Opportunities in State and Local Governmental Public Health w/ Alum Lisa VanRaemdonck



This past Friday, the PHAST team had one of its monthly meetings and at this particular meeting, I saw a familiar face from the NACCHO conference I attended in July this year, Lisa VanRaemdonck.
An alum of HBHE, she also received her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from UM and is now Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials and Public Health Alliance of Colorado and the Co-Director of the Colorado Public Health Practice-Based Research Network. Whew… Even typing that was a lot of work !

During her discussion of her background and experience with state and local level public health, she dropped some brilliant “nuggets” of advice and information on us. Here are a few of those nuggets:


Lisa VanRaemdonck, MPH/MSW ('07)

1. Networking — Yeah, this seems to be emphasized everywhere and it can be a struggle .. but Lisa talked about her transition in moving to Colorado, knowing very few people, and connecting with many more individuals due to her relationship with the Associate Director of the Office of Public Health Practice at UMSPH, Rebecca Head, PhD, DABT.

She also mentioned how she almost never goes into a meeting without one person from Michigan sitting at the table. As we network, we should seek out these people from the mitten – we will find a “strange loyalty” amongst Michiganders/Michiganians.

Lisa also stressed the importance of diving deep in conversations with the people you work with – you never know what their background is, given the multidisciplinary nature of the field of public health and you may be pleasantly surprised! Lisa, for example, went to Michigan State for undergrad (like me!) and has a background in marketing as well.

2. You will never stop learning. You may get to a point where you think you know everything, but that could change overnight. Lisa said that somewhere in her career process she learned how to learn and never stops growing in her knowledge of the dynamic field of public health.
3. In Governmental Public Health, you can have an impact on individual/family level, community level, and system level. Even though she’s an HBHEer and has a background in social work, Lisa discussed her passion for systems-level change and how it is possible through a career in governmental public health to have an impact on multiple levels. Very exciting!
Lisa also presented information about how each state has a different structure of their state and local governmental public health agencies and to pay attention to that in your job search if you’re interested in this area of work.
Thank you Lisa for sharing your story and valuable information with us!

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