Friday, March 17, 2023
Season 2, Episode 5:
Public Health-The Next Generation Pt 1
In this episode, we’re talking with Dr. Ashley White Jones and Dr. Antonio Gardner about what it means to be young, gifted, and Black public health researchers changing the game for the next generation.
Season 2, Episode 5: Public Health-The Next Generation
Welcome to the Public Health Joy podcast, the safe space for real and honest conversation about what building a public health research career is really like: the challenges, the triumphs, and all the lessons we learn along the way.
I’m your host, Dr. Joyee, a Public health researcher, PhD survivor, and entrepreneur. In today’s episode, we’re talking with Dr. Ashley White Jones and Dr. Antonio Gardner about what it means to be young, gifted, and Black public health researchers changing the game for the next generation.
This is where research meets relationship and together, we will find our Public Health Joy!
Dr. Antonio Gardner is an Associate Professor of Health Promotion at Mississippi State University. His research interests are in health equity with a focus on rural and/or African American populations. His current research examines the risky sexual behaviors and readiness of rural African American men to participate in barbershop-based HIV prevention programs, and COVID-19 disclosure decisions among rural African Americans. Previous research examined the black church’s response to the Jackson Water Crisis.
To learn more about the National Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) visit: https://www.sophe.org
To learn more about Delta SOPHE visit: https://www.deltasophe.org
If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate and, leave a review! For more information on transforming public health research into positive community impact, visit https://joyeewashington.com
13:00 The Next Generation
19:00 Jackson Water Crisis and the Black Church
26:00 Public Health and Politics
30:00 Building Trust in Communities
35:00 Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)
1:00 Joyee Washington
All right. Welcome to a another great episode of the public health Joy podcast today we have two guests. And I forgot to ask you, Antonio, are you from Mississippi?
I’m from Alabama, originally
You’re from Alabama. Okay, okay.
We’re cousins [laugh]
So, but very close, but and Ashley, you are from from Mississippi, right? Correct. Okay, so we have the amazing Dr. Ashley Jones, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Mississippi. And I’m also gonna say the amazing Antonio Gardner, who’s the Associate Professor of Health Promotion at Mississippi State University. So we actually know each other because we all serve as executive committee members for our delta chapter of the Society for Public Health Education [SOPHE]. And for those who may not know, well, we’ll get into the national SOPHE chapters and our national SOPHE and the regional chapters of Sophie. So we’ll explain some more information about that. But that is how we came across each other and got to know each other. And so we’ll just give some time for our guests to introduce themselves and tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do. And, you know, what’s your role in public health research, so anybody can go, whoever wants to go first.
Right, I guess I’ll kick things off. So I’m Antonio gardener, like I said, Joyee said Associate Professor of Health Promotion at Mississippi State University. I’m from Autaugaville, Alabama, it’s a very small town in the Montgomery Selma area. Autaugaville spelled A-U-T-A-U-G-A-V-I-L-L-E alphabetically, the first city, in the first county, in the first state, Alabama. Buy your Eleven86 water, black owned, if you can. And so my background I was a single parent household, predominantly African American town is what Autaugaville is, is the only predominantly predominantly African American town and that particular county and very close knit community went from an elementary school to a high school to just a complete K through 12 school system. And so I got to go to school with all of my cousins and all of their cousins, and everybody’s related in that town in some way somehow, but really enjoyed my experience in the small black community of Alabama. undergrad, I went to Alabama a&m University majoring in Biology. Um, at that time I was on a pre med track, I just knew I was going to be this physician either in a rural area or as an anesthesiologist, and I wasn’t sure which one I was going to do. But I already had my slogan together, for if I went to a rural area, which was basically going to be “come to me with something different or be dead the next time I see you”, which means I should have thoroughly educated you in your visit with me, when I was doing my shadowing and high school and college as well. I was seeing the same people because you have like a set schedule. When you’re doing your shadowing hours, you went Tuesday at eight o’clock, or you go on Thursday at 10 o’clock, and I will see the same people at the same time. Look, something’s wrong here. But I keep seeing Ms. Mary at this visit every single week. Something’s not happening in this space that should be happening. And what I identified later on was the health education piece was kind of lacking. But I didn’t even have the language, the words even know what health education was specifically. And it really wasn’t until after my, at the end of my master’s degree, I was taking a course in health policy and planning at the University of Alabama with Dr. Leah Yerby that I kind of figured out what health ed was, really was exposed to it and what it entailed. So I was like, this lady is always coming to class she smiles, she’s full of energy. She’s she’s connected to the MDs, the DOs she’s worked, she works at the med school. She knows everyone in the state, like from the governor all the way down to the Medicaid office. She knew everyone I was like, what does she do because I think this might be my backup plan. Because even in my master’s degree, I was still on the pre med track up until the very end, but I took two years off, took some time for myself worked as a health professions advisor at Auburn University at Montgomery and I had a really bad supervisor. Don’t know if I can say that on the podcast but every time
