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Why I Became a HPHR Fellow and
Why Should You ​

HPHR Fellow Jackie Leung

By Jackie Leung

The HPHR Fellowship Opportunity

Screenshot depicting partial description of HPHR Fellow position (April 2021)
Screenshot depicting partial description of HPHR Fellow position (April 2021)

In early April, the Harvard Public Health Review (HPHR) published a four month fellowship opportunity to publish vlogs/blogs content related to cutting edge and innovative public health topics. The fellowship was open to the public for anyone pursuing or had a degree in public health, willing to produce written or video content, and interested in building a social media presence. 

 

The HPHR Fellowship was a multiple step process: First, the submission of an application on a Google form. The Google form asked questions including why I was interested in applying, my bio (written in third person), what I would like to write about, and more questions about who I am as a person. I received an application confirmation shortly thereafter. Within two days, I received notification that I had made it as a semi-finalist! The next stage consisted of creating a video interview, where I recorded myself answering questions provided by the HPHR selection committee. Three days later, I received notification that I was accepted into the program!

Screenshot of HPHR Semi-Finalist Letter
Screenshot of HPHR Semi-Finalist Letter

Then it was a dizzy, fast, whirlwind process of completing paperwork (on-boarding), and attending required trainings for the month of May. The required trainings included how to prepare blogs/vlogs, the platform, and building a community with other HPHR Fellows. 

My Why

After learning about the position, I knew I had to apply. While I had created professional and personal vlogs/blogs before, the opportunity to write/create videos on public health topics as a HPHR Fellow struck me as a way to truly explore my passions and interests in public health. To me, this was more ‘creating monthly content.’ This was a way for me to be creative with public health – exploring mainstream and local issues, and infusing my personal experiences into my content.

 

As I wrote in part of my application on why I wanted to be a HPHR Fellow: “The opportunity to engage in critical public health issues to influence change and encourage public discourse on is second to none. Engaging with bloggers/vloggers interested in public health, advocacy, and policy permits me the opportunity to engage with leaders within their respective fields. To meet my goal of bringing forth policy with actionable items, it is important to develop measures to bridge the gap between policy and implementation.”

 

One of my earlier blogs described my experiences of running , winning, and serving as an elected official (Blog #2: Jackie Leung discusses “Representation in Office: Why It Matters in Public Health”). Representation in leadership matters especially for public health because depending on the position, elected leaders make important decisions about public health whether directly or indirectly. As an elected official on city council, I make policy decisions that affect the lives of the community. Whether it is raising fees to generate revenue, deciding on an ordinance that is harmful to the unsheltered/houseless community, to land use decisions that would result in the loss of significant trees and change to neighborhood setting, these issues are public health issues.

City Councilor and HPHR Fellow Jackie Leung Attending a Neighborhood Association Meeting while Following COVID-19 Public Health and Safety Guidelines
City Councilor and HPHR Fellow Jackie Leung Attending a Neighborhood Association Meeting while Following COVID-19 Public Health and Safety Guidelines

HPHR Fellows: Highlighting the Field of Public Health

Imagine this: you serving alongside 15-18 others as HPHR Fellows for four months: producing written or video content at least twice a month on any public health topic of your choice. From writing about the impact of the built environment on public health (Penny Sun discusses “public health and the built environment”), the importance of voting and how voter suppression is a public health concern (Priya Vedula discusses why “Voting is a Public Health Issue”), to the education system as a prison (Rebecca Elliott discusses “The Black and White of American Education”), these are samples of the written materials from HPHR Fellows I have been fortunate enough to work with.

 

Now imagine the ability to prepare your own written content: what public health subject fascinates you? Where can you see yourself expanding upon public health topics of interest in ways that encourage dialogue and conversation? Where will your creativity take you? Where will your journey guide you?

 

Public Health is and will always be an important aspect of my life. It also is important to yours. Public health works when there are ‘no problems’. From clean water to access to healthcare to affordable food, public health continues to be a growing field. What are you going to do to meet the challenge? The possibilities are endless. Start by applying. Be the next HPHR Fellow. Good luck!

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A special thank you to HPHR for accepting me as a fellow. and sharing my experience and love for public health.

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