Taking a position that is not overtly “MCH” might not make sense for many graduating students or public health professionals; Elyse Chadwick reminds us that a winding career path can be fun – and open doors to new experiences and skills! Chadwick started her education in Journalism, receiving her BA from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996. Later, she launched her public health career in a position born from her field experience – a requirement for her Master’s in Public Health – at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Working there as the State Refugee Health Coordinator helped her build many skills and important relationships with other public health agencies in Minnesota. Since then she has worked as a MCH Health Educator and a Prenatal Health Education Coordinator. Now, she works as the Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Elk Grove Unified School District in California.
“My interest in this area stemmed from serving as a volunteer Safe Routes to School Coordinator for my kids’ elementary school in Oakland.”
With so many important avenues to pursue in the field of Maternal and Child Health, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Chadwick’s advice to anyone pursuing a similar path includes job shadowing, networking, and generally getting (and staying) connected to other students and professionals.
“Overall, it’s possible to find interesting and meaningful public health work no matter where you are. Nurture the connections you’ve built in graduate school and in your professional life. You never know exactly how the puzzle may all fit together, but it often does.”
Read more about Chadwick’s professional path and current work in this Healthy Generations article.