Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Day in the Life Stories

Experience a day in the life of a Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) associate!

Are you curious about what goes on in the lives of new public health professionals? Then read these stories by current PHAP associates from the class of 2010 and 2011.

You'll get a glimpse into a day of their lives, their thoughts, and how they perform their daily responsibilities.

Click the "learn more" link to read more about each associate's "A Day in the Life" story.

top layout image
inside top layout image

"To sum up an average day in my line of work is very difficult because every day has such variety and presents new challenges and opportunities.

From attending amazing conferences, presenting my own work, facilitating meetings, writing grants, developing websites, and conducting youth focus groups, the diversity and importance of the work definitely keeps me on my toes and are some of the reasons why I love my job and the work I do so much.

Coming from a public health background through college, I had some sense of what I was getting myself into. However, I had no idea of the vast world of violence prevention and the incredible support and resources that would be available to me through my host site and the CDC."

Learn More About Ilana

inside module layout image
Ilana Blum

PHAP Associate:
Ilana Blum

"Support from the CDC has really transformed my abilities and now I feel prepared and ready to take on the challenges of public health."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area:  Injury Prevention 2nd Year Program Area: Maternal and Child Health
Undergrad Major: Public Health
Location: Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota, St. Paul, Injury and Violence Prevention Unit- Sexual Violence

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"My job as a disease intervention specialist in the STD/HIV program is very interesting! Ultimately, my job works towards decreasing the spread of STD/HIV.

On a daily basis, I call and do field visits to notify individuals of their STD/HIV status. If an individual has a positive status, I then refer them to our health department for treatment.

Many of these activities were very intimidating initially, especially the first few times I conducted interviews. After shadowing other co-workers and having the support from my supervisor, I began to feel much more comfortable. I quickly realized the importance of the work we do and how this can deeply impact others’ lives. Overall, this has been an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience for me and I am very glad PHAP has given me the chance to go outside my comfort zone and do something like this."

Learn More About Sandi

inside module layout image
Sandi Brown

PHAP Associate:
Sandi Brown

"Public health has always been interesting to me. I like working with people to protect and improve their health and well being."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: STD/HIV
2nd Year Program Area: TB
Undergrad Major: Biology
Location: Hillsborough County Health
Department, Tampa, FL

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"This project has provided me with so much experience and knowledge that I feel like I’ve gained 10 years’ worth of experience in one year! The support from my staff and their confidence in my work abilities has really enabled me to thrive and make the project where it is today.

I think working for the CDC has given me instant credibility. When first coming to my host site, I had no direct work experience in a health department but I could say that I was hired by CDC and, to me that meant that CDC thought I had the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful in my assignment. I also think that CDC is a great organization and that local health departments respect the work CDC does and appreciates the fact that CDC supported a staff person to come in for two years to build capacity within the local organization. Overall, this has been a great experience that I honestly don’t think I would have been able to get through any other program or position!"

Learn More About Chelsey

inside module layout image
Chelsey Chmelar

PHAP Associate:
Chelsey Chmelar

The hands on experience you get through PHAP is incredibly important in working in public health, or really any field. Gaining direct and relevant experience is so critical to moving forward in your career."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: Chronic Disease
2nd Year Program Area: Immunization
Undergrad Major: Psychology and Health Sciences
Location: Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Parma, Ohio

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"On a daily basis I collect data regarding the evacuation and repatriation of patients and residents to and from their health care facility. The purpose of collecting this information is to better understand what resources we as a health department need and what we can provide to help these facilities once they have exhausted their resources.

I enjoy working in preparedness and I love that every day I learn something new! I appreciate the fact that preparedness focuses on keeping the public safe, which ultimately is the entire idea behind public health. Therefore, I can’t think of a better way to ensure public safety then preparing for the worst!"

Learn More About Maritza

inside module layout image
Maritza Franqui

PHAP Associate:
Maritza Franqui

"This is a front line experience in a unique place across the country that I would have never expected. Not only is it an adventure, but I get to help people along the way."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: Public Health Preparedness
2nd Year Program Area: Environmental Health
Undergrad Major: Human Biology
Location: Nassau County Department of Health

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"I am currently working in Cross Connections and Water Pollution Control under the programmatic area of environmental health. One part of my job is to be trained as a cross connections inspector, which I have learned, is a very unique position.
To become trained as a cross connections inspector, you have to accomplish three main tasks. First, I spend two days on average going out with cross connections inspectors to learn how to conduct water surveys.  Along with other inspectors, we carpool to different sites needing water surveys, including the Staples Center, Coca Cola Factory, Painted Turtle Camp, Hostess Bakery/Factory, and the Bel Air Hotel!"

Learn More About Tiffany

inside module layout image
Tiffany Gee

PHAP Associate:
Tiffany Gee

"This has been an incredibly exciting and eye-opening experience for me. The fact that every day is slightly different definitely keeps me on my toes and has really broadened my public health knowledge, which is exactly what I was looking for in PHAP!"


Class of 2011
1st Year Program Area: Environmental Health
2nd Year Program Area: Public Health Preparedness
Undergrad Major: Public Health
Location: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"The most interesting aspect of my work has been the fieldwork. I recently traveled to Yuma, Arizona with an EIS Officer and an epidemiologist from my department in order to conduct a study on Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). Earlier this year there was a GBS outbreak that affected individuals in Yuma County and San Luis, Mexico. We collected blood and sputum samples for each case and control and asked them some general questions on how the disease affected their daily activities and emotional health. My ability to speak Spanish fluently was useful when communicating with the cases/controls and I, at times, was even a translator between the doctor and the community. It was a fantastic experience!"

