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Public Health Epidemiology Conversations Podcast


Episode #161 Interview with Christina Haswood, MPH, Public Health & State Legislature

Interview with Christina Haswood, MPH, Public Health & State Legislature

On this episode you’ll meet Christina Haswood and learn about her journey into public health, from her Navajo heritage and culture to her public health work in policy, research, and politics for the state of Kansas.

Christina is a public health professional and a candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives in District 10. If elected, Christina would be just the third Native American in Kansas history to be a state legislature.

I found out during the interview that Christina has been a long time listener of the podcast, and in fact, she listened to the podcast throughout her entire MPH program journey!

Listen To The Podcast Episode

Meet Christina Haswood

Christina Haswood is a public health professional and a candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives in District 10. Christina is a lifelong resident of District 10, which is located in the southeast part of Douglas County including Lawrence and Baldwin City, Kansas. She is also a member of the Navajo nation, and if elected, she would be just the third Native American in Kansas history to be a state legislature.

During her candidacy, she expressed how her public health expertise is needed during this unprecedented time. With health policy issues facing the state of Kansas, such as, COVID-19 response, expanding Medicaid, reproductive rights, and protecting Mother Earth, Christina is ready to listen to public health expertise as well as provide it.

She has widespread support by endorsements from many organizations such as Emily’s List, the Kansas National Education Association, the Sunrise Movement of Lawrence Kansas, the Kansas Sierra Club, seven current Kansas state legislators, as well as former Governor Kathleen Sebelius and current Congresswoman Deb Haaland.

Christina won her three-way Democratic primary with 70.72% of the votes and is currently running unopposed for the general election. She is qualified and ready to use her education, passion, and experiences to serve the community that raised her.

Christina's Career Advice To Public Health Students

1. If you don't know what you want to specialize in or which field to go into, do internships! It is a safe environment to fail, you will know what you do and don't like. You can also volunteer and shadow other health professionals. I also did a lot of professional interviews with people. People like to brag about themselves and them talking to you and helping in any way that they can makes them feel good to.

2. Tell EVERYONE what you want to do after school or what you are currently interested in. Get that elevator pitch down in politics it's called a stump speech. Brag about yourself because you are amazing! Don't be shy! Use your student status everywhere! Always email and ask if there is a wavier for students or a travel scholarship. Network with professionals, your peers, and everyone else! Share your personal experiences, it's valuable!

3. Never be sorry for speaking out and brining up issues that make others uncomfortable. It'll be hard at first to carry that much weight of responsibility but it'll get easier.

4. Find a group of people who you vibe with. I co-founded ASU's first public health club and we brought together students who were interested in public health. Now I join a lot of groups and newsletters where I know I can be my normal public health self at, or my normal political self, or my normal Native American or Navajo young self. Attend their events and make your beautiful face and name known.

5. Public health is a dynamic field and if your passion is outside the "normal"/textbook definitions of public health, break that glass ceiling! I had a classmate who was a hairstylist and wanted her MPH because she wanted to improve the workplace environment and improve the environmental issues of the chemicals they use.

Christina's Career Advice To Public Health Graduates

1. Get your foot in the door by volunteering, internships, fellowship, part-time, temporary worker, and tell them the position you are willing to work up to.

2. Go beyond the definition of a public health job and workplace. Now is the time to be gentle to yourself and allow yourself to explore other opportunities. We are also now in a world of technology so you can even start a podcast, blog, Youtube channel, website, etc. Once things get better, you can always come back to public health.

3. If you don't get it the first time, try again but after that maybe now is not the right time for that opportunity. When it's appropriate, ask for feedback on your application. I did this with an internships, got feedback on my resume, reapplied and got into the internship the next year. Since I took that extra step, the organization knew my face and name and saw that I was open to critic and improving myself.

4. Be kind to yourself and others. We are in an unprecedented time and everyone's stress is at an all time high. You are a public health professional so you need to walk the talk on what we say about good health practices and encourage others to do so.

5. Build your network. Grab coffee was my go to pre-pandemic. Now in the age of COVID, schedule a phone call or zoom meeting with people for 15-30 minutes. Be active on social media. Post and share public health content to show your expertise. Be active in these professional groups and other organization groups. Go to the zoom events.

Connect With Christina

Twitter: @HaswoodForKS

Instagram: @HaswoodForKS


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