Yes, but it’s something that what rubbed me the wrong way I would make you know efforts toward getting back into grad school. So one day she said something I was like, okay about the GRE book and I know that she said something like I actually opened the GRE books and next time it was okay, let me I actually register for the GRE. And then it turned into applying for the program. And then I got accepted, which I did not plan to get accepted into my doctoral program when I did, but things align when they were supposed to. And so went back to the University of Alabama for my PhD in health education and health promotion. And there I kind of realized, I really do have a passion for communities that look like my own. So that’s why I was telling you about Autaugaville that was predominantly African Americans predominantly rural. I start with the population first, a lot of people start with the topic. But I’m all about rural communities and black communities, they intersect perfect if they’re separate, that’s fine, too. But my research is always going to be aligned around predominantly rural and or African American population. So I’ve done research on HIV, COVID-19. I think we’ll talk a little bit about the Jackson water crisis and what we did there. And I want to just kind of put it out there this where I’ve met University of Alabama in my doc program is where I met Dr. Jones. Yes. And we’ve been connected at the hip ever since. So with so with that, I’ll turn it over to her because I don’t want my introduction to be too long. Yes. [laugh]
I already knew you’re gonna do the Autaugaville thing. And it’s my favorite thing about insomnia. Anyway, among other things, but thank you, Joyee, for having us on the podcast today. My name is Ashley Jones, or Ashley White Jones. Some of you may know me in the former life before I got married, but I’m actually from Lambert, Mississippi, which is in the delta. So between Clarksdale Batesville. So if you ever run through Tallahatchie county or come through Quitman County, you probably blinked and came around through Lambert but very small community, I actually went to my undergraduate degrees in chemistry from Jackson State University, which is also we’re going to be in Celebration Bowl on tomorrow. So shout out to Jackson State for making it this far, unbeaten, unbothered. So I also got my Master’s in Public Health from Jackson State University as well. And that basically was pretty similar to Antonio had this idea that I was going to be MD, my aunt is OB GYN she went to Jackson State. So I was thinking I’m just gonna follow her lead, do everything step by step, she’s already laid the plan out, all I got to do is just, you know, do what she says, and go and do it. And my senior year, came around, I hadn’t done anything, I hadn’t applied to medical school, hadn’t looked at the MCAT, hadn’t taken MCAT, nothing. And so I had to figure out what the next step was going to be. But I wasn’t ready to go home yet. And so I decided to apply to the MPH program, I knew absolutely nothing about public health. I didn’t even know we had a public health program. One of my mentors suggested I apply for it because one of her friends had just finished from Johns Hopkins, I’m like Johns Hopkins, I don’t know about that one. But I’ll see what you know, where it takes me. And I was actually pleasantly surprised that the classes that we were taking were basically those lived experiences that we have, particularly as African Americans who grow up in black communities or in rural areas, like the things that we’re talking about in textbooks. Those are like our everyday experiences. And so that that’s what made me kind of stick to it. And then after that I spent about two years, just doing a lot of policy work, doing some work with Mississippi health advocacy program. I did some work around the Affordable Care Act [ACA] when it first rolled out just teaching residents across the state about what was coming. So that they will understand what ACA meant and how that would change their benefits helping people get enrolled into the marketplace. I also did a little bit of work with public health consulting firms. And so I’ve worked with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation [RWJF]. I’ve done some work on My Brother’s Keeper when President Obama put that initiative out, through through all the different philanthropies with Kellogg and RWJF and Ford Foundations like all of them kind of had their hands on with that. But that was not enough for me, I guess. And so I decided I had a very smart idea to go back to school and get a PhD. Very smart. And the craziest thing that I did was I decided that I wanted to start a wedding planning business, the first semester of my doc program, which was even more smart, like just the best thing that you could possibly do when you just started a doc program. So I did that and went to University of Alabama. Antonio was in a cohort before me and so we connected, have a really good friendship. That was what 2014 When I actually went to Alabama, so we’ve been, you know, friends and stuff since we’ve been working together on a lot of different research projects, we’ve worked at the same university for a short period of time. So that made everything even easier to do. Our so now we are still in a state, rival universities, I guess you would say? Where’s the Egg Bowl this year? Well, this is not it’s not with us, but it’s fine.
