Public Health Connected envisions a world in which public health professionals are empowered to live fulfilling, impactful lives.
Our mission is to offer opportunities for public health professionals to connect and grow as individuals, thereby strengthening our community to face the challenges of working in public health.
Examples of these challenges include:
- Lack of safe space to articulate feelings
- Negative perceptions of public health
- Lack of self care
- Isolation (virtually and in-person environments)
- Tensions between the personal and professional
- Politicalization of public health
- Transitioning from student to professional
- Lack of opportunities for camaraderie and fun
- Limited networking opportunities
It’s harder than ever to work in public health. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated health inequities and pushed our under-funded public health system to its limit. Many public health issues struggle to maintain attention. In some areas, there have been reversals of hard-earned improvements in health.
Public health is a misunderstood field, so we get little appreciation for our work; sometimes, we are even harassed. And we often have to “compete” with misinformation and people without public health training who think they are experts. Due to politics, certain health issues have become controversial.
All of these factors have made it extremely difficult for us to help people protect their own health and the health of their communities.
Many public health professionals are filling new and difficult roles while working longer hours with less staff. It’s not surprising that professionals are experiencing decreased morale and productivity, and increased stress and mental health issues. Many of us are feeling job burnout. High levels of turnover, especially in key public health positions, exacerbate these problems.
There are a number of professional organizations in public health that focus on providing professional development and opportunities to share scientific findings. However, there aren’t any organizations that focus on supporting professionals as we struggle to work in today’s challenging conditions. Public Health Connected seeks to fill this gap.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, our founder and executive director Dr. Kristi McClamroch was feeling a bit lost. She was working from home with a colleague to write an epidemiology textbook, but she wasn’t actively connected to the broader community of public health professionals. She was struggling to keep up with the emerging science on COVID-19 by herself. And, although she was feeling the rush of the public health call, other parts of her life prevented her from jumping into the field to help.
On March 17, 2021, the day after her county went into shelter-in-place, she launched a Facebook group called “Public Health Rock Stars”. Her objective was to provide a platform for public health professionals to:
- Connect with others to discuss emerging COVID-19 information;
- Provide support to each other amidst our growing fears and frustrations;
- Share our challenges and successes, both personal and professional, during the pandemic.
The group has grown to over 3,500 people working to improve public health in the United States and abroad.
In response to the unexpected and exciting success of the Facebook group, Kristi launched Public Health Connected, a new non-profit organization focused on strengthening the community of public health professionals.