should conduct informational interviews? Specifically discussing the following four categories: to find a job, to understand your sector’s landscape, to assess your fit, and to build your professional network.
  • At what point during your career should you conduct informational interviews?
  • Barriers people (especially students) face when conducting informational interviews.
  • The importance of informational interviews for a public health since it is to our advantage for our work to know as many people in the sub disciplines of public health.
  • Shanna’s thoughts on whether you are “bothering” people when reaching out to chat through informational interviews
  • Why informational interviews are so critical for students.
  • Who should you do informational interviews with and how do you go about executing one? We discuss an easy to follow process.
  • Tips on how to reach an individual for an informational interview, including a sample email you could send, and vest practices on following up.
  • How to make the best of the time you do get with a contact for an informational interview (what to talk about!).
  • Memorable interviews Shanna has had, both positive and negative.
  • Homework to get you started on informational interviews!

Today’s Guest:

Shanna Shulman, PhD, is the Director of Health and Medical Research at the Richard and
Susan Smith Family Foundation where she directs the Foundation’s health-related portfolio of
grants and initiatives. Prior to this, Dr. Shulman was Managing Director of the Boston
Children’s Hospital Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement where she co-led
the development of new quality of care measures for broad national use. Dr. Shulman was
previously Director of Policy and Research at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Foundation where she was responsible for assessing cost, access, and health outcomes
resulting from Massachusetts’ landmark 2006 universal health care law. Dr. Shulman was also
Senior Researcher at Mathematica Policy Research in Cambridge where she directed
evaluations of large-scale public health programs. Dr. Shulman focuses her work on the quality
of health care and access to health care for vulnerable populations. She received her BA
summa cum laude from Washington University in Saint Louis and her PhD in Health Policy from
Harvard University.

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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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