Anyway, brought it home this time,
yeah, yall have it, but we’ll see, hopefully next year, they’ll get themselves together. But, um, well, we’ve had just a really good working relationship. And we’ve done pretty much, anytime there’s something that I want to do, I’m like, Hey, you want to do this too? Not like he really wants to do it. But he’ll usually say yes. And, jump on it whether it’s a manuscript or research idea, or something like that, we usually just kind of work together. So that’s good to have been able to build, you know, friendship, and professional relationships, you know, from graduate school, because sometimes you get to a point where you think you’ve met, like, all the friends you’re ever going to have in life, and they you have these, you know, once in a lifetime opportunities to go move across the state and meet some new people. So it’s been a good relationship and I’ll see you tomorrow at the Christmas party [laugh].
Yes, I’ll be there with bells and whistles on. So [laugh],
yeah. And I think I think it’s super important the thing that you mentioned, about having that support and building those relationships. Because for anybody who does a PhD or a doctoral program, like,
every day, you’re like, Why did I do this? Why? Like, who told me this was a good idea? So you need those people in your life who are, who have been through it, and who are going through it with you, and who can who can give you those encouraging words and be like, Look, we’re gonna go and fight together. You are not in this alone
and crying together.
…and cry together. There have been many a days where I’ve been in a fetal position.
…and starve together…[laugh]
…and starve together, find a way to pay bills together, all of the above. And Antonio I wanted to go back something, I’m still waiting to hear somebody say, Oh, I spent all my life wanting to be in public health. I’m still waiting to hear that
I’m still waiting as well.
13:00 Ashley Jones
To be honest, I think this next generation will be their generation that honestly says this is from the very beginning that this is what I wanted to do. And I think, because I’m teaching them, so you did ask us to say what we do, well at work, I do teach, so I teach undergraduate, public health students, Public Health and Health Science students. And I also teach undergraduate masters of public health program. And so I think, this year is my first year, first class that has been pretty much the classroom of about 38. And pretty much 90% of them are public health majors. And that’s amazing to me, because we didn’t have that opportunity. As undergraduates, like we knew we didn’t know anything about public health, we just kind of fall into it. And that’s been the story that a lot of people have shared, is that they just kind of fall into it. Or maybe they get a job doing this type of work. And then they realized that there was actually a degree and had we known that this was available to us. I really believe I probably would have picked this from the beginning. And not have tried to do like the pre med biology track, having a better understanding of like how to actually go through these programs and what the prerequisites and things like that are. But I do think that this generation will be the first ones that are kind of like, they experienced it because they they’ve lived through COVID. A lot of them were in high school. And so now they have this unique interest and genuine interest in like all the things about public health and so well, it’ll be fun to kind of see them grow into their own as actual professionals and see what they decide to do. Yeah.