Learn More About Rosa

inside module layout image
Rosa Lira

PHAP Associate:
Rosa Lira

"Working for the CDC has also been an incredible experience. The structure, respect, resources, career opportunities, and other amazing benefits will provide me with the necessary skills and enable me to be part of a broad network of individuals that can be translated and helpful in any position."


Class of 2011
1st Year Program Area: Other Communicable Diseases
2nd Year Program Area: STD, HIV, or TB
Undergrad Major: Health Education
Location: Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Infectious Disease Services

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"I spend a lot of my time working with the CDC-sponsored Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) for our region. The CRI is an effort to prepare major US cities and metropolitan areas to effectively respond to a large scale bioterrorist event by dispensing antibiotics to their entire identified population within 48 hours of the decision to do so. My job duties include leading trainings on the program, recruiting potential partners, assisting agencies in program planning, as well as fostering better community relations and outreach support. I facilitate these events as well as assist personnel in their efforts to complete tasks as designated by regional, state level, and federal goals."

Learn More About Jeremy

inside module layout image
Jeremy Moore

PHAP Associate:
Jeremy Moore

"The exposure to so many different aspects of public health as well as diverse groups of people will further enhance my ability to grow personally and professionally, and connect to the world as a global citizen with a social conscience."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: Public Health Preparedness
2nd Year Program Area: Chronic Disease
Undergraduate Major: Biology/Public Health
Location: Louisiana Office of Public Health
Region 2 - Emergency Preparedness Division, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"My typical day of working in TB starts with venturing to my patients houses or other locations of their choosing (even including a Burger King parking lot) where I administer Directly Observed Therapy (DOT). This requires me to watch the patient swallow every dose of the prescribed drugs, which is often harder than one might think. Many patients try to hide their pills, so to ensure that protocol is followed, I hold a conversation with the patients for at least five minutes after the pills are taken. Because treatment for standard patients is six months, these conversations not only allow me to get to know my patients better, but also create a trust that is essential for good contact investigations. These extra five minutes often create a world of difference!"

Learn More About Nydia

inside module layout image
Nydia Palacio

PHAP Associate:
Nydia Palacio

"Interviewing, evaluating the issues, and problem solving were all skills that I learned through my major but the ability to read people and think on my feet can only come about with experience."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: STD, HIV, or TB
2nd Year Program Area: Global Migration and Quarantine
Undergrad Major: Anthropology
Location: Departamento de Salud de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"On a daily basis, I work with Community Health Improvement Plans that outline a process by which state, local, and community-based partnerships can work together to address the needs of the public. The plan involves the identification of issues within a community such as obesity, lack of psychological services, violence, and substance abuse. I support two of Walla Walla County's high priority initiatives including high poverty rates and its rural location. This position has allowed me to gain tangible skills, such as program design and assessment tools, as well as a deeper understanding of the role of public health in our communities."

Learn More About Ben

inside module layout image
Ben Paly

PHAP Associate:
Ben Paly

"This program has been an amazing opportunity to think critically about public health and its role in the greater movement for social equity."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: Chronic Disease
2nd Year Program Area: STD, HIV, or TB
Undergraduate Major: Environmental Studies
Location: Walla Walla County Health
Department, Walla Walla, WA

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"The beauty of public health is that every day is different and roles and responsibilities are flexible!  Working in the Immunization Program has definitely taught me this. Sometimes, my day would include drafting health advisories, developing educational materials, organizing mass vaccination clinics, or writing newsletters.

Other times, I would go out to elementary schools and conduct assessments of their immunization records to ensure that the students were compliant with state immunization requirements. Or, I could be out overseeing the mass vaccination clinics that I'd previously organized. I would also work at health fairs or give presentations to students. Finally, I might be called to serve as a media spokesperson and would be interviewed on the TV or radio to discuss current news and recommendations for immunizations. Sometimes a few of these could happen in one day which kept things very exciting!"

Learn More About Valerie Tran

inside module layout image
Valerie Tran

PHAP Associate:
Valerie Tran

"I was eager for the opportunity to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the premier agencies in the world for public health, and the opportunity to experience public health at a federal and local level."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: Immunization
2nd Year Program Area: STD, HIV, or TB
Undergrad Major: Public Health
Location: Fresno County Department of
Public Health, Fresno, California

bottom layout image

 

top layout image
inside top layout image

"In my position working in STD control, a typical day begins with finding the previous day's approved labs results, pulling patient charts for the positives, and making sure that CalREDIEs (California's Confidential Morbidity Report) are made for each disease incident. After this, the day can be filled with STD patient interviews, which include disease education and epidemiology investigations for sexual contacts, following up with outside provider's Confidential Morbidity Reports, and most recently, working on revamping our STD control web page and planning a social media campaign for the Kern County AIDS Advisory Board."

Learn More About Sandee Young

inside module layout image
Sandee Young

PHAP Associate:
Sandee Young

"PHAP has provided me with a better understanding of the inner workings of public health while also providing me with the skills necessary to be better qualified to make large scale decisions further down the line that ideally would have tremendous implications for the world of public health."


Class of 2010
1st Year Program Area: Chronic Disease
2nd Year Program Area: STD, HIV, or TB
Undergrad Major: Public Health
Location: Kern County Department of Public Health Services, Bakersfield, CA

bottom layout image

 

 


CDC 24/7 – Saving Lives. Protecting People. Saving Money Through Prevention. Learn More About How CDC Works For You…

Contact Us:
  • Public Health Associate Program
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Mailstop: E-85
    4770 Buford Hwy, NE
    Atlanta, GA 30341
  • Phone:
    404-498-0030
    Fax:
    404-639-9130
  • Email PHAP
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #