The Impact of Public Health Professionals: Celebrating Success Stories

career development connections public health professional Feb 06, 2024

Many of the readers of the Public Health Hired blog will be familiar with the line that when public health works well, it is invisible. Illnesses averted, lives saved, emergencies that didn’t emerge, and so on – it’s when the system falls apart that we recognize the grand impact of public health professionals. Even as current or prospective public health professionals, we may be unaware of the accomplishments of our colleagues that contribute to the betterment of the health of our population.

To that end, this blog post is dedicated to sharing the success stories and positive changes brought by the efforts of public health professionals. In this post, we aim to shed light on the remarkable achievements of public health professionals and their positive impact on society. Join us as we share success stories and insights from dedicated individuals like Adam Johnson and myself.

Before joining the CDC as a contractor, Adam was an Associate Director for Programs at the TEPHINET Program under the Task Force for Global Health. As Associate Director, he collaborated with partners in-country for several public health initiatives. One example of this was focused on “mobilizing field epidemiology trainees and graduates from [their] programs to conduct Zika surveillance across Latin America and the Caribbean”. He says that some positive outcomes of this were increasing the capacity of trained public health professionals to assist local Ministries of Health in “conducting surveillance and the control of outbreaks”.

There are many challenges and opportunities for public health professionals to continue to make a positive impact on society. Future challenges for public health professionals that Adam foresees are “around addressing and preventing chronic disease and injury/violence especially as global migration continues to increase from rural to urban and those urban areas grow”. Additionally, another challenge he sees is in “how public health initiatives grapple with the effects of climate change”. He believes that “these challenges also create opportunities for public health professionals to refocus their efforts and interests in preparation to respond to [those] issues, with hopefully positive impacts across all societies”.

From my own personal experience of working in public health over the three years, I have been fortunate to be a part of, and to observe, the positive outcomes of several successful public health initiatives. As a case investigator during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was part of a team that worked tirelessly with the aim of slowing the spread and providing support to community members with COVID-19. Though eventually we reached a point where COVID was spreading far faster than we could keep up with, I know that many people were positively impacted through the phone calls we made providing emotional support, guidance through their isolation and quarantine periods, and connecting them with material support such as assistance with food and bills.

My example highlights the role public health professionals played during a global health emergency. Our work didn’t stop there though. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted to more of an endemic state, our work has continued in monitoring the spread of COVID and other respiratory illnesses, and in researching and providing education and resources on vaccinations and testing to the public.

The scope of our work has also not stopped with COVID. Through timely action, during the time that I have been in my role, we have also monitored and helped prevent transmission of Monkeypox and Ebola which has had a tangible impact in keeping our population healthy.

The hard work and vital roles of public health professionals is what keeps communities strong. Their abilities to adapt and tackle health challenges shows how important they are in building a healthier and safer future for everyone.

For more stories about the contributions the Public Health Hired community blog team makes to public health, please follow us on LinkedIn or Instagram for our weekly updates and job posts. To become part of the Public Health Hired community, visit the Public Health Hired website to join the Hired Masterclass.

Contributor: Elizabeth Weaver, MPH graduated from George Washington University School of Public Health in 2021 with her Master's Degree in Public Health and currently works for the Virginia Department of Health in Communicable Disease Investigation. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and studying Spanish." Connect with her on LinkedIn. 

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