And I agree with Ashley that the exposure piece is definitely there, way better than it was when we were in undergrad a lot of years ago. Or maybe a few have been where you want to want to look at it. But definitely, you know, you’re seeing the commercials like the Biktarvy commercials that gets your mind thinking about HIV prevention, for example. They’ve gone through COVID-19 They’re still going through it, they’ve seen information about monkey pox, and they know what public health is that they’re seeing the public health officials You know, during the headline news, that’s something we didn’t necessarily see coming up. Um, it was always the MD, MD, MD DO, random PhD that had nothing to do with public health [laugh]. It was like a biostatistician, which you know, they’re relevant. But they didn’t explicitly say, Hey, I’m in public health, this is what I do. This is what it entails, this is how I go about solving these life issues, these world problems. So it’d be interesting to see how its transformed in the next 20 or less years, and Ashley gets to see them at the undergraduate level. And I’m more so at the master’s degree level. And I still get students who, I didn’t know what health promotion was. And now I’m in this master’s degree in health promotion, and I’m still trying to figure my way out. And even you know, there’s some first semester students there at the end of a semester, now we’re in December, and they’re still trying to decide if this is the perfect fit for them. And so getting the information of one of these individuals sooner than later creating these pipeline programs, where we reach all the way back to high school and expose, and even middle school and expose these individuals to public health, that’s the what we have to do to ensure that we have a solid workforce down the road, because we won’t be here forever, we have to, I hate to say it, we have to find our replacements, and train our replacements very well. And I think that’s that’s what brings me joy on my job every day is Antonio can only do so much. But if I train 10 students or 20 students to deal with Antonio knows how to do and do it very well, then I’ve expanded my reach way more than I would have just being the one lone individual doing this work. So the Workforce Development pieces is very key. And that’s what brings me joy. Every day, I’m like, Oh, I could be out in the field, but I’m out here teaching three classes a semester, and doing this research over here and doing the service projects over here. And that’s keeping me busy, great. But my students are doing way more, they’re at the CDC, they’re working at various state departments of health at these colleges, and high schools doing the work, they’re with their nonprofit organizations doing that work that, like I said, Antonio himself, or Ashley herself, or Joyee herself cannot do with the 24 hours that were given every day.
19:00 Joyee Washington
Yeah. And there are so many more opportunities for this generation than it was for us, as we kind of mentioned earlier. And we have a whole generation of people who don’t even know what life was like pre-COVID. Like, I mean, when you really think about it, I mean, we’re all from the south. So I even go back to Hurricane Katrina. Like you got a whole bunch of people I know I was in high school when Hurricane Katrina hit. And just living through that, and seeing what it was like and remembering what it was like pre Hurricane Katrina, and how things have changed. And now we got a whole generation coming up. All they know is masking. You know, all they know is COVID vaccines and things like that. And so it’ll be interesting to see how that generation comes up, and how they perceive things as well. And in speaking about research, I’m from Jackson [Mississippi]. And you all have done research on the Jackson water crisis is is a similar thing of I don’t know, a world in Jackson, where there wasn’t a water crisis. And for a lot of people when this when this latest water crisis happened, and it went national, right? People are like, “Oh, my goodness, what has happened? What is going on?” And I’m like, this been happening. they’ll be been had another day. Where y’all being like, we this is this has been happening. And so tell us a little bit about the Jackson water crisis. And you all’s research especially for those who, who it may be the water crisis. By the time listeners are listening to this podcast, the water crisis might be a little bit more removed. So just explain a little bit. Yeah, possibly because we got a freeze coming up, right. And I’m like, I hope the water stays on.
