174952 New Jersey Public Health Association Book PHair Essay Contest: What Inspired You to Join Public Health Profession?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Michelle Kennedy, MPH, CHES , UMDNJ- School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Parvin Ahmadkhanlou, PhD , Workforce Development Program, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Trenton, NJ
Mitchel Rosen, MS , Office of Public Health Practice, UMDNJ- School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
To increase awareness of diversity of public health professions and to gain a better understanding of what inspires students about the public health career path, the New Jersey Public Health Association (NJPHA) sponsored an essay contest addressing the theme “What inspired you to join the public health profession?” for students at the undergraduate and graduate level in New Jersey.

Six New Jersey-based colleges and universities with public health or health sciences departments were sent flyers and information regarding the essay contest. The respective department chairs were requested to distribute the information to their students. Submissions were judged by a panel of three NJPHA Executive Board members based on focus, creativity, and organization. All participants submitted essays electronically for review.

Nine submissions were received. Three winners were announced at the NJPHA Annual meeting in November 2007. Recipients were given $150, $75, and $50 toward books for the Spring, 2008 semester for First, Second, and Third Place, respectively. Each winner attended the meeting and presented their essays. All nine participants received NJPHA t-shirts and a formal letter of acknowledgment for participation.

The essays provided an innovative way for students in New Jersey to document the reasoning for their interest in public health and provided NJPHA with the opportunity to explore how students are inspired by public health as a career path. Future essay contests will seek to increase the number of participants to gain a better understanding of how and why students throughout New Jersey choose public health as a career.

Learning Objectives:
Describe New Jersey Public Health Associations’ NJPHA first annual Book PHair Essay Contest. Discuss how the NJPHA Essay contest can be used as a tool to increase awareness and exposure of diverse public health careers among New Jersey undergraduate and graduate students.

Keywords: Career Development, Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

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