This week in C2C, Dr. Veda Johnson gave a presentation on school-based health clinics. Her presentation was both fascinating and frustrating. The former because it is so inspiring to see the positive outcomes as a result of an effective strategy to bridge health and education; the latter because of the inability of our society to support such innovative strategies like school-based health clinics despite their positive impact not only on health outcomes of children, but on their educational attainment as well.
During Dr. Johnson’s presentation, she shared several quotes with us. One particular quote by Frederick Douglass really resonated with me – “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” When I read this quote, I immediately felt this sense of hope. Hope for the future; hope for our society, that we will strive toward building strong children; and hope for our generation, that we will see less broken men than generations past.
How, though, will I make an impact in public health so that I am helping to build strong children? It got me thinking about how the lessons I have learned in C2C will translate to my life and my career. How can I carry these unique reminders of what we need to do as public health practitioners to better serve our youth; to better connect health and education; to better foster a generation in which affordable health care and quality education truly are basic human rights?
Our last few minutes of class, we each wrote on a piece of paper how we will use our strengths to impact health and education in the future. One of my strengths is discipline, or the ability to infuse routine, structure, and order into all things I do. Accordingly, I wrote, “I will use my discipline to provide structure and focus to public health education programs.” But what does this actually mean? I hope that as my public health career unravels I find myself working within the intersections of health and education. I know that this is where my greatest passions will ignite and my work as a public health practitioner will be most effective.