And that’s what triggered the 2021 crisis. That’s kind of where we jumped in. And Ashley and I, we talk almost every night, almost every night and especially during the pandemic. We were every night just kind of going, when we were on lockdown specifically. We were just talking every night about okay, what can we do? How can we expand our portfolios? What’s the best research angle? What’s our approach and every night it was this and I have an old laptop that I’m still trying to get back into but we have a list of ideas just kind of going and we both agree that we want to do something with predominantly black populations. And Jackson water crisis just kind of hit. I wouldn’t say at the perfect time. But we definitely, were interested in that type of research in specific, more specifically what the black church was doing. Surrounding the water crisis. A lot of times the position statements are on, what is the Mississippi State Department Health do or what the CDC do? What is the what are the policy implications? And we want to get more local? And what are the individuals, the boots on the ground individuals doing on a daily basis? And so we reached out to, Ashley has the network for sure. Like I say, I’m not from Mississippi. So the water crisis like that was kind of new to me, I was less familiar. And so it was with the National, I was like Ashley what’s going on in Jackson she’s like, “that’s just normal I that was just the everyday situation like we’re used to it. But the media is finally picking up on it”. So well, we need to do something about it, learn more about it. And I really was genuinely curious. And so years ago, at Alabama, I worked with the Center for Community based partnerships. And we did I mean, we had a university faith based partnership. And so that’s always been my angle. I was a church boy, I’m still a church boy, I can still beat you on a lot of the Bible study related quizzes if there Oh, because I was there from seemed like sunup to sundown with everything, but at my roots is the church. And so when I’m doing research, a lot of times I think church first, with specifically black communities, black communities, the black church is the center of the black community. And that’s how information is disseminated. So in our discussions, I just kind of talked with Ashley and said we need to start with the church first and see what’s going on, and how they’re actually addressing the issues, I know, there’s going to be you know, water distribution efforts, there’s gonna be other things going on, you have to remember too this crisis was going on basically at the peak, at the height of a COVID 19 pandemic. So you’re dealing with a crisis within a crisis or a crisis within a pandemic. And so we really wanted to kind of investigate with the pastors specifically to see what they were doing, we didn’t necessarily want to get with all community members, but yet, specifically, the leadership. And so we were able to get with six black pastors from the Jackson area to discuss what they were doing. Regarding the crisis, of course, we learn through face to face interviews through zoom, not in person face to face interviews, that there was a historical context for the access to water a for example, I didn’t know about the history. And so to hear that, specifically in these interviews, from the past was like, Oh, this is like been going on for a while. And the media is just now jumping on board. And now we’re getting the attention. Where was this exposure, these needs before the crisis or this issue got this bad? And so where was this attention to 20 years ago, 30 years ago. So it was fascinating to hear those stories from the pastors also, we looked at organizations. So how were the churches structure, some larger churches have more resources available to them than some of the smaller churches and some smaller churches collaborated with the larger churches, some smaller churches felt isolated. Some of the larger churches had resources from outside of the state, sending trucks down for his truckloads of water down, for example, the pandemic definitely taught the churches how to communicate better. And so when it came down to the water crisis, they were already pretty much in go mode, because prior to the water crisis, it was the focus on vaccine distribution or testing at the churches, for example. And they were learning if they didn’t know how to use these things, how to use Facebook, to communicate with the churches, because then your pastors were doing their Bible study sessions, now online, or they were communicating about when the next service will be and how you would social distance if they were able to meet in person, the remind app, Twitter, like all the things that we took, you know, take for granted. As Millennials outside of the church, when you’re in the church it’s a whole different structure in order to how things are done. So it was fascinating to hear that piece as well, how they built and maintained capacity. So we learned from the pandemic. Now we’ve learned from the water crisis, okay, how do we maintain this infrastructure, build upon this infrastructure, so we’ll know what to do. The next time there is this crisis specifically or similar crisis? And then this kind of aacknowledging that again for what I said earlier that the black church is the center of the black community. For sure. So those were kind of the five major things regarding that research. I’m not sure if I told it well, because I feel like Ashley is the storyteller of the two of us. And I’m just kinda like the robot sometimes.
you’re learning. We’ve been together so long. Like, you know
…share one brain.
26:00 Joyee Washington
I think one of the things that was super interesting, though, about the Jackson water crisis, and the way that the media attention that it got was that a lot of it became focused around the relationship between the governor and the mayor, right, the governor of Mississippi and the mayor of Jackson. And when you start kind of breaking it down and looking at the politics, you know, a lot of times people try to separate public health and politics, right, but you can’t talk about public health without the politics. And the thing about it is, when the government or the leadership can’t quite get it together, that’s where the community has to step up and do for self, right.
