Mentorship Book List

As of this post, our FPHTC Online Mentor Program has over 130 participants. There is about one mentor for every two mentees (1:2 ratio). As the number of program enrollments continue to increase over the summer, we thought this would be a great time to share a few mentoring resources:

  • Mentoring Health Science Professionals by Dr. Sana Loue, JD, PhD, MPH
    For mentors looking to gain tips on the mentoring process, this book provides insight into mentorship models, phases of the mentoring relationship, and ways to build successful mentoring relationships. Regardless of whether you are mentoring a faculty, student, junior employee, or cross-cultural professional, this book will have applicable suggestions.  It covers more than just your traditional mentoring basics.
  • Transforming Public Health Practice: Leadership and Management Essentials by Bernard J. Healey and Cheryll D. Lesneski
    This text provides the foundation needed for public health practice and management, focusing on developing the knowledge and skills required by the real world of public health. Administrators and supervisors looking to support their team through a mentorship program or mentors who are mentoring groups and future leadership will find this text incredibly valuable.
  • Public Health: Career Choices That Make a Difference by Bernard J. Turnock
    This is the first book about public health workers, both current and future, that details their roles and responsibilities. It is great for mentees who are looking for basic information about a career possibilities in public health.

As the summer approaches, add these to your reading list and take some time to explore your professional opportunities and enhance your mentoring experiences.

Have any book recommendations for our mentors and mentees? Let us know by emailing omp@health.usf.edu.

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Interview: Ron Davis

Community health education and health promotion are two of the top five areas of interest to our mentees in the FPHTC Online Mentor Program. Of course, there are many topics in which public health professionals play a significant role in educating the public about making safe and healthy lifestyle choices. Whether it’s energy conservation, preventing the spread of communicable diseases, or cessation of smoking and tobacco use, getting people to change is not always easy!

“While the education approach is important, it only works on a certain portion of the population,” says Rod Davis, Statewide Tobacco Policy Manager at the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida, Division of Community Health Promotion at the Florida Department of Health. Davis’ primary role is to establish the direction in which to pursue tobacco policy initiatives statewide. He provides training and technical assistance to local grantees to help them achieve policy success. “If you want to be successful in tobacco control and other realms of public health, it is essential to understand the local political process.”

Photo Credit: franciscopgomes

Photo Credit: franciscopgomes

Davis is a strong supporter of mentoring. “Mentorships can prepare future public health leaders for the realities of working in the public sphere,” he says. “One reality is that there can be a lot of frustration and a lack of appreciation for the efforts of public health. But another reality is that over time you get to see how your effort make a difference to society and how society comes to accept, appreciate, and benefit from the changes that you have made.”

Working in health promotion and community health education, especially tobacco prevention, requires tenacity and ambition. “Unlike many other arenas of public health, we face an opponent in the tobacco industry that is well-funded, well-connected, and highly adaptable,” says Davis.

When asked what skills are needed for success in this field, Davis stresses “a desire and an ability to learn.” Given that the field of tobacco control is constantly changing, public health professionals must have passion and persistence. They must be willing to study history and to develop the understanding of human behavior required to predict and combat the tobacco industry’s tactics for keeping people addicted.

Any mentee or future public health professional interested in entering the field of tobacco control should keep in mind the following:

  • Tobacco control is an interesting intersection of policy, politics, and public health.
  • Education is not the key focus of tobacco control, but a tool in its service.
  • A lot of work is done through webinars and conference calls with people throughout the state and nation.

A big thanks to Ron Davis for his insights. Click here to learn more about the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida.

If any OMP participant has questions or other suggestions, post them in the comments sections under this post (online) or email the program coordinator OMP@health.usf.edu.

Interview: Adam Yanckowitz

When it comes to emergency operations, specifically in meeting the public health and medical needs of a community during an emergency, Essential Support Function #8 (ESF-8) is vital. There are many public health and healthcare professionals whose expertise is called upon under ESF-8.

