Written by Vanessa Ramirez

When someone says that they teach a science, they more than likely they have a specification or area of focus. This specification applies to almost all areas of work, even public health. I have caught myself referring to public health as a big umbrella recently. I was meeting with a partner and realized I referred to it as just that, and it made me wonder what do others imagine when they hear this.

Vanessa Ramirez

After being at the Alliance, I realized that this comes in many different forms and there are a vast majority of specifications. Before coming to the Alliance I thought that the only way public health was useful and successful was by having a class of patients or doing direct education because that was the only exposure I had at the time. With time, I realized that it comes in many different forms. Public health can look like focusing on social determinates of health and working with community partners to tackle the issue. It can be more health focused and can involve advocacy work that includes providers and others to help influence legislation.

Regardless of the area, the most important is that they all strive to include opinions of and want input from patients. The patient voice is all about hearing what they like and don’t like and using that information to ensure that it meets their needs. Advocating for different public health needs is like the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services for Children (WI EMSC) initiative which offers comfort kits and resources that are sent to emergency providers across the state. It can also look like the asthma initiative, whose programs’ services can be local or statewide with programs such as the Environmental Walkthrough Program which helps do free walkthroughs of school or childcare centers and provides education as well low or reduced cost recommendations to ensure the environment is safe for those with asthma.

Advocacy takes different forms and they are all important work that helps support the wellbeing of all. Apart from this realization, I was able to take more time to learn about asthma prevention. With all of the great information I was provided, it was so fascinating to see how professionals in this specialization of public health are so well versed in various areas. There are many different things to keep in mind and notice when treating or caring for someone with asthma. It was also a great month in terms of preparing and coordinating all the wonderful things we have planned for asthma month. I’m looking forward to everyone seeing what we have planned. As always, I look forward to see what the month of May has in store.