And so it’s just interesting, too, that, particularly in black communities, we always do this. And so this was, like you say, like, in the media, it was like, Oh, my God, what’s happening, but to everyday citizens, just like, All right, well, we what do we have to do now? You know, so that we can continue to get by, which is why we kind of started to focus on the churches in that way. Because while the governor and the mayor are trying to publicly, you know, put together their plan, people were still in need, and they needed immediate attention and water and resources. And churches had already figured out how to do it. And it’s probably because they have been doing this for so long. And as Antonio mentioned, with, with the technology that they learned from COVID, and having to be shut down, it really created this amazing network and force of people who could just strategize at like, in 15 minutes, you know, calling each other and texting each other and saying, Hey, let’s get this together. And we’re still waiting on a response from our government officials. And then even through the whole pandemic, I think, we have seen how we cannot separate politics, from public health, and just how much politics, public health is political. Because with the vaccination, like how we painted that as like a pro vaccination, anti-vax situation, and there should not be when we’re talking about the health of people. And then we think about, you know, what did the Trump administration do versus what the Biden administration has done, we see a Republican versus Democratic and we’re thinking about the health of people, politics should not be interfering at any level, other than getting things done. But now that we’ve seen it, and particularly those of us who live in Mississippi, grew up in Mississippi, and even Alabama, we’ve always been pretty much under Republican state government. And so every time that there is an issue, more specifically with Jackson, because it’s kind of like, you have a Republican state, state legislature, but then you have this very black democratic city, and it’s the capital city. So how in the heck are you supposed to work together with two different ideologies. And we saw that with this particular water crisis in their people. And probably more recently with the last one this year and 2022, where we started to see more of what was happening between the mayor and the governor and them trying to like work together. When the winter snowstorm came, we didn’t really see a lot of that, behind the scenes, I think because this one have been ongoing from it was March like March, then a couple of months in the summer happening then that summer, the flooding and all that followed up, kicked everything into overdrive with not having enough water and it’s just been one of those research things that we thought was just gonna be a one time thing. It’s really pretty much about to turn into our life’s work. Like I’m ready to go sit on the couch with Oprah and tell you know, tell my story and write my book.
Shout out to Oprah, you hear us talking out here…
I’m putting it in the atmosphere…[laugh]
30:00 Joyee Washington
Yeah. And I think one of the other important things about this situation and with any situation when you’re working with communities, and especially with the black church and black communities, is the trust. That’s there. And I think with the Jackson water crisis and seeing government and leadership, the trust is not quite there, but the trust in our communities and within our people trust they’re church now. But those who might not be from the south, and might not know, the church is where it’s at. We just don’t just don’t put it out there church is where it’s at for us. So just understanding how that trust has been built, and those relationships have been built, will take you so much further. And especially when you are doing research as well. Having that trust and engagement with the community will take you so much further, in trying to get things done and working with them and working for them and being transparent with them. And being honest with them, because too many communities have experienced people coming in and taking what they want, and then leaving, you know,
right, so that was one of the things that we even in our research, like, after we had no we did interviews and talk to pastors we sent, we sent the whole paper back. So they’re like, this is what we put together. Because we wanted to make sure that there was some type of ownership. And like in qualitative, we call it like member checking and those types of things. So we shared it back with them to make sure that we have represented them well. When the paper got published, we sent the published version of it to them as well. And so we’ve always tried to keep them, you know, connected to us, we’re on a second phase of this now, like working on a manual to put it together for the churches as like a guide for what to do, you know, when the next water crisis, or next water emergency happens. And so we’ve taken all the lessons learned from those particular interviews and put this piece together. And we’re gonna share that back with them and say, hey, you know, is this in line with what you all have been doing? And so I think you make a great point about just the trust. And I think those of us who do research where people who have all often been left out, this is really important for us. And I think this is what Antonio was talking about, the things that bring him joy, I was like, I like my students, but [laugh] I realistically, like being able to help communities that look like mine, is what gets me up, is what keeps me in this place. And just thinking about, you know, what more work can I do? That’s gonna help you know black and brown communities, and I do a lot of other stuff outside of like, my actual job. But I think that’s the, the driving force is, you know, when people are like, yes, this, this makes a difference in the quality of life. And I can see this difference like now.
