Figuring out what you like and don’t like: how being a personal trainer kickstarted a public health career, with Jeff Button

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In this episode, Sujani sits down with Jeff Button, a public health emergency preparedness specialist. They discuss Jeff’s career journey from working as a personal trainer to working in public health, what inspired him to pursue public health, and what public health emergency preparedness encompasses. 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Jeff’s experience as a personal health trainer and what led him to the public health field
    • What made Jeff choose to pursue public health over physical therapy
  • How to find what your passion is and signs/indicators that you may not be working in the right field
    • How work experiences can inspire you and better help you understand your field of interests
  • Advice on how to start making connections in a new professional field
  • The importance of making connections and how they can open doors in your career
  • What public health emergency preparedness is
  • What a day in the life of a Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planner looks like
    • Jeff’s current work in addressing health disparities that have been exacerbated by COVID and his experience working in a newly established team
    • How intraprofessional and interprofessional collaboration come in to play in public health

Today’s Guest:

Jeff Button is an early-career public health professional who discovered his passion for health promotion and disease prevention during his time working in the fitness and healthcare industries. Upon graduating with his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in December 2019 from the UTHealth School of Public Health in Dallas, Jeff was determined to find a job in the public health field that focused on improving population health and well-being. Currently, he is employed with a local health department within Collin County, Texas, where he was selected to serve as the first Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Planner for a state-funded COVID-19 Health Disparities Grant. In Jeff’s current role, he provides leadership on a team that analyzes the root causes of pandemic-driven health disparities and builds multi-sector partnerships with community stakeholders to improve the health of vulnerable populations. Jeff is passionate about reducing health disparities and addressing social determinants of health that affect health outcomes among high-risk and underserved communities. Jeff is a proud member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) who enjoys networking with other like-minded public health professionals and sharing his unique journey in the field of public health.


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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