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!

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National Mentoring Month: Jonathan’s Mentorship

Jonathan Meadows, MPH, CPH, CPhT also began in our FPHTC Online Mentor Program as a mentee during spring of 2012. “My mentor has been totally accommodating and flexible in making sure that we meet regularly as possible and foster a beneficial relationship,” says Meadows. He shares his professional dreams during his meetings and  values the ways his mentor helps him create action plans towards making those goals achievable.

Biz Discussion.jpgNetworking is also a great benefit to mentorships since they provide introductions with the right professional contacts. Mentoring is one way to elevate talent and link people with others who can collaborate with each other. “My mentor has been instrumental in building my network throughout the public health community,” says Meadows, who is already building lasting relationships in the field and enjoying the exchange of ideas and views they bring. “Mentorships are important in public health is because it provides an anchor to a more established professional as new professionals take root in the organization,” he says.

As a biological scientist in environmental health, epidemiology, and preparedness division of the Pinellas County Health Department in Florida, Meadows continues to develop his post-degree epidemiology experiences. Although his current contract is temporary, his desire to learn and grow is not. He continues to build his skills in the areas related to disease outbreak, infectious diseases, health planning, and evaluation of services. “[My mentor] has demonstrated resilience in the workplace that I am inspired to replicate in my own career,” Meadows says.

We dedicate this post to Jonathan’s mentor!

National Mentoring Month: 5 Ways to Say “Thank You”

Since January has been declared as “National Mentoring Month“, we encourage you to reflect on those who have encouraged and guided you, and made a positive impact on your lives.

In the field of public health, we especially cherish those who have helped our workforce develop and grow. So take the opportunity this month to specially thank or honor your public health mentor.

Teacher Blackboard“When I was at the University of Michigan, I was fortunate to have had two great, renowned mentors – Avedis Donabedian and John Griffith,” recalls Dave Rogoff, Director of the Center for Leadership in Public Health Practice. Under their encouragement and mentorship, Rogoff learn a lot about the public health field. “Both could be brutally frank, when necessary and both taught me to take a systems’ view toward problem solving.”

Here are a few ways you can say “thanks” this week to the mentors who influenced you:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation.
  2. Contact staff or administration who promote mentorship programs and express your gratitude for their support.
  3. Write or record a tribute to your mentor and post it to YouTube, blog or website, Twitter feed, or Facebook wall (like we did here.)
  4. Send your mentor a “Thank You” card or e-greeting.
  5. Pay-it-forward and become a public health mentor in FPHTC Online Mentor Program!

Rogoff notes the significance of his mentorship when he recalls a memory from one of his college lecture classes. “Dr. Donabedian presented a formula he was developing for his book, “Aspects of Medical Care Administration”.  As the student, I had pointed out that he had left out a component of the formula. Dr. Donabedian turned and looked at the formula on the board and said “you’re right” and later cited me in his book for pointing this out!”

Mentoring in public health continues to be in high demand. Your participation in mentorship can impact the mentor and mentee, as well as, the future of the public health field.

National Mentoring Month: Donna’s Mentorship

Donna Ingles is a current mentee in our FPHTC Online Mentor Program. She is paired with a seasoned public health professional, who has been integral in elevating her expectations in achieving a successful career in public health. Although she is mid-way through her program, she continues to see benefits from her mentorship.

“The mentorship program provides you with someone who actually has hands-on experience in the field and can tell you what to expect and how to succeed,” says Ingles. “The public health field is undoubtedly going to continue to grow in the coming decade, and having graduates who are well-prepared is critical to success.”

Girl on ComputerIngles started her mentorship during the spring of 2012 and has seen many changes (including a job promotion!) occur from the time spent discussing her goals with her mentor. “My mentor has been exceptionally helpful in identifying ways in which I can enhance my resume and [work] experience,” she says.

One of the things her mentor suggested was enrolling in appropriate (and free) online classes and training programs to increase her core competencies (such as, those offered by CLPHP). Her mentor also offered advice on how to advance her career into her current position. “She also provided me with a realistic perspective of working for the Department of Health and as a public health professional in general.”

Although Ingles now works as research laboratory coordinator at the MOFFITT Cancer Center in Tampa, FL (and loves her current position), it does not stop her from continuing to work on goals that will make a greater impact in the field of public health. “I would really like to be able to play a leadership role in a governmental organization (or possibly an NGO) where I could bridge the existing divide between science, policy, governments, and funding to address health concerns in the U.S. and around the world,” she says.

We dedicate this post to Donna’s mentor!