Clean for Health’s Sake: Ideas for Cleaning Up Your Health Habits


It is that time of year again. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and you are either facing drought conditions or more winter. Either way, it is time to clean your space and your health habits. Here are some ways to do both while staying motivated and accomplishing your goals.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle-

When it comes to cleaning your space, it can be tempting to fill garbage bags and just get rid of them. However, there are so many ways to recycle clothing, furniture and other items. Donate these items to shelters and second hand organizations. If you feel like your space needs a fresh look, a can of paint can do wonders to update furniture, but so can a throw blanket.

Once you have cleaned out your closets, get to the deep clean. Open up the windows and let the fresh air flow. Not only will this make the air more fresh, it will make you feel better too. At this point you are likely in need of Vitamin D and your lungs need a chance to really expand. Work that elbow grease in all the nooks and crannies and clean top to bottom. A lot of dust can accumulate over the winter months and dusting can help reduce allergy symptoms.

Poison Control-

It is important to look in your medicine cabinet when spring cleaning as well. Check the expiration dates on your medications. Many pharmacies and clinics offer a medication take-back service for free. The U.S. FDA also has issued guidelines about the safe disposal of drugs. You’ll reduce your chances of becoming victim of a medication error and gain some storage space.

Take a look in your garage, basement, and under your sinks for cleaners, paints, solvents, etc. that can be toxic if sitting too long. Call your city or county sanitation department to find the location of the hazardous waste drop-off center, and get rid of anything you’re not going to use.

Now is also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Clean Up Your Act-

Spring is also a great time to clean up your personal health habits. If you smoke, stop. If you don’t exercise, start. Clean out your refrigerator with healthy food and your recipe book with healthy recipes. Fill your garden with fresh vegetables and fruit. Consider other ways to get active whether it be hiking or an outdoor boot camp, a change in your exercise routine can re-energize and motivate you.

Cleaning your space and you health habits can also help your mental health. Many people experience attitude and mental changes over the course of the winter. While cleaning will not solve all that ails us, it can certain contribute to a more positive and clear outlook for many.

For more seasonal tips read: Spring Cleaning: Refresh Your Home and Your Health


Epidemiology, Administration, & Industrial Waste? 10 Highest Paying Careers in Public Service & Health.


Public service and health care are not about money and to be successful, you really need to have a passion for improvement of life. With that said, MPAdegree created a list of the 10 Highest Paying Careers and Jobs in Public Service and Health Sector.

Estimates are that the healthcare industry will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the healthcare industry will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018.

In addition to new jobs being created, workforce shortages exist for current positions in the following areas: education, research, public policy administration and management positions in the following areas: environmental health,behavioral and social sciences,statistics and biostatistics.

#1 Nonprofit Executive Director

The executive director of a nonprofit organization will oversee the heads of every department in a nonprofit, such as marketing, program development, fundraising, HR and accounting. Executive directors also can oversee various lower level executives.

  • Median salary: $71,500

#2 Director of Environmental Health

Education and training environmental practices and regulations of the government in both private and public operations is the focus of a director of environmental health. These regulations ensure the quality of water, food and air.  a director of environmental health will normally have both a bachelor´s and master´s degree in environmental studies, and may include areas of law, public health and environmental science.

  • Median salary: $64,500

#3 Hospital Administrator

This is the most traditionally recognized career in health care administration, and one that offers the widest range of work in the medical field, dealing with quality of services, compliance with all government regulations, consultation with all medical professionals on staff, and meeting the financial objectives of the facility.

  • Median salary: $83,200

#4 Director of Industrial Hygiene

Directors must have a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, with an undergraduate degree in engineering or chemistry is required for this career, one that rewards the individual financially and professionally. work in the field of environmental health and safety, and both public and private opportunities are available, to include the following: government, hospitals, colleges and universities, public health organizations, research laboratories, and others.

  • Median salary: $111,000

#5 Industrial Waste Director

Industrial waste directors work with other professionals such as the Water Treatment Director in local government´s water, sewage and related facilities to promote public health. They focus specifically in removal of solid and liquid waste, will typically oversee employees who work actually do the work, and ensuring that the public health is not compromised.

  • Median salary: $86,000

#6 Director of Epidemiology

A director of epidemiology is the foundation of public health and the director is charged with the responsibility of  determining the causes of diseases and various public health problems to prevent them from recurring. Field investigative work makes this job challenging and the director normally will supervise several epidemiologists in a department. collection and analysis of data. Determining vulnerable populations at risk and communicating findings to appropriate authorities for action demands excellent communication skills in addition to scientific skills.

