New year. New you. New job? Introducing a new mini series & Career Workshop.

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This year, January 14th to be exact, PH SPOT celebrates 5 years. It’s unbelievable that 5 years have gone by already. Sujani created PH SPOT in 2017 after seeing a gap online for a career development resource dedicated specifically for public health professionals. Since graduating from her public health degree, Sujani spent countless hours between 2013 – 2016 guiding public health students and new grads one-on-one with their careers. As this was not a scalable solution, nor a sustainable one she decided to create PH SPOT to reach, inspire and support a larger number of public health professionals. The platform also ensured that a more diverse set of experiences and advice was being shared. On today’s episode Sujani tells you about the different programs and products PH SPOT has built over the years, and on a more exciting note, introduces the new mini series on the podcast that will run throughout January and a bit into February, called NewYear. New You. New Job?, as well as a Career Workshop!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Three pillars that PH SPOT’s products and programs are focused on: studying public health, getting hired in public health, upskilling for a competitive edge (mainly focused on health communications)
  • The types of content found on the Blog and the Podcast, the downloadable tools and resources available for each of the three pillars, and the virtual programming (courses and workshops offered)
  • And update on the podcast and how we will have a weekly release in 2022
  • The new mini series in January focused on getting you hired in public health. Topics of discussion will include informational Interviews, setting yourself up with LinkedIn for job success, and resumes/CVs.
  • One of the most exciting launches of 2022: Jumpstart your public health career – Career Workshop.

Featured on the Show:

Other Resources:

Episode Transcript

Sujani 0:02
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.

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2022. So this year 2022 and January 14th, to be exact, PH SPOT celebrate 5 years. It’s quite unbelievable that five years have gone by already. I created PH SPOT in 2017. After I saw a gap online for a career development resource dedicated specifically for us, public health professionals. I noticed that the startup world and the tech world, for example, had all these great online platforms that supported career growth. But when I looked around for one in public health, none existed at the time. And since graduating from my public health degree, I spent countless hours between 2013 and 2016, guiding public health students and new grads one on one with their careers. As this was not a scalable solution nor a sustainable one for me, I decided to create PH SPOT and my whole mission at the time was to reach, inspire, and support a larger number of public health professionals.

The platform would ensure that a more diverse set of experiences and advice was being shared beyond just what I had experienced. And so at the time, an online platform didn’t seem all too necessary. Although many did find it valuable. Because, you know, in 2017, we had access to in person events, workshops, conferences, and most of the knowledge exchange, and mentorship, and networking took place there. But then when I thought about this online space back in 2017, I knew that the future of our public health network would soon move online by just looking at what the tech and business spaces had created. But then, you know, in 2020, when the pandemic hit, it really just fast forwarded this need for an online space. And here at PH SPOT, we had seen even more value in the platform and the skyrocketed during the pandemic. And so for those of you who are listening who may not know the history of PH SPOT, it initially started as a job board with a blog on the side. The platform took many iterations and has evolved into what it is today featuring community generated career stories on the blog, a podcast, which is the one that you’re listening to, to complement the blog, and then resources and tools for studying in public health- working in public health and upskilling in public health. Our weekly newsletter of handpicked public health jobs and opportunities, also replace the job board, we listened to what the people wanted and pivoted PH SPOT to what it is today. And it’s truly amazing to see PH SPOT become a trusted career development resource that’s been recommended and relied on upon by students, new graduates, academic institutions and public health organizations. And with that, we know that we hold a really big responsibility in this space. And we don’t take this role lightly. Here at PH SPOT, we are a group of dedicated individuals who are in a mission to help our peers build their dream public health career. And if you didn’t get a chance to listen to the last episode, our small but mighty team was on that. And we talked about what we loved about 2021. And what we’re looking forward to in 2022. And so encourage you to listen to that and hear the different voices behind PH SPOT. And so, you know, we help our peers build their dream public health career through community curated content, such as a blog, and podcast, as well as virtual programming. And this includes courses and workshops. And we also provide digital resources that can be downloaded. And then most importantly, we leverage data and community insights to build all of our products. So when we have an idea, we always go back to the community, collect data from you, and then build out products.

And so as we wrap up 2021 and step into 2022, I wanted to come on the podcast today to tell you a bit about these programs and resources that PH SPOT currently offers in case you haven’t had a chance to explore our website. And then what you can expect in 2022, which is quite exciting for me. So the current platform, which you can find at pHspot.org, offers support across three what we call pillars. So you will find programs and resources in the following three areas, studying in public health, getting hired in public health, and upskilling for a competitive edge. And at the moment, our upskilling resources are mainly focused on health communication. So the blog and the podcast, they offer personal stories, advice and motivation for all three of these pillars. The blog accepts contributions from community members like yourself who may wish to write reflections to share lessons learned or any advice that they may have for their peers. And then our team members also write articles based on frequently asked questions in the space of public health work. The podcast, which you’re listening to titled, “The Public Health spotlight podcast” has two types of content. We have guest interviews and short bite sized career related tips. These as you know, since you’re listening to an episode are often hosted by me. However, in 2022, we are entertaining the idea of having select series be hosted by other team members. But we haven’t really confirmed anything. So for the foreseeable future, you will be listening to my voice. And so you can find the blog and the podcast at pHspot.org/blog, or phspot.org/podcast.

