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Day in the Life Stories

Ben Paly

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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.

While I am working on a project, I always remember to keep the overall project goal in mind as I complete specific tasks. I am involved in a lot of the research and planning that goes into the development of our programs which helps me to provide a fresh perspective on the processes we are using. This helps my team and me to challenge ourselves to make sure we are approaching our projects in thoughtful, innovative, and effective ways.

This program has been an amazing opportunity to think critically about public health and its role in the greater movement for social equity. Rather than being pegged into a tightly defined role, PHAP allows you to think about the bigger picture and experience a number of unique roles within public health. This experience in focus on learning and professional development is invaluable.

In only two years with PHAP, I will learn and experience so much more than I would have been able to if I had taken a more “conventional” route such as going right into the workforce or additional school. My confidence in my abilities is already increasing, and I am learning things that I am certain will be valuable moving forward.

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