Public Health Thank You Day is November 20.
The University of South Florida College of Public Health, in partnership with the American Public Health Association, Research!America and leading public health organizations, is celebrating public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect the health of all people and all communities.
Public Health Thank You Day is the Monday before Thanksgiving. In observance of the occasion, the COPH is highlighting individuals who share their time and knowledge with current students via mentorship, internship and other career development vehicles.
Here are a few ways COPH alumni and other public health professionals are preparing the next generation to protect and improve the health of others.
In the fall 2016 semester, the department of health policy and management (HPM) officially launched their Alumni Mentor Program.
The program matches current second year students with experienced HPM alumni to participate in a mentoring relationship and provide student mentees the opportunity to build their career network while learning from the experiences of more seasoned professionals.
“When I arrived to the department, I saw that we collected alumni data but we didn’t use it in a meaningful way. With so many opportunities for us to tap into our alumni network, for the benefit of our students, I proposed launching an Alumni Mentor Program which the department readily welcomed,” said Dr. Sara Spear, academic services administrator for HPM.
This fall there are 17 pairs of mentors and mentees, with several of the alumni being returning mentors.
Matching the students and alumni is based on a variety of criteria such as, career aspirations, years of experience, what they hope to get out of the program, personal hobbies/interests, and preferred modes of communications.
Students find the program useful, as evidenced by their feedback.
“My mentor has been great! She has always been there to talk with me, provide guidance, and help me network with other people affiliated with USF. I can’t say enough good things about her and how beneficial the program has been for me so far.” – Current student
“Some of the activities that we have done that may be helpful for others were reading over her cover letters and resumes for which I provided her feedback and edits. She also had a couple of Skype interviews scheduled so we did a mock interview to help her prepare.” – Alumnus
“We have monthly phone meetings that last around an hour. We discuss any professional progress made by me, potential opportunities for me to apply for based on my interests. He shares his own experiences and potential opportunities for me within his company. He also discusses which skills and subject material are imperative.” – Current student