By Libby Halma, Wisconsin HealthCorps member 

1. Public health is a small world.

Before I started serving at the Alliance, I did not realize that the public health community is very close-knit. The Alliance has strong ties to many health departments, health systems and organizations across the state.

As my time at the Alliance went on, I started to recognize individuals from previous meetings and conferences. I was able to network with this partners and learn more about the work they do to improve the health of communities across Wisconsin. Many of the organizations the Alliance partners with also host Wisconsin HealthCorps members!

2. You grow the most when you step outside of your comfort zone.

This year, I accomplished many things which initially seemed difficult or impossible. One example is inviting and hosting state legislators for Reach Out and Read visits. At first, I was nervous about coordinating these visits because I had never attended one and I did not have clear expectations of what I needed to do to make them a success. Contacting state representatives and senators with a seemingly big request was also intimidating.

However, with hard work and determination, I was able to ask for the tools and support I needed to successfully host two state legislators for Reach Out and Read clinic visits. Legislative visits quickly became a very rewarding experience and reminded me that if you are dedicated, anything is possible.

3. Teamwork makes the dream work.

None of the projects I worked on this year would have been successful without the help of everyone at the Alliance. Often, I relied on the expertise of my project managers and outside partners to improve my work and strategize new ways to improve the health of communities served by the Alliance.

4. It’s all right to not know all the answers.

When I first started at the Alliance, there was a steep learning curve. Each of the Alliance’s seven initiatives have different focus areas and it took some time to fully grasp everything. As I worked on various projects throughout the year, I learned to be humble and ask questions when I did not know the right answers. I gained so much knowledge when I did ask for help, and this allowed me to serve at the Alliance in a much greater capacity.

5. Being open-minded and curious will help you get things done.

One of the key philosophies at the Alliance is to approach every challenge with curiosity. Rather than passing judgment or frustration, try to have an open-minded point of view. By asking questions and learning different perspectives, you can develop solutions in an inclusive, strategic and thoughtful manner. Approaching challenges with a curious attitude is a beneficial strategy which I hope to carry through the rest of my career.