Community health education alum share how COVID-19 has changed their work
With degrees focused on promoting health, preventing disease and improving the quality of life through education, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Health Science graduates are finding their roles changing because of COVID-19.
Protecting the Community
Pa Houa “PH” Moua, BS, Community Health Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Community Health Specialist, Olmsted County Public Health Services, Rochester, Minn.
“’You have been activated.’ Four words that changed my day-to-day work in an instant. Before being activated to assist with duties related to COVID-19, I worked on the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) worksite wellness and tobacco prevention strategies. The priorities of mini-grant management and meeting with community partners are now working from home screening phone calls, managing volunteers and providing virtual education to organizations on COVID-19. I don’t know how long this will last or when I’ll get back to my day-to-day duties, but I do know public health is at the forefront and will continue to prevent, promote and protect the community.”
Shifting the Message
Liz Heimer, MS, CHES, Community Health Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato; health promotion specialist, American Lung Association and membership chair, Minnesota Society for Public Health (MN-SOPHE)
“As someone focused on tobacco prevention and controlling the youth vaping epidemic, we are slightly shifting our messaging. At this time, we are aware that although youth vaping is not the immediate threat we face, using smoking or vaping products can increase risk for COVID-19 complications. Our organization is stressing the message that keeping your lungs healthy by refraining from smoking or vaping is an important protective factor during this pandemic."