  • Median salary: $98,000

#8 Director of Municipal Water Treatment Plant

A master’s degree and various certifications are necessary to secure and maintain a career in the water treatment profession.  The director would certify all procedures and qualifications of personnel of a water treatment plant including the aspects of  water storage, treatment and delivery. The importance of clean and potable water calls for strict water treatment regulations and effective management.

  • Median salary: $79,000

#9 Director of Operations for Public Health Offices

A director of operations for public health is a leadership position and a very important role in a county, state and national public health arena. Among other administrative duties, the main focus of the Public Health professionals is the prevention of epidemics spread of disease. The Director is responsible for compliance with applicable laws and established health care protocols to prevent of contain diseases such as SARS, West Nile Virus, and influenza pandemics.

  • Median salary: $102,000

#10 Radiation Safety Specialist

Organizations licensed to use radioactive materials by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must designate a Radiation Safety Officer, whose duties include developing, implementing and monitoring environmental and safety programs in those facilities. These include a variety of public health-related facilities for compliance with the various environmental laws.  Control of hazardous materials, emergency preparedness, radiological safety and prevention of accidents are the common activities of this individual.

  • Median salary: $84,000

If you decide to pursue one of these well-paying public service careers, you are very likely to enjoy a most rewarding career with solid pay and benefits.

Blame It On The Rain: Tips to Stay Motivated on a Rainy Day


The tapping of rain drops on the roof, the smell of earth outside, and the grey skies are enough to make me want to cozy up with a good book, my favorite blanket, and a cup of tea.Alas, the work of a non-profit beckons. On days like these, it can be difficult to stay motivated to continue the work, but the work must be done. These tips on can help you stay motivated on rainy days, but they can be adopted for any kind of weather.


In Living Color

You may have just had a 90’s flash back humming the tune to the skit comedy show like I did. If not, consider adding color to your work space on days like these. Wear bright clothing to work or pick up a classic yellow rain coat. Wear some statement accessories like a bright necklace or bright tie. Bring some bright beautiful flowers in to work, or if you work from home, do what I did and buy some flowers. Having beautiful colors around you can help keep a cheery demeanor if rainy days get you down.

A Place In The Sun

We don’t get much natural sunlight on these rainy days so we need to make our own light. If you enjoy darker days and work in an office, bring in some flame-less candles or light some candles at home. Candles help you feel warm and cozy on a dreary day, but can also help you focus on the tasks that need to be completed by making your work space more comfortable, but not too comfortable.

Just Bust A Move

Back to the 90’s with Young MC, or a reminder to get moving. Between rain showers, go out and take a walk outside. All that fresh air will do wonders to help invigorate your senses and give your brain a reset. If you brought your rain boots to work, go ahead and find a puddle to jump in. Not just to get moving, but because it is really fun!

You could also get your coworkers together and have a one song dance party. This works for students studying for exams as well. In college I was in a study group that would periodically (when we were losing focus) pull out a phone and find an uptempo ditty to have a quick dance party. You don’t have to get up and dance, but nodding your head to the music does wonders to energize the group and get people laughing.

Get Yourself Together

We’re running the gambit today in music references. This time it’s U2. Getting focused to work can sometimes take some work. Make a list of what you need to get accomplished that day and prioritize those tasks. Put time limits on the tasks and include some time in the list for interruptions. First item on the list short be to cleanse. By cleanse, I mean your clean up your work area. Spend a few minutes tidying  up a cluttered work space. Clutter can jumble your thoughts and drain your motivation. Once your environment is cleaned up, the ideas will flow freely and you will be surprised how quickly your check list dwindles.

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

If you feel gloomy about the rain, don’t mope around. I have one more trick up my sleeve to brighten your day and motivate you. Plan to do something out and active when the clouds part. Go to a museum, take a hike, plant a garden, go out of the town with friends. What ever you enjoy doing, make the plans to go out and do it!

Okay, so the on the next rainy day wear your bright clothes and coordinated accessories, light a couple flame-less candles, take a jaunt around the parking lot and jumped in a few puddles, get your groove on, checked off some of your to-dos and call it an accomplished day!

Authors Note: The post title and subtitles are music or television show references. Have fun searching for them if you are not already familiar with these tunes.

