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Another Year, Another Opportunity to Shine

October 6, 2014

My friends, we are happy to write us into the 2014-2015 term with this inaugural blog post! Our names are Alex Mayer and Eric Nadalin, and as the incoming co-chairs of the New Professionals Working Group, we are 110% committed to elevating the place of new professional talent on Ontario’s public health scene. Together, you (we) represent the future of health promotion in our communities.

It’s important for us, as recent graduates, job-seekers and new professionals, to take a moment to acknowledge that at no other time in our past has there been so much collective wisdom, experience and breadth of expertise to draw from as there is today among the ranks of professionals who, together, comprise Ontario’s public health system. From eHealth to public health nursing to dietetics, to communications specialists and social media gurus, there are thousands of experts currently putting their shoulders to the wheel in Ontario every day, creating innovative campaigns, programs and policies that make a real difference to the degree of health awareness, the quality of community supports, and to the impact of government policy that ultimately helps to shape health outcomes in our great province.

With a sea of potential mentors out there, OPHA’s leadership has a proactive interest in connecting the new wave of professionals who represent the cutting edge of public health with the proficient folks whose breadth of career experience and contacts out in the community make them invaluable ‘activators’ of preventative solutions to emerging health issues.

While the OPHA’s boldest plans for leadership development among new professionals are still in the works and can’t be revealed quite yet, we want you to know that your OPHA membership has never been more valuable than it is today. At less than 25 cents a day for a university student, it is your passport to a host of networking events, skill-building opportunities and resources that will soon be coming your way.

For new professionals who already work within public health, obtaining a membership allows you to join one of our many provincial working groups, which provides you with unfettered access to the invaluable insights of thought leaders from across the province. It is likely to be your first career opportunity in public health that permits you to have an impact well beyond your immediate community, as the resolutions and working papers that you help craft will eventually shape government policy on issues from poverty reduction to built environments for active living. There is no greater dividend to public health work than knowing that you have made a constructive difference to the way society operates!

So whether you want to build up your provincial network of public health professionals, showcase the great work that you are doing for your doctoral thesis project, or simply want to get involved and pitch in, we warmly encourage you to become an OPHA member today. With 32 health units in Ontario alone, not to mention the LHINs, CHCs and other institutions, our professional network surely comprises a vast amount of people; after being an OPHA member for a year and a half, however, I can tell you that the public health world shrinks quickly and soon begins to feel like a small, tight-knit family.

So link arms with your friends, and make a pact not to be shrinking violets as you build experience on the way to becoming an innovative and accomplished public health champion in your community. Come learn at our conferences, network with senior officials at our exclusive networking soirées, contribute articles to our New Professionals blog, and together, let’s show the province what new professionals have to offer!

Alex Mayer is a Health Promoter and School Travel Planning facilitator with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, where he has been coordinating youth cycling education programs and promoting active travel to school for nearly 2 years. His recent work experiences also include guest lecturing at Nipissing University and teaching a 4th year Canadian Health Policy course as Adjunct Professor at the Queen’s School of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

Eric Nadalin is a Health Promotion Specialist in the Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Department at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. He received his Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) in Kinesiology from Western University in 2009 and his Master of Human Kinetics in Exercise Psychology from The University of Windsor in 2011.

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