Tracie Seward, MA, has immersed herself in public health education for over a decade and couldn’t be happier with her career path. Prior to her current role as the Senior Director of Outreach and Recruitment at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), she led the admissions team at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She has built her career around making connections for students to education and career opportunities in public health.
“I truly believe in the power of public health and public health careers, in both the impact that they can have on the world and on the individual. I find that public health students are so passionate, and they love the work that they do. You don’t find that with every profession.”Tracie Seward, ASPPH Senior Director of Outreach and Recruitment
We recently caught up with Tracie to learn more about the ASPPH and how students interested in public health education can benefit from their organization.
Q: What is the ASPPH?
TS: We are a membership organization comprised of 137 schools and programs of public health. Our members are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) or in the applicant status for CEPH-accreditation. Our members are educating the future workforce of public health. And our mission is to strengthen the capacity of our members by advancing leadership, excellence, and collaboration for academic public health.
Q: How does the ASPPH support students looking to get into a public health degree program?
TS: Often, we start with prospective students by helping to understand what public health is and options for their career paths; digging deeper into what they are passionate about. We connect students who want to apply to public health schools to SOPHAS, which is the centralized application service for public health programs. Students can apply to multiple institutions using one application. While they are in a public health education program, we connect them to career opportunities with our Public Health Jobs website and offer opportunities to be featured as our public health student ambassadors. As alumni of our member programs, there is a fellowship program for students to apply for if they are interested.
Q: Why do you think this is a good time to explore a career in public health?
TS: You can think about the Great Resignation right now. People are leaving their jobs and are looking for work with more meaning and work that gives them the ability to make an impact. Exploring a career in public health makes perfect sense. You can have an impact in your community, nationally, or even globally. And there is a huge need in governmental public health as the workforce continues to age. A public health WIN survey, or workforce interest and needs, found that up to 22% of the public health government workforce plans to retire by 2023.
Q: Have you seen a shift in people transitioning from roles outside of public health, into public health careers?
TS: Everyone is needed in public health. Whether you’re an accountant working at a state health department or a journalism major and want to focus on the health sector or create documentary films to raise awareness of what is public health. There are so many opportunities to bring your experience to the field of public health. And we are finding that more organizations are starting to see that public health is something that people really care about. We are seeing more workforce well-being positions, data analytics positions exploring health behaviors etc.; more attention and values on what people are realizing is important in life.