Akbar Husain

When did you begin your Fellowship?
July 1, 2011

Where is your Fellowship?
The Division of Public Health Western Regional Office in Eau Claire, WI

What were you up to prior to your Fellowship?
Before becoming a fellow I was completing my MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!). While in Ann Arbor I was working on cross-site evaluations of two project; the first focusing on access to fresh foods and the built environment and the second on childhood asthma in Missouri. In addition, I worked with various organizations in the Twin Cities developing programs and policies around the issues of tobacco policy and cancer screening.

What inspired you to take the Fellowship route rather than a different type of job/school/etc.?
I knew I didn’t want to pursue anymore school because I wanted to gain more practical experience in the public health field. The idea of becoming a fellow appealed to me more than a regular job because I felt that it would allow me to engage in public health work more broadly. The flexibility within the fellowship program is something I would not be able to experience as a regular employee.

What are your main areas of interest within public health?
Health disparities, evaluation, built environment.

What is one thing (or many!) you are working on right now in your fellowship?
Working at the regional office has really allowed me to become exposed to a variety of public health issues because it requires close collaboration with local health departments. My main projects will focus on providing technical assistance to local health departments as they work through the process of becoming accredited. In addition I will be working with health departments on their Community Health Improvement Process & Plans (CHIPP).

What is one public health-related activity in your community that you are proud about?
I am new to Eau Claire, but I have been very impressed by the city’s and surrounding area’s push to make the alternative forms of transportation such as walking and biking accessible and normative. There are a lot of options for outdoor recreation.

What is one public health achievement you think will happen in the next 25 years? What is one you would like to see in the next 25 years?
I would really like to see the public health world continue to value the wealth of knowledge that community members have when it comes to developing solutions to our most pressing health issues. Academics and public health officials have valuable skills and access to resources, but community members are the experts when it comes to identifying what will and will not work in their communities.