Each year, Health Professions Week gives those who want to make caring their career an opportunity to connect with professionals working in the field. This year’s event, which takes place November 6-10, will help attendees explore all of the opportunities they have for entering this fulfilling field. Those who are new to Health Professions Week may wonder what to expect, so we asked for some insight from Sue Barrosse, MBA, MSPH, director of admissions for the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
“Last year, my school focused on the timely and present-day concerns surrounding the Zika Virus for our ‘Community Connect’ event within Health Professions Week,” shared Sue. “We brought in faculty and professionals with expertise on this topic, and we partnered with other university areas such as Disaster Resilience, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences to show how these different types of professionals were involved in fighting the spread of the virus and educating the public.”
Those who are planning on attending the event can expect more programming that highlights current public health issues. Tulane, for one, is partnering with New Orleans historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to not only draw attention to current issues, but to also share how it responds through research and applied methods.
With so many exciting ways to participate, it can be overwhelming to plan for this yearly event. Sue suggests four key ways that attendees can make the most out of Health Professions Week.
1. Come prepared
“One of the great things about Health Professions Week is that universities like Tulane have the flexibility to plan their own unique events with different types of formats,” shared Sue. This means that you have plenty of options for interacting with health care professionals in the way that best fits your needs. Sue suggests that you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the options for participating and to narrow down which admissions staff you’d like to connect with during the week. “If there are admissions staff at a school you are considering applying to, make sure to find them, introduce yourself and prepare a list of questions.”
2. Get involved
It’s never too early to make a good impression with the people who will review your applications later on. Sue advises becoming more than just a passive participant in events like Health Professions Week. Lend a hand during online events like this and during in-person events, too. “Ask before the event if there are opportunities to help organize, promote or run the event. Perhaps you can help escort guest speakers, check-in attendees or help with social media?”
3. Expand your focus
There will be quite a bit of information available to you throughout Health Professions Week. Sue’s suggestion: Don’t narrow your focus too much. “Not only attend events that are related to your interests, but also those that are only somewhat related. If you don’t have a lot of experience talking to professionals or faculty, questions about their career path and what advice they have for someone interested in their work are great topics to get a conversation started.”
Once Health Professions Week is over, you’ve got some following up to do: “When you finish a conversation, ask for a business card or be sure to write down your new contact’s name so you can look up their contact information. Email and LinkedIn are easy and professional ways to stay in touch.”
4. Do your part to promote Health Professions Week
Now that you’re ready for this November’s Health Professions Week, your next step is spreading the news. “To make the event more fun and interactive, bring along friends with similar career goals,” concluded Sue. “But, make sure you talk to the professionals and educators in attendance, not just each other.”