Yeah, and that kind of gets into the trying to build a sustainable solution so that we can drive change, and we can drive positive impact. And, you know, even if we don’t see it in our lifetime, we know that, that we’ve done the work. And we as Antonio mentioned, you know, training up these next generations to carry it on, because we not gonna be here forever, but we can definitely leave it better than we found it right, leave the place better than we found it. So we are going to go ahead and start wrapping up. And I don’t have to ask you my signature last question, because I already answered it about what brings joy to you and your work. But I do want to give Antonio an opportunity to talk a little bit about SOPHE, about the society for public health education, about the national level and chapter levels. And then you all can kind of tell about, you know, where people can find you if they want to learn more? If they want to reach out how can they how can they get in touch?
35:00 Antonio Gardner
Yes, absolutely. So I’m Antonio Gardner, also the trustee for membership and leadership for Society for Public Health Education. And so that is our premier organization for those who are interested in public health, education, community health, health, education, health promotion, you name it, if you’re in the vein of serving communities, and you deal a lot with needs assessments, planning, implementing evaluating health promotion programs. This is probably the organization for you. We have a conference coming up in Atlanta. Abstracts just recently closed but I love to see as many people as possible. Come to that conference. If you’re not a member, this is a great time to get the membership application started and then get the membership rate for the conference. We have a cool program outline for us. At the national level there are opportunities to be in communities of practice, you can be a part of various volunteer efforts within the organization. For example, the health equity and anti racism Task Force, as well as the Step Up pipeline program, which is one of our programs to diversify the field within public health education, specifically regarding Hispanic serving institutions, and those from Hispanic backgrounds. We also have the lead Fellowship Program, which is leaders, and Equity and Diversity Program, which later this year, or the end of 2022. So 2023, the first quarter, you should be seeing a call for applications for that program. But this is another opportunity to diversify the leadership within SOPHE. So you go through a fellowship experience, you’ll learn a little bit about yourself, what is required of a leader, desirable traits, what you can do to make a contribution to leadership. And ultimately, we will like to see you in leadership in some capacity within SOPHE, as well as the field in general. So it’s not just exclusive to the organization, but it’s really about giving you the skills that you need to be an effective leader across the board. At the local level, if the national level is not too much for you, there are several local opportunities to join a SOPHE chapter. And you just kind of have to research by your region. So some of our chapters are specific by state, for example, there’s a North Carolina SOPHE, because there’s so many people in North Carolina and then our chapter, for example, is Delta SOPHE, so it’s Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, the rates are typically cheaper, you get to connect with people more so on a local level, and collaborate on continuing education efforts, as well as little get togethers locally conferences, presentations, etc. Whatever your chapter needs at the time, but these are great opportunities to develop your professional portfolio, looking for leadership opportunities, they’re definitely there at the local level and also at the national level. Down the road, we do encourage you to run for national office at some point. And we just really want you to be immersed in the in the field. There’s a lot of things that I teach about in class, for example, that are not even in the textbooks yet because I’m learning from other professionals. I’m doing podcasts I’m doing leadership exercises, I’m in these presentations and these panel discussions learning like hot off the presses if the if they’re even on the presses yet what’s going on in the field. And so you do want to take advantage of those opportunities to network with other professionals. Like minded, sometimes not like minded, but it’s all to grow you as a professional and to to make you an effective leader member in society. Yeah, I don’t know if I did that right but [laugh]
Outro: I’m so grateful for this time we got to spend together. If you enjoyed this episode, I need you to subscribe, rate and, leave a review. For more information on building a public health research career, visit www.joyeewashington.com! This is where research meets relationship and I’ll see you next time on the public health joy podcast.
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