Public health consultants & entrepreneurs: Understanding the landscape, with Leah Roman and Vinu Illakkuvan

hosted by:

Today, unlock a world of innovation at the crossroads of entrepreneurship and public health consulting with Leah Roman and Vinu Ilakkuvan. They bring to light the motivations behind a groundbreaking survey on self-employed public health professionals, revealing the often hidden sides of self employment. Through candid conversations, we learn about the economic prospects of consulting and the pressing need for more academic training and support networks to arm future public health entrepreneurs with the tools for success.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What prompted Leah, Vinu, and Laura to collaborate on “The self-employed public health consultant and entrepreneur workforce in the United States” and the method behind conducting the survey
  • Key findings from the survey including demographics and formal training in skills related to entrepreneurship
  • Breaking down the financial aspects of consulting and salary transparency
  • The gap in support networks for self employed public health professionals and brainstorming how to bridge it
  • What Leah and Vinu hope to achieve next with the results collected from the survey

Today’s Guest:

Leah A. Roman, MPH, MCHES is the Owner & Principal Consultant for Roman Public Health Consulting LLC, where she helps public health organizations design effective e-learning solutions. She has 18+ years of experience providing training and technical assistance, health education, and project management services. Leah has a BA in Psychology (University of San Diego), a master of public health degree (Boston University), a certificate in e-learning instructional design (University of Washington), and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). Leah lives in the Philadelphia, PA area (USA) with her husband and two children.


Vinu Ilakkuvan, DrPH, MSPH, is passionate about strengthening community-driven efforts to address the upstream, root drivers of health ( She is Founder and Principal Consultant of PoP Health, a public health consulting practice that partners with community coalitions and collaboratives to transform health in their communities through policy and systems change ( PoP Health helps coalitions engage in community collaboration, action planning, participatory evaluation, and effective storytelling. PoP Health also issues a biweekly newsletter, Community Threads, with tools and strategies for anyone seeking to improve community health ( 

Vinu received her DrPH in Health Behavior from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health as a Milken Scholar, a Master’s degree with a concentration in Health Communication from the Harvard School of Public Health, and Bachelor’s degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Economics from the University of Virginia. She currently serves as a Professorial Lecturer at George Washington University. Vinu began her public health career coordinating the Virginia Department of Health’s bullying and youth violence prevention program and later, evaluating the national truth antismoking campaign and managing policy and communications projects at Trust for America’s Health.

Featured on the Show:


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.

Join the PH SPOT public health community

A place where passionate public health professionals commit to take their career to the next level – there is no other place like it online!


A simple template to get you started.

We will also add you to our Public Health community so that you can receive more awesome stuff from us. If you’re not enjoying them, you can unsubscribe instantly.