When Cohorts Converge: The HCC Alumni Conference


HCC Alumni Conf 2014 (12)   HCC Alumni Conf 2014 (5)   IMG_0026

In case you did not know, Health Career Connection has been placing interns with health organizations for nearly 25 years. This year, we had the pleasure to bring former interns from cohorts past back together for the 1st Annual HCC Alumni Conference. The conference was a huge success! This event was made possible by the support of HCC champion Debra Perez, Vice President of Research, Evaluation and Knowledge at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. 

Our conference was kicked off by an invigorating symposium with the theme “Challenge 2014: Increasing Diversity in Academia and the Health Professions.” The symposium featured presentations from leaders in diversity from across the country, including Joan Y. Reede (Dean of Diversity and Community Partnership of Harvard Medical School), Stefano Bertozzi (Dean of UC Berkeley School of Public Health), Michele Siqueiros (Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity), Katherine Flores (Director of UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research), David Acosta (Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion for UC Davis Health System), and Ron Copeland (Senior Vice President of the National Diversity Strategy and Policy, and Chief Diversity Office, for Kaiser Permanente). This unique convening brought leaders with HCC alumni, to discuss opportunities to increase diversity in academia and the health professions, to ultimately combat health disparities and inequities today and in the future.

The 1st Annual Health Career Connection Conference welcomed x alumni from all seven HCC regions across the country: Northern, Southern, Central, and Coachella Valley California, Boston, New York/New Jersey, and North Carolina. Alumni had the opportunity to practice networking and learn skills from health and healthcare leaders through Professional Development Workshops such as “Marketing Yourself—Finding Your  Own ‘Brand’” and “The Technical and Data Skills You Need to Thrive—and how to get them.” Alumni also practiced networking skills with experts in various fields and settings, including clinical careers, healthcare management, community health, policy and advocacy, research, private sector consulting,  and more.

The conference also featured a dynamic lineup of presenters, such as keynote presentations from Edgar Quiroz (Senior Director of National Diversity & Inclusion at Kaiser Permanente), Ron Chapman (Director of the California Department of Public Health), and Barbara Staggers (Division Chief of Adolescent Medicine and Teen Health at Oakland Children’s Hospital & Research). Professor Amani Nuru-Jeter and Professor Hector Rodriguez of UC Berkeley School of Public Health shared their journeys to doctoral Public Health programs and ultimately careers in academia.   Greg Hicks, author and CEO of Foster, Hicks, & Associates led a participatory plenary session, providing guests with a practical roadmap for making effective choices, understanding our own leadership style, and linking our passions to a career.

The best part of this experience was the opportunity to engage with current and future leaders in health, healthcare, and academia. We are excited to continue this tradition of thoughtful and engaging dialogue, networking, and collaboration.

HCC Alumni Conf 2014 (10)HCC Alumni Conf 2014 (2)     HCC Alumni Conf 2014 (8)

You Did What to Pay for School?: Creative ways to pay and repay higher education


Tuition costs keep creeping higher and higher as the bank accounts of students dwindles. Many students accept student loans that seem to take a lifetime to pay back. A future of a high paying job, owning a house, and the American Dream are often illusions. Before we get ahead or ourselves, lets look at how we can pay for higher education.

Co-Ops and Combos:

Believe it or not, companies and organizations want you to be educated and successful. Some organizations are even willing to pay you to be more educated in the form of Cooperative Education. This is when students work full-time at a company while they are attending school. The student may receive up to $25 per hour with some of that income going directly to tuition and other school costs. The great thing about co-ops is that students receive help paying for school and walk away with work experience they would not have had otherwise. The downside is that it will likely take longer for students to complete their degree programs as they are working full-time. Some companies will also have programs that will pay off student loans after college as well.

Combo Degree programs are another way to pay less for education. A Combination Degree Program is just what it sounds like, two degree options rolled in to one. One of the best examples, and one that some HCC alum have been a part of, is the MBA/ MPH program offered at University of California Berkeley. This program allows students to complete both an Masters in Business and a Masters in Public Health which is a great option for any aspiring healthcare or public health CEO. The plus is that you get the benefits of two degrees in a shorter amount of time than if you did both separately. The minus is that combo degree options are very competitive and desirable.

Crazy Scholarships:

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a scholarship for being a Trekkie, Whovian, making a duct tape dress, or raising a prized bovinae? Well you can! There are a ton of scholarships that are not directly related to athletics or grades. Finding them is the most difficult part. Research scholarships for those things you are interested, complete the requirements and watch the scholarships roll in.

