Welcome to PH SPOTlight with Sujani Siva

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Show Notes

It’s January 28, 2020, and today we launch PH SPOT’s very own podcast show, PH SPOTlight.

In this first episode, Sujani Siva (the host of the show) tells you about herself, PH SPOT, and PH SPOTlight, and what this podcast means to us. 

In future episodes, 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.

We believe that to build a successful career in public health does not mean that it has to live up to a certain level of standard set out by somebody else…or that we need to burn ourselves out in the process. We believe that you can craft a career perfect for you, and your unique life. The message we hope to get across through these conversations on PH SPOTlight is that building a career is not only about climbing up the ranks, but about crafting a life that you want, around your unique needs, and one that gives importance to your mental health, wellbeing, and building relationships and friendships: you can only do good in the world if you take care of yourself.

You’ll Learn

  • Who is Sujani Siva, the host of PH SPOTlight
  • Why PH SPOTlight (a podcast show) is being launched
  • What to expect on the PH SPOTlight podcast
  • What it means to build a career in our opinions (hint: it’s not just about climbing up the ranks)

Today’s Guest

Sujani Siva

Sujani is the host of PH SPOTlight, and the founder of PH SPOT and Infographics101.com, two career platforms focused on helping build public health careers. After guiding a number of public health students and new grads over the past 7 years, Sujani created PH SPOT to reach, inspire and support public health professionals.

Read about Sujani’s journey into public health in this two part series:


Before you go…

  • Do you have a topic that you would like us to cover or a guest we should sit down with? Tell us using this form.

Episode Transcript

Sujani 0:03
For the past few months, I have been working on this very special project. And it involves me talking to a lot of people, people who we are calling public health heroes. And in just a minute, I will be telling you all about this special project. But before that, let’s cue that intro. 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.

Wow, it’s finally here, PH SPOT’s very own podcast show PH SPOTlight. And this here, this is the very first episode of our show. So welcome. And thank you so much for being here. My name is Sujani Sivanantharajah, and I am the host of PH SPOTlight. And I’m here to help you build your public health career. It’s January 28 2020, almost three years since PH SPOT launched, and it has taken us some time to launch a podcast show from our end. So we want to thank you for your patience and support during this journey. Today’s episode, episode number one is going to be slightly different from our typical podcast episodes that we have planned for you. Because today, it’s just going to be you and me, as I tell you a bit more about me, about PH SPOT. And also of course about PH SPOTlight and what this podcast means to me. If you know me from PH SPOT, or even our infographics 101 course, you know me as Sujani Siva, the founder of both of these public health career platforms, you know that I’m extremely passionate about supporting my peers in public health to build their careers. And you also know that I care about the people in the public health profession. And that I also think we should be referred to as public health heroes, because we do amazing work in this world. All right. So this is really the first opportunity that I’ve gotten to speak to you in this format. Since launching PH SPOT three years ago, you may have read some of my blog posts on PH SPOT, but this year, this is going to be very special for me to be able to speak to you like this. And so I’m very excited about our podcast show. If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I’m an epidemiologist by training, and I’m from Canada, and that I graduated from the University of Toronto, where I majored in Health Studies in biology. And then I went on to pursue a Master of Public Health degree at the University of Saskatchewan. Both of these universities are in Canada. And so shortly after I graduated, I joined the public service and worked in public health at the federal government. And I continued to do that. And during the same time, I also started venturing out and creating spaces and communities where I saw a gap. And that’s how PH SPOT was born. It was a community that I felt didn’t exist during my years as a student and a new professional in the public health profession. And as I received questions from students and new grads through LinkedIn, and personal connections, I just felt that this need could be met with an online solution. So I created PH SPOT. Of course, I had a lot of help from friends in the early months of launching PH SPOT. And now mostly my help comes from my dear husband, Kajanth. So thank you to him for helping bring this platform to life, and for dealing with the many technical tech issues that we run into on a daily basis. In addition, very recently, we were able to bring on some PH SPOT ambassadors to help spread the word about PH SPOT within their regions. So thank you to those amazing individuals, as well as Liz Huang, our content creator, whose name you might recognize if you’re subscribe to our weekly digest of handpicked opportunities in public health. As you can see, it’s a very lean team here at PH SPOT. But we’ve got big dreams to be able to support the great work that you do for the world. And one of these big dreams is PH SPOTlight, this podcast. So we decided to produce PH SPOTlight as a natural extension of our blog. The blog has served as a source of inspiration for us all in public health. Over the past three years, we have been so fortunate to read about the journeys that our peers have taken, and the advice that they’ve offered from their experiences. And so we felt that continuing these conversations over a medium like audio would help us to take these lessons and journeys one step further. And to connect with our peers in a way that is different from reading written content. But don’t worry, the blog will still continue to exist and we are still sharing reflections through written mediums and you can still contribute to our blog. And so PH SPOTlight much like the blog will be our space. Yours and mine and everyone else in public health, to share our stories and to inspire each other as we build our public health careers. The difference will be that we will get to hear the emotions, the energy, and the passion that comes with these stories. And importantly, PH SPOTlight is also going to be a place for us to say:

“It’s okay that things aren’t going the way that we planned it to because I too had the same experience.” And it’s also going to be a space for you to say or hear your peers say, “Hey, I think you need a break. And it’s okay to take that break.” Because to build a career that suits our individual needs, does not mean that it has to live up to a certain level of perfection that we assume, and that you need to burn yourself out. What I hope to get across from all of the conversations I had with our peers is that building a career is not only about climbing up the ranks, it means having a life that we want, building a career around what we and our families need, and focusing on our mental health and well being, as well as building relationships and friends in the process. And we need to do all of these so that we can deliver value in the world. You can only do good in the world if you take care of yourself. And from time to time I might be bringing on some friends of public health, meaning they may not be in the field of public health. But they do have advice they could share with us, like HR professionals, or someone to speak to us about burnout, or how to deliver effective presentations to adults. So I hope that through PH SPOTlight, you will be able to connect with peers you have not met before in a deep and meaningful way and hear their stories about hard work, perseverance, lessons they learned, decisions they’ve had to make, and reflections they’ve had. In addition to all of this, what you will hear the most from every single person is passion, passion to do good, passion to advance human health, and the human race, and passion to share back with the public health community. PH SPOT and PH SPOTlight is where I go from my community. And you are part of this community for me. I hope you will join us every week as we speak to Inspiring Public Health heroes of our time, who will help us build our careers.

I hope you enjoyed our very first episode and will take the time to listen to the first few episodes we’ve released along with this introduction. And if you’re looking for any of the information that I mentioned in today’s episode, you can head over to pHspot.ca/podcast. And we will have everything there for you in our show notes page. And if you have any suggestions or ideas or guests that you’d like us to feature on our podcast show, please do submit those to us and you can do that at pHspot.ca/podcast. And until next time, thank you so much for tuning into PH SPOTlight and for the invaluable work that you do for this world.


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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