NHPHA Member Spotlight

NHPHA Member Spotlight: Colleen Whitcomb

What’s your favorite part of being a member of NHPHA?
As a student who is looking to enter the public health profession, I value learning about the work that NHPHA’s members are doing and what public health issues are most important in New Hampshire.

What is your current occupation?
I currently work as an Academic Advisor at Southern New Hampshire University, which is where I am also pursuing a Masters in Public Health degree. I am also completing an internship with NHPHA!

What do you love most about public health profession?
I love that the field is constantly evolving, and that studying public health allows me to continue to learn and grow. I believe public health is progressive in identifying how social determinants impact community health, and that work excites and inspires me.

How do you define success?
For me, success is knowing that I have made a positive impact in the lives of others. In the public health field, I hope to achieve this by working to design and implement programs that address health equity in New Hampshire. I believe to be successful it is important to constantly learn, ask questions, and to build a network of those with similar goals and passions.

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by my parents. They have always modeled working hard and valuing the power of kindness.

If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose and why?
I would choose Michelle Obama as my mentor because I look up to her compassion, honesty, and ability to relate to others. She is a strong leader and also has public health experience through her work in Chicago and the Let’s Move initiative.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the public health profession?
What I have learned through studying public health and my internship with NHPHA is the importance of partnerships and community. I would encourage others looking to enter this field to take opportunities to learn from professionals in the field about how they ended up in their position and what advice they have.

What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — you learned in the last month?
One thing I have learned more about in the past month is the legislative process in New Hampshire and the unique challenges for public health policy in this state. This knowledge has helped with my internship and other coursework. It has been helpful to track specific bills to get a better understanding of this process and all the key players involved in creating policies in New Hampshire.

What is your favorite hobby?
I love spending time outside – I can usually be found hiking, running, biking, XC skiing, or going to the beach. I have also recently gotten into playing pickleball.

Are you currently binge-watching any shows?
I have been watching Ted Lasso and I already can’t wait for season 3 to come out. I also just watched the final season of This is Us and have been watching Julia on HBO.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would have homemade chicken noodle soup because it is the ultimate comfort food.

What’s one item you can’t live without?
A book. I am a huge bookworm and bring one (or more) with me wherever I go. 

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