Advancing Public Health Through Ambassadorships and Fellowships

April 2, 2024
a healthcare professional analyzing a global map

Between 2017-2021, the public health workforce shrank nearly in half. Adtalem’s academic programs and foundation partnerships are creating access for aspiring public health professionals.

A March 2023 study published by Health Affairs unveiled that nearly 50% of all employees in state and local public health agencies left their jobs between 2017 and 2021; for workers ages 35 and younger with shorter tenures in the field, the proportion of those leaving jumps to 75%.

The study surmises that the likelihood of increasing future outbreaks and global pandemics must lead to a prioritization of strategies to improve recruitment and retention.

Walden is No. 1 in public health doctoral graduates in the U.S.

This Is Public Health Ambassador Program

As a driver of retention and engagement among public health students, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) launched their This Is Public Health (TIPH) Ambassador Program. Seven students from Chamberlain University and Walden University have been accepted for the year-long ambassadorship since 2021.

Sherry Weaver-Morales, Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) candidate, represented Walden University in the 2022-2023 TIPH cohort.

a headshot of Sherry Weaver-Morales from Walden University
It created an opportunity to truly address public health concerns as students by sharing ideas and helping each other spread awareness and education throughout our communities. I saw a bigger picture of problems that exist that I would never have been exposed to if not for this program.

Funding Fellowship Programs

Another program striving to address the critical shortage of public health leaders is Global Health Corps’ (GHC) U.S. Fellowship Program. The Adtalem Global Education Foundation helped support the program’s establishment through grant funding in 2023; the Foundation and GHC have been partners since 2021.

The yearlong fellowship aims to develop emerging diverse leaders and early-career professionals working on the frontlines of public health in the United States. It is designed to hone their skills, create networks, address the root causes of health inequities, and make meaningful changes for the communities they serve across the country.

At Adtalem, we are working together to positively impact the education and healthcare landscapes for the better. Learn how in our 2023 Sustainability Report.

The fellowship also creates opportunities for healthcare leaders from Adtalem’s institutions to engage with fellows on current public health topics. Last month, Dr. Michael Schwab from Walden’s College of Health Sciences and Public Policy, joined GHC’s Leadership Academy Speaker Series for a conversation with fellows covering his 30-plus-year career experiences as a public health professional and educator.

a headshot of Dr. Michael Schwab from Walden University
I came to my life in public health with an understanding that it was important to listen to the patient, and in public health, the patient is the community. I want my students when they go out and talk to people to not only listen to what they say, but also ask them about and pay attention to what they’re feeling.

Advancing Health Communications

Communication is a cornerstone of public health practice for professionals to educate, motivate, advocate, engage, respond, and collaborate effectively to improve the health of populations.

“In the public health space, you must be more cautious and calculating with how you deliver messages to local, national and international audiences,” says Weaver-Morales. “The mass scales that can tip with information sharing is how panic is created.”

Dr. Holly Godwin, associate dean and academic program director for Walden’s College of Health Sciences and Public Policy, echoes the same sentiment. In fall 2023, Walden launched a health communications course as part of the Master of Public Health (MPH) program.

a headshot of Dr. Holly Godwin from Walden University
Evidence-based awareness and education is the foundation of public health, and this new course focuses on how to spread information regarding public health messaging to various communities.

“It’s important for public health professionals to be well versed in how to communicate with diverse communities and how to reach people, because information will reach people one way or another, and we need it to be the right information.”

For more information, email the Adtalem Global Communications Team: