As 2022 comes to a close and we’ve faced another year of living with the pandemic, I’ve learned that nothing can replace my in-person connections with colleagues, family and friends. It’s a pleasure to sit around a table with my co-workers or extended family. We’re opening up again to the idea of safely meeting in person. People seek reconnection to help preserve organizational culture, improve retention and training, and strengthen professional relationships.
PHII welcomed many new faces to our staff in 2022 as we continue to take on new projects. In 2023, we’re anticipating our partnership with Africa CDC through the Global Fund to work toward defeating HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
This project marks a first-time partnership between Task Force for Global Health programs and the Global Fund. This cross-programmatic effort will include PHII, along with three other Task Force programs: Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET), Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI) and COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Program (CoVIP). This global surveillance and informatics effort allows PHII and The Task Force to show our strength in pulling individual programs together for greater results.
Another collaboration that I’m extremely proud of is PHII’s work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI). DMI explores how to use data more effectively when public health threats emerge. PHII completed our second year of facilitating a learning community and coordinating workshops for data modernization leaders.
I celebrate these projects in contrast with an area of my concern. The shortage within our public health workforce—especially within informatics—remains a struggle. Public health needs to increase outreach to the future workforce, beginning in high school education and continuing through graduate school. Showing creativity in how we recruit and train our workforce could create a pipeline of skilled, talented people who come to public health and stay there.
In pursuit of these workforce goals, PHII is collaborating with the TRaining in Informatics for Underrepresented Minorities in Public Health (TRIUMPH) Consortium. Led by the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and School of Nursing, this initiative provides public health informatics training to underrepresented students and professional trainees already in the public health workforce.
As I close, I want to share a personal milestone. In February, I gave my first TEDxEmory talk, “Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Women’s Health in a Modern World.” I presented three actions for women to reposition themselves on their list of priorities. I hope it’s a well-received message for all people to prioritize their health.
On behalf of my team and me, I wish you health and peace in the new year. Thank you for partnering with us to strengthen public health informatics capacity. We look forward to facing the challenges and successes of 2023 with you!