Alumna Spotlight: Janet Padilla
Janet Padilla, who came back for her Masters in Public Health after graduating from the Health Science program with a focus in Community Health, says she owes a significant amount of her motivation to the success stories that keep her hopeful about her field of study. "There are patients who have changed their lifestyle and cry to us and thank us for saving their life," she said. Now, Janet has some words of encouragement to offer for other CHHS students who are considering CSULB as their college of choice.
I am currently a Health Education and Wellness Supervisor for AltaMed. I oversee the Health Education programs at AltaMed specifically in Orange County. We currently have classes for AltaMed patients to educate them on Diabetes prevention, Diabetes Management, various chronic conditions such as hypertension and high cholesterol, nutrition classes paired with physical activity and a provider visit.
I have always had a passion for the human body. I was told many times to become a nurse; however, I had no passion for treatment or nursing patients. I had a passion for education. I then linked my 2 passions together (health and education) and decided that Public Health was the best fit for me.
What makes this career challenging is motivating the patients to create change to live a healthier lifestyle. They easily get discouraged and some are not ready for change. Also, being a manager, there are many staff members that you need to be adaptable to as every staff member needs to be managed differently.
Seeing the success stories. There are patients who have changed their lifestyle and cry to us and thank us for saving their life. I have seen unhappy and depressed patients who have came out of depression due to our programs and the friends they meet in the programs.
I utilized as many resources as I could on campus. I constantly made appointments at the Career and Development Center to help me prepare my resume, cover letter, curriculum vitae, and they conducted mock interviews to help me practice. I was also a part of the Health Science Student Association (HSSA) which gave me the opportunity to network and gain ample volunteer experience. The best decision I ever made was working for the NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training. This gave me ample work experience such as nutrition education, program coordination, data management, supervising interns, and so much more. It was the experience I gained through this fellowship that got me my current position.
Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Any experience gained is very important. If you know the field you want to work in, get your foot in the door and start volunteering in that field.
Also, look for fellowships! This not only gives you work experience, it also provides a stipend and other benefits.
Lastly, research what job opportunities are out there. Take a day to pretend that you have already graduated and are looking for a position. Take note on which job descriptions excite you and would like to apply for. Look at the requirements, skills, and experience necessary for those job positions in order to guide you on what you need to gain.