Photo Credit: US Aid

Photo Credit: US Aid

“I would say that ESF-8 is greater than a healthcare system,” says Adam Yanckowitz, Director of Office of Emergency Operations in FDOH Broward County Health Department. As the lead agency for ESF-8 at the state-level, the Florida Department of Health coordinates preparedness efforts statewide to assure the healthcare system is ready to respond when needed.

“It is more than just hurricane planning and response,” says Yanckowitz. The Office of Emergency Operations is the leader in public health response matters and works collaboratively with local, county, state, and federal agencies.

Less than 2% of all OMP participants list ’emergency response’ as one of their areas of interest. Yet, ESF-8 is comprised of public health professionals across a variety of fields, including (but not limited to) those in environmental health, epidemiology, ambulance deployment, hazardous materials responses, laboratory response network, fatality management, special needs shelters and so much more. “ESF-8 is the mechanism and coordination,” says Yanckowitz.

Having the skills and abilities that transfer across various departments and organizations can be essential to sustaining a long-term career in public health. For mentees in the program looking to work in or collaborate with emergency operations, Yanckowitz suggests having the following necessary skill sets:

Yanckowitz recognizes the challenges that come from growing leadership expertise within an organization, which is why he believes mentorship and leadership go “hand-in-hand.” “Under the direction of the mentor, the [mentee] is given immediate access to valuable insights and past experiences,” he says. “Individuals are learning by doing and are able to practice what they are learning.”

During a time in public health when organizations and county health departments struggle to keep staff and function within smaller budgets, mentorships can be helpful developing future leaders and sustaining the efforts of public health workers. “As staff retires and attrition occurs, the transfer of knowledge from mentor to mentee is critical,” says Yanckowitz. “In addition to managing and motivating people, it’s also important that mentors help others learn, grow and become more effective in their jobs.”

A big thanks to Adam Yanckowitz for his insights. Click here to learn more about the Office of Emergency Operations.

If any OMP participant has questions or other suggestions, post them in the comments sections under this post (online) or email the program coordinator OMP@health.usf.edu.

National Mentoring Month: Vanessa’s Mentorship

Vanessa Smart enrolled in our FPHTC Online Mentor Program last spring and continues to find her mentorship rewarding and resourceful. “My mentor is the best,” she enthusiastically told us last week. “She has an abundant amount of knowledge in the field of auditing.” In order to advance her career, Smart is the process of joining the Institute of Internal Auditors and preparing to take the required exams for her CIA certification.

It is common for many public health professionals to seek additional credentials through further education or certification programs. Often times, preparing and paying for these can be very time-intensive and costly. Fortunately, with the advice from her mentor and through her own research, Smart discovered several ways to make this process more manageable for her wallet.

Cutting CostRead on as Smart shares her top 3 money-saving tips:

Explore Online vs. University Programs
When it comes time to look for test-preparation courses, Smart suggests comparing online courses and university programs. “Do your research,” she says after she explored various credible programs. In her case, online programs like Gleim (www.gleim.com) allowed her the flexibility she needed to access test-prep materials at any time, from comfort of her home. With a full-time job, she felt this was a more “economical, more convenient yet effective method of preparing for the exam.”

However, for those who find more success with in-person, classroom instruction, many independent programs and university courses are also available.

Flexibility in Pay
“In light of our current economy, it was important to find a program that allowed me the flexibility in pay,” says Smart. As she quickly discovered, few test-prep sites offered payment plans. For those comprehensive certification exams that have multiple test sections, Smart suggests to seek out the companies that offer flexible options, such as pay-as-you-go. In her case, there are four parts to the CIA exam and she needed a test-prep program that allowed her to prepare and pay for each section, individually.

Time is Money
Even though cost-effective programs and payment plans exist, they don’t mean much if you don’t pass the test. “Get your money’s worth,” says Smart. “Ensure you have ample time commit to studying, practicing and reviewing the training materials. Once you pay for the product, in most cases, there are no refunds!” Each certification exam is different, so you many need to adjust study times, accordingly. Smart is devoting significant number of hours per week to ensure she passes all four sections of her exam.

We dedicate this post to Vanessa’s mentor: Rosa M. Suarez, CFE, CIA, CISA!