Forgive and Forget:

Remember all that volunteer work you did and thought you were just doing something good for your community? Well, those organizations may be able to help have your student loans forgiven. You can also join organizations like Americorps, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations to receive forgiveness on some of your student loans. Sometimes even the job you get after college can forgive your student loans. For instance, if you work as a teacher, nurse, physician, etc, that serves a community in need for a certain amount of time, your loans will be forgiven.

Rolling in Dough:

Of course, you can always work off the loans. I’m not talking about just getting a job and making your monthly payments. I am talking about what else you can do for money. Harness your talents and put them to work for you. For instance, if you play an instrument or have a decent voice, why not play downtown for tips? Are you good at web design or a technical troubleshooter? Offer your services to small businesses and individuals for a low fee. Have a special talent or skill and enjoy teaching or tutoring? Start teaching classes or tutoring one on one. I had a guitar teacher who taught kids how to play guitar for extra cash. He got all the guitars donated and gave them to the students. The only thing the student had to pay was a small fee each class. Maybe you don’t have a special talent, but you are a very responsible person. Start up you baby sitting, house sitting, pet sitting, or dog walking business. It takes a few hours a week of your spare time, but you can put a decent dent in your debt.

You can also get paid for your opinions by joining focus groups. Or you can get paid for joining a medical study. This is where companies pay you to offer your opinion on different products. Medical research groups also pay for study subjects. Sleep studies are fairly popular forms of medical studies. When considering these type of income makers, make sure you research the company and fully understand what is being asked of you.

Thinking Outside the Box:

There are some more extreme ways to pay for, or pay off, your education. Living in a van or the university library can save you a lot of money, but it can get you in to trouble if you are not careful. Becoming a gene or plasma donor can bring in a lot of cash and the stigma around these types of donations is reducing. It is a very important decision and the requirements are quite strict. Some people have been known to leave the United States altogether. They still need to repay their loans, but with reduced taxes (or no taxes) and higher wages, they can afford to pay off their loans faster.

Whether it is a non-traditional education arrangement, giving back to a community in need, researching your interests, cashing in on your special talents, or thinking outside the box, there are plenty of creative ways to pay for school or pay back your student loans.

Death by Stress: Dealing with Work Stress


You start to get hot and you feel a headache coming on. You look at the clock and realize you are running out of time. Even though you are running out of time, your productivity diminishes. That cup of coffee you had at 3PM failed miserably in the battle against fatigue. You feel a dark cloud fill the room as it devours your thinking space. You try to run, but there is so much left to do!

Okay, maybe work stress is not that dramatic, but too much stress can be detrimental to your health. There are two major types or work stress, positive and negative work stress. An example of positive work stress may be a promotion or being placed on a new project. People don’t normally think of a promotion as being stressful, but it does mean a change in position or title. Negative stress is much more serious, but knowing what triggers the stress and how to cope with it or minimize it can help you reduce negative stress.

Overworked and Underpaid:

You come in early, skip lunch, and stay late to tackle the never ending abyss that is your inbox or climb mountain that is the project papers on your desk and it seems like no matter how much you get done, there is double the work the next day. You never feel caught up and you begin to think, “I don’t get paid enough for this.”

Well you are probably right, but what do you do? Remember that you have a regular designated work week and must take breaks. Have a talk with your supervisor about the work you have been putting in to stay afloat. Remember that the work will always be there. It is up to you to prioritize the work and ask for help when you need it. It is in everyone’s best interest for you to be productive and less stressed.

Technology Slave:

Your company has given you a fancy new cell phone and laptop so you can work at your convenience. Or rather, so you can be reach 24/7. Soon your phone, laptop, and personal phone are all going off at the same time and you answer because you are the kind of worker who gets stuff done. The lines between your personal and professional life begin to blur and your friends and family are starting to feel the stress of your devices.

Don’t let yourself become a slave to technology. I am reminded of a scene from the movie Hook where Robin William’s character, Peter, is on a trip with his family. While on a business call and yells at his children to keep quiet while he is on the phone after promising this wife Moira he would not take work calls. The phone rings again and before Peter can answer, Moira takes his phone and throws it out the window. You don’t need to take such drastic measures. Turn your devices off and let your supervisor and colleagues know that you do not answer emails or your work phone during certain hours. Redefine the line between your personal and professional lives. If it is an absolute emergency, people will know how to get a hold of you.