Next, we have downloadable tools and resources available for each of the three pillars. So you can browse these on our website. But to highlight a few of our top ones, we have public health programs list. So these are lists of all of the MPH programs available in Canada, available online globally. And then we also have a list for select public health masters programs that can be taken in the US. And we also have one for the DrPH so that’s the Doctor of Public Health Program. And all of the programs that are available globally, we have a programs list as well, which can be downloaded and used for your research when you’re exploring these degrees. We also have a letter of intent writing guide. So we walk through the key steps that you should be taking when you are preparing your letter of intent, which is often required for grad school. We also have a resource on how to set public health career goals. And then we also have a free guide that discusses the four ways to use infographics in your public health work under the upskilling pillar. So you can find all of these resources on our site at pHspot.org/resources. And finally, we have virtual programming. These include courses and workshops. Currently, we have two products under this category, and one in the works for 2022, which I will tell you about in a moment. The infographics one on one suite was our first ever product, and it was created and launched in 2018. After consultations with our community members. We heard loud and clear that this was a need and we were thrilled to offer a solution to fill this gap. The infographics 101 course is a self paced online course that teaches public health professionals to create infographics with software they know and use. To date, over 220 students have enrolled in the course across the world. That’s 220 public health professionals who have committed to communicating accurate public health information with the population they serve in a method that they know will be easily consumed. And so in addition to that self paced course, is a live workshop component offered virtually to organizations for their members. And so this is an interactive group workshop focused on learning the basics of infographics, why they’re important in public health, how to use them in their work, the design process, and then the simple and free tools that you already have access to that could be leveraged for infographic design. The workshop includes the lecture component activities throughout and a q&a session. And I’ve had the privilege of delivering this workshop for undergraduate students and graduate classes at Queen’s University here in Canada as well as the University of Texas. I’ve also had the privilege of delivering the workshop to members of professional organizations such as the New Jersey Society for Public Health Education or NJ SoPHE for short, and the Saskatchewan center for patient oriented research. And these workshops sizes have ranged from 20 to over 200 and they’ve all been immensely fulfilling on my end to deliver and just to hear the feedback from participants and the confidence that they walk away with in order to design infographics.

And so the main goal of the infographics one on one suite, whether it’s the self paced course or the live workshop is to show that it’s possible for even us, public health professionals who don’t have a professional training in graphic design, to design infographics with confidence. And my goal is to also show that you as the public health expert, you need to be the one leading these infographic projects within your organization. And then the communication or marketing team within your organization can support the design work, but it’s you as a public health professional who needs to lead the project. And so if you’re an individual interested in learning how to design public health infographics with software, you know and use, check out phspot.org/infographics. And you can enroll in the course and get started as soon as you’re interested. And if you’re looking to book a workshop for your organization, you can fill out the form on our site at the same link, pHspot.org/infographics. And I will be sure to get in touch with you. The second product we have available is the beginners only build a public health website course. This is a step by step course to help you build and launch a public health website that is low maintenance costs $0 and requires very little technical knowledge and skill. So as you know, I advocate that as public health professionals, we have a responsibility to effectively communicate health information to the populations we serve. And this can be achieved in many ways such as presentations, flyers, infographics, like I just mentioned, and of course websites. Websites are a publicly accessible resource, and they’ve become the first point of contact for many organizations and individuals. They are a great way to showcase public health information. And you know, they’re globally accessible. And like infographics, public health professionals can develop the skills needed to build websites, for the organization’s projects and various initiatives. And so earlier in 2021, we held a live build a public health website workshop, and we had participants attend, and they learned the steps to build and launch a website for $0. And based on feedback from these participants, the workshop was converted into a self paced course. So if you’re looking to build and launch a public health website this year, whether it’s for a personal project, a consultation service you want to offer to showcase your organization’s work or initiative. Or if your organization doesn’t even have a web presence, and you’d like to do something about it. Visit phspot.org/build-website to enroll in this course, and you can learn the exact steps to build and launch your website at $0.

