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Day in the Life Stories

Ilana Blum

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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.

Working in teen dating violence prevention my first year, I had the amazing opportunity to talk directly with young people to hear their concerns in regards to teen dating violence and what they would like to see the state and partnering organizations do to address this issue. Speaking with those most directly affected by this issue was not only necessary to inform the work we were doing, but was also an eye-opening experience for me and really confirmed the importance of community participation in any work. From these incredibly enlightening dialogues, I helped author our state-wide plan for teen dating violence prevention, producing recommendations and further steps we should take to help mitigate and ultimately prevent this issue.

When I’m not conducting youth focus groups, I’m either working on developing a toolkit for those working in schools to prevent sexual violence and change the environment, helping coordinate an inter-agency team to address the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study in Minnesota, reaching out to others within the health department to ideally improve collaboration on various projects and initiatives, creating resources for the intersections of sexual violence with other health outcomes, and a myriad of other activities. With all of these activities and projects, no day is ever boring and every day I have the opportunity to learn something new and contribute to an amazing organization with great goals.

The support from my co-workers and supervisors has really made my work possible. They have had faith in me from day one and have really pushed me to try new things and live up to my full potential. This support, combined with that from the CDC, has really transformed my abilities and I now feel prepared and ready to take on the challenges of public health.

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