You’re running from meeting to meeting. There never seems to be enough caffeine in your coffee mug and you are running on adrenaline. You are terminally exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Disillusionment sets in. You become disengaged and feel helpless. You are completely worn-out, teetering on the verge of an all out breakdown.

Pull in the reins! Alert your supervisor that the work is too much for you, but be prepared with some suggestions to change. If you are in a position where there is not much room for colleagues to help you, think of a way to streamline the work. If it has to do with travel or a big project that has and end point, plan a staycation once you are finished and reconnect with friends and family. Give yourself something to look forward to. Slow down where you can and reach out to trusted colleagues and friends who you can talk to.

Additional Tips:

Sometimes, little things you every day can help you avoid work related stress.

  • Staying hydrated, eating healthy, and staying active will help your body fight off negative stress.
  • Rewarding yourself with a staycation, massage, fancy dinner with your partner or best friend, buying a new work outfit can all help you recognize big or small accomplishments.
  • Keep you supervisor updated on the status of your tasks and projects. This helps in two ways. First, your supervisor can see exactly how much work you are putting in; and second, YOU see how much work you have already accomplished.
  • Take short escapes. When you have a moment, take a walk outside or close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Don’t forget to stretch and get your blood moving.
  • Rest your mind when you get home or before you go to work. Take some time to meditate. Turn everything off and spend even a few minutes just relaxing.
  • Get artisy. Do paint, draw, write, play an instrument, garden, or do anything else creative? Nurture your creativity from time to time. You could even enjoy other people’s creativity by reading a book, going to an art gallery, etc. The point is to enjoy creation.
  • Talk it out! If you are stressed, reach out to a trusted colleague or friend. Everyone needs to vent from time to time. It can be very relieving to just let it out.

There are many things you can do daily both at work and away from work to reduce work stress. Recognizing what stresses you and addressing these triggers before the stress has a chance to eat you alive will help you enjoy your work more. Remember that no one is perfect and not to be too hard on yourself. You are the only person who can take care of you.

Staying In Touch: How to stay connected to your networks


You have attended the conferences, participated in the webinars, handed out business cards, and are developing a knack for this whole networking thing. Now to build the relationships and your professional contact pool. This requires regular communication, information sharing, and determining which type of communication is appropriate. Here are some tips to staying connected.

All About Timing

It takes time to build relationships with people you meet at networking events or through a manager or co-worker. Making that initial communication can be difficult if you are unsure of how to approach your contact. I find that simply sending an email with where we met, mentioning something we talked about and thanking them for their time is a great way for us to remember each other. People appreciate that you took the time to reach out, but being specific will help build the relationship. Depending on how close you may be with a contact will determine how often you communicate with them. To stay on track, schedule time in your calendar to send communications. Invest more time and have more regular communication with professionals who work in your field or you have common interests with.

Getting Social

Use your social media savvy to get connected professionally. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to keep up to date on what your contacts are doing. If they announce a new job or promotion, offer them congratulations for their achievements. A project they are working on may have inspired your career path or development, let them know. Maybe they make a post that their organization is looking for volunteers or other assistance and you are qualified, offer to help. If you read a great article on a topic that interests both of you, share it. Ask for career and professional advice. In all these cases, you want to be specific, conversational, personal, and professional when sending these communications. All of these ideas will help build the relationship and stay on their radar.

If you are reaching out to a new contact, do your homework. Use social media to learn about their professional career path. Maybe you have a mutual contact, attended the same school, or have a common interest. Find something to ask them a question or two about. The topic is not as important as making that initial contact.

Getting Out

With social media and email at our fingertips, a live meeting can go a long way to build and maintain relationships. If you travel, try to set up a meeting with one of your contacts in the area. If a contact is coming to your area, ask if they have plans for dinner or would like to get coffee. Keep the meeting light and the conversation open, but be ready to discuss trends in the industry. It doesn’t hurt to have a goal for the meeting whether it is to ask for advice or offer your skills, think about what you hope to gain from your meeting. Sometimes we are so busy that an in person meeting is not possible, but you want to speak with your contact. Offer to have a video meeting. Video meetings allow a similar feeling of closeness as you can see the person you are talking to.

Not everyone is going to respond to your emails or accept your invitations to an in person meeting. Don’t let this discourage you. Having a strong network is more powerful and will bring more opportunities than a large network of professionals who do not know your name. With regular communication, professionals will begin to share information with you and reach out to you when they hear of job openings. Remember to be specific in your communication and show you want more than just a connection to a job. If you do need to tap your network for a recommendation or advice, professionals will be happy to help.