And now I want to tell you about a few exciting things you can expect in 2022. First, I will start with this podcast. And you know, we’ve made a big decision this year to deliver weekly podcast episodes. Since launching this podcast in 2020, we’ve been publishing bi weekly episodes and bi weekly blog posts in 2022. Were changing this up and releasing a weekly episode. And then articles on our blog on a monthly basis. With some months maybe having more than one release really depending on the submissions that we’re receiving. The blog will still continue to accept submissions from the community on career reflections, advice, tips for your peers, and or students and then opinion pieces, of course. So if you’re interested, take a look at pHspot.org/contribute. And reach out to us to submit a story. And then our team will also be pulling together articles based on questions we’ve heard from all of you. One such post, you know that kind of falls under this category that we published this past year in 2021 was “Do I need a master’s degree to work in public health?”, it was a popular question. We did some research rounded, pulled our community, pulled all of this together in a blog post. And so you know similar to these kinds of questions, you can expect articles coming from the PH SPOT team to help you in one of the three pillars. And on the podcast, we will continue to spotlight public health heroes as we like to call them as well as friends of Public Health to share career stories, advice and tips. There will be a combination of guest interviews and solo career tips episode as you’ve experienced in the past two years.

And we are excited to let you know that for the first couple of months in 2022, we will be hyper focused on the theme of “New year, new me” job hunt edition. So we’ll be discussing here on the podcast, things like informational interviews, setting yourself up with LinkedIn for job success, and resumes and CVs with guests who have spent many years guiding students and new grads and early professionals in these areas. And most of them come from public health backgrounds as well. So stay tuned for these episodes, over the course of January and maybe dabbling into February as well, because it’s going to really, really help you with your career, especially if you’re someone looking to change jobs or get started within the public health workforce. And finally, one of the most exciting launches of 2022 will be a program that I’m building called “Jumpstart your public health career bootcamp”. And I want to take the remaining few minutes of this episode to tell you a bit more about this and why I’m building it. You may know this already, but when each one of you joins a PH SPOT community via our subscriptions, so if you head over to pHspot.org/signup, you can be part of our mailing list, it’s free. And I send you a welcome email telling you about my public health journey. And in return, I asked you to also share where you are in your public health journey, and how PH SPOT can help you.

These are my most favorite emails to read and respond to I have read every single one of these emails in the past five years, and have personally responded to almost all of them, I will admit that I still got a few in my inbox to get through. So if you’re one of the individuals who have written to me and I haven’t written back to you, it’s because I’ve got a chunk of a backlog of emails to get through. So you can imagine that after five years, and hundreds of emails later from public health professionals telling me where they can use some help, I began to see a pattern. And you bet I did. Email after email, the number one thing I heard from the community is this, “I need help launching my public health career.”. Specifically, this included general guidance in building a roadmap for a career in public health, and the job application process, which includes things like building your network, resumes, and CV, informational interviews, so that- that whole jazz of things. And over the years, I’ve thought about this ask quite a bit and reflected on how to best support you in the most effective and meaningful way. I was stuck because I didn’t want to throw together a bunch of resources because I knew that existed on various websites. I also didn’t want to talk about it on a podcast and just tell you the steps that you should be taking because it didn’t feel like it was enough support and guidance. So after thinking about this problem more actively and researching it across other industries, I was excited to finally have come up with the solution. And the solution in my head would be some sort of a program. And so, you know, as we always do, we turn to the community. We hired a few individuals who conducted the research for us, we collected both qualitative and quantitative data on your needs. And based on the findings of this research that we did, we set out to build this program. And I’m excited to let you know that we will be launching this program in early February. So if you’re interested in being kept in the loop about it, you can head over to pHspot.org/bootcamp to add yourself to the waitlist. So in summary, it’s an exciting year for us and I hope you’ll be tagging along as well. And I can’t wait to help you build your dream public health career through PH SPOT, especially through this bootcamp. It’s going to be a- from the planning that I’ve done and from the work that’s been currently done on this program, it’s going to be a five week intensive bootcamp that’s going to take you from you know, not knowing where to focus on for your career, not having the right tools to go through the job application process to getting you the getting you into the right mindset, as well as helping you build that roadmap and then giving you all the tools that you need, and it’s going to be quite intense. And so if you’re someone who’s ready for that, and really wanting to immerse yourself into this program for five weeks, definitely go put yourself on the waitlist at pHspot.org/bootcamp. And we’ll communicate the latest news on that through email.

And as we celebrate five years of PH SPOT, I’m also feeling truly humbled and grateful to be part of this public health community. And I want to thank you for joining me on this very first episode of 2022. And as usual, I’ve mentioned quite a number of links today on this episode, they will all be over on the show notes page at pHspot.org/podcast. So if there’s one link you need to remember today, pHspot.org/podcast, we’ll have all of the URLs from today’s episode there.

And until next time, thank you so much for tuning in and for the invaluable work that you do for this world.

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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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