Our next spotlight is Sonja, who has been involved with MPHTC since 2014, supporting the Kansas site as part of the new PHTC configuration with the 10 HRSA Region training centers. Like our other public healthers, each day is different! She teaches in WSU’s Department of Public Health Sciences; her courses include Communication, Quality Improvement in Health & Health Care, Health Administration and Policy (undergraduate and graduate levels) and a badge (half credit stackable credential) in Health Planning and Policy. So, her days are filled with course planning and grading of over 100 students each semester. In addition to multiple internal WSU committees, Sonja serves on a couple of local coalitions and statewide boards: the Kansas Public Health Association and Oral Health Kansas. She also serves on two public health systems-focused efforts in Kansas: the Kansas Public Health Systems Group and the Kansas Workforce Development Coordinating Council. Nationally, she volunteers as a site visitor with the Public Health Accreditation Board. If she wasn’t busy enough, she also does some consulting to provide training and technical assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments through the Public Health Foundation. We applaud all of her hard work!
What is the value of MPHTC? In her words, “the funding that comes through the MPHTC creates better coordinated understanding of workforce needs and innovative and creative ways to deliver content to students and practitioners”. This funding supports critical training opportunities and meets current needs in the system, which is really important for continuous improvement. She also appreciates the power of applied and practice-focused work. Sonja wishes that her colleagues could see the enthusiasm of the students MPHTC supports through field placements. She also wants all the practitioners in the region and elsewhere to check out the amazing podcast, Share Public Health, MPHTC has created. Shameless plug – here is the link to the podcast series!
Her biggest dream for public health would be to embrace the power of policy to shape the systems in which we work. Sonja goes on to say, “the system is challenging because most practitioners work for governmental organizations that have reasonable constraints about policy engagement, but this is the most powerful tool to make meaningful change in improving health. Be bold. Be bolder! Mobilize others to help do this important adaptive work.”
Wow, thank you for your inspiring words and all the work you do, Sonja!