NHPHA Member Spotlight - Adriana Tejada

NHPHA Member Spotlight - Adriana Tejada
What’s your favorite part of being a member of NHPHA? 
My favorite part of being a member of NHPHA is knowing that there is a vast network of individuals serving communities like myself. Public Health is a broad field, and it can feel isolating to navigate when you are alone. NHPHA makes me feel as though I am a part of something greater and that I always have a resource or community of people to rely on when I am stuck or looking to reignite my passions.
What is your current occupation?
I am currently the Child Nutrition and Communications Coordinator at New Hampshire Hunger Solutions. We are an advocacy organization with a mission to eliminate hunger statewide. 
What do you love most about the public health profession?
There is so much to say here! I believe in the power of prevention. Public health is critical because it is all the behind-the-scenes action planning that takes place prior to someone getting sick, lacking resources, etc. I love that public health skills are transferable and can be used in a variety of different settings. Public health is all around us, and I began to love this profession more when I realized that all of the precautions and actions we take on a daily basis all contribute to public health. One of my favorite quotes is from William Foege, who said, “There is no human endeavor that is outside the realm of public health.”
How do you define success?
I like to think of success as a process rather than an outcome. I am in an early stage in my career, and I love to take mental note of all my achievements, both big and small, as they all propel me forward to become a better and more competent version of myself. I look at my skill set and see consistent growth over time, and that makes me feel very accomplished. I also view success from the perspective of helping my organization reach its goals and expand our audience reach, which is a huge part of my role.
Who inspires you?
I am greatly inspired by my mother. Although she may not have the greatest understanding of public health, she has always been a phenomenal role model for me and has advocated for me to be in spaces that I could never have imagined I would be in. I now wish to do the same for others, especially in the field of public health, which is always growing.
If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose and why?
This is a very difficult question. I am stuck between Michelle Obama and Dr. Maria Gloria Dominguez Bello. I would choose Michelle Obama for her immense courage and knowledge of policy, as well as her advocacy for healthier school meals for all. I would choose Dr. Maria Gloria Dominguez Bello for her work in the microbiome in humans, but specifically in infants. I find her work very interesting!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the public health profession?
Take your time and volunteer with different organizations (healthcare, nonprofit, technology, etc.) to figure out what interests you. Ask yourself. “Which of the public health disciplines are being exercised in these settings?”, “Am I passionate about ____?”. Create a LinkedIn account and begin networking and searching for opportunities as soon as you can. If possible, try to schedule days where you can shadow people in positions you admire. And lastly, try your best to stay updated on the latest public health news and research!
What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — you learned in the last month?
I read an opinion article last week on fad diets I found particularly interesting. It was titled, “Why We Fall for Fad Diets .”It talked about the motive for dieting shifting from biological needs to socio-cultural needs. I thought it was incredibly insightful. Here is a significant line from the article: “When examined together, it’s clear that fad diets really aren’t about the food, but they do signal group belonging and self-identity— two qualities central to the psychological health of most humans.”
What is your favorite hobby?
My favorite hobby is baking, specifically for others! I make banana bread. I also enjoy weightlifting.
Are you currently binge-watching any shows?
I finished Stranger Things season 4 at the beginning of July, and I cannot wait for season 5. I’m currently watching Virgin River, which is a corny, hallmark-like show with a complex love story.
If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If I had to eat one meal every day for the rest of my life, it would probably be tacos al pastor. I would also choose macaroni and cheese if I needed a second option. My third option would be something Dominicans call “Pastelon de Arroz.” It’s essentially a beef, rice, and cheese casserole. It’s yummier than it sounds!
What’s one item you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my music. I listen to music every day! It helps me romanticize my life and makes me feel like I’m constantly in a movie. If you love Latin music, you must listen to Bad Bunny! 
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