Friday, January 27, 2023

Season 2, Episode 1:

What is Public Health Joy?

In this episode, Dr. Joyee shares what public health joy means, why she started this podcast, and what to expect all season long.

Season 2, Episode 1: What is Public Health Joy?

by Dr. Joyee Washington


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, I’m sharing why I started this podcast and what you can expect all season long.

This is where research meets relationship and together, we will find our Public Health Joy!  


If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate and, leave a review! For more information on building a public health research career, visit


0:00      Introduction

4:00      What is public health joy

7:25       Where research meets relationship

10:55      What to expect this season 


0:00   I am pumped you are here! I hope you are just as excited as I am to go along on this podcast journey with me. Whether you’re meeting me for the first time or we’ve known each other for a while I’m glad you’re here. I’m Dr. Joyee Washington, but you can call me Dr. Joyee. Just so you know a little bit more about me I am Mississippi born, raised and made. If you never heard of Mississippi or maybe you don’t know where Mississippi is, it’s in the southern United States and I love it.

Having the experience of growing up in Mississippi has really shaped my public health experience and career. I’ve seen all the problems, I’ve seen all the challenges because they affected me personally. If you’ve ever seen any data on the health of Mississippians you’ve probably noticed or heard that we usually come first in everything negative and last in everything positive.

But I have to say this, no matter what the data says I love my community I love where I am from and 12 years ago I decided that I wanted to do my best to make a difference right here at home. So I chose public health research as my career path. Now I’ll share more details about my public health journey throughout this season.

As a researcher, I’ve learned that when it comes to public health, our communities are more than numbers, our community members are more than data, or journal articles. My community is my family, my friends, my neighbors, my church members, and everyone in between. My goal has always been to put my community first. However, I also know that other researchers have come into my community have taken their data and left. And where does that leave my community? Without the resources, and without the tools necessary to make positive impacts. And no matter what negative things people may have to say about my community, my community deserves not only to experience health and wellness, but to experience joy.

4:00   So you may be wondering what is this public health joy, what does that even mean? Well in order to really understand what that means we have to think about what does just the term joy even mean. And it might help to give you a little bit of context, so if you haven’t noticed by now my name is Joy and it’s spelled A little bit differently it’s spelled JOYEE. The history behind why I was given the name Joy is because before I was born my grandmother was very sick. And she was so sick that the family knew that she was going to pass very soon. So you could probably imagine that our family was going through a very tough time at that moment because my grandmother was the person who held the family together. However, although the family was in pain they were also in celebration because my mother was pregnant with me. And one thing that family members and my grandmother would always say to my mom with this baby is going to be such a joy. And three months before I was born my grandmother passed away. And my mother decided to name me joy. I’ve heard that story my whole life and even as I reflect on it on it now the lesson I learned from it is in the midst of our trauma, our turmoil, and our pain, we can still experience joy.

Let’s be honest, let’s be real. The history of public health research is far from joyful. We know that communities have been unfairly, unethically, and unjustly treated by researchers. From the Tuskegee Syphilis Study to Henrietta Lacks. Public health research is necessary, but it’s time for us to do it differently by working for communities and with communities. It’s time for us to shift the narrative, change the story and better understand how to do we learn from our trauma, pain, and hurt, to transform it into the joy that our communities deserve.

Joy is more than happiness. Joy is more than feeling good in the moment. Joy is healing. Joy is gratitude. Joy is resilience. Joy is powerful. Joy is inspirational. Joy is humanity. Joy is humility. Joy is peace. Joy is serving from our hearts.

7:25   When we think of public health, the last thing we probably think of is joy before listening to this podcast. But now I hope it’s the first thing you think about. In my experience, building a public health research career has been hard, but what keeps me going is finding the joy in the journey.

Perhaps the most valuable part of my public health research journey has been the relationships I’ve built along the way.

The relationship with myself has allowed me to grow in ways I never thought possible. Through the challenges of my journey, I’ve learned to trust myself and my abilities to become a stronger and more resilient researcher. As a PhD survivor, I spent 10 years in grad school developing my craft for research, teaching, and public health! Even struggling through my dissertation in the middle of a whole global pandemic! (that’s a story for another episode). During that same pandemic, I discovered I wanted to transform public health research into life-changing public health solutions that bring joy to the communities we serve so I decided to start my own consulting business. At Joyee Washington Consulting, our mission is to strengthen the public health workforce by supporting, training, equipping, and positioning public health researchers to make a positive impact in communities.

The relationship with my colleagues (who I lovingly refer to as my “research homies”), have taught me that I have a support system around me. We can call on each other, push each other, and know that we are never alone.

The relationship with my students have taught me that I can learn just as much from them as they learn from me. Their innovation, creativity, and drive to make a difference keep me hopeful that the state of public health research is in good hands.

But most importantly the relationship with my community has taught me to be a better servant leader as I approach research with empathy, compassion, and care to create sustainable solutions that make a positive impact, leading to healthier generations.

10:55   I’ve learned over the years that when research meets relationship, the possibilities are endless. I want to not only share these lessons and more, but also create a safe space where others can share their joy in the journey. That’s why I created The Public Health Joy Podcast: Where Research Meets Relationship.

Every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, I want you to join me as we share creative and innovative approaches to public health research and the relationships we build along the way that bring us joy! I’ll be sharing more of my story throughout this season and I’m going to invite some of my research homies to share their public health stories with us as well as what brings them joy on the journey! I designed this podcast to be a safe space to hear real and honest conversation about research from those doing the work. As host of the Public Health Joy podcast, I’m looking forward to spending more time with you, getting to know you, and bringing joy to public health together!

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! This is where research meets relationship and I’ll see you next time on the public health joy podcast.

Rate & Leave a Review!

Like the podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to rate and leave a review! We would love your feedback and thanks for listening to the Public Health Joy podcast!

Contact Us