In my experience it’s not very often that you get to combine your public health work with your hobbies, particularly when your outside interests include the arts as mine do. However, in my current role I am for the first time being able to do both daily, which has been exciting, rewarding and challenging!

For the last two months I have been working with the UK Faculty of Public Health (FPH) communications and policy team. They cover a lot of ground and I’m involved in several workstreams, but the main piece of work that I ‘own’ is the planning, implementation and promotion of their photography competition #PublicHealthLooksLike.

As the name suggests, the competition is aiming to improve the way FPH represent their members (i.e. the public health workforce) by showcasing what public health work really looks like in the UK and around the world, rather than using stereotypical ‘stock photo’ images of attractive models with stethoscopes. They’re offering some great prizes including £250 and a year’s free membership, but most importantly they’re planning an exhibition in London featuring the top ten photographs to celebrate the amazing diversity of public health.

Although the competition has only been running for six weeks and doesn’t close till October 19th, it’s already been incredibly inspiring to see both the engagement from public health professionals and the early entries coming in. I suppose we all know in the abstract that public health is a broad church, with people working in so many different areas, but there’s a big difference between knowing that and actually seeing it visually. We’ve had photos of anything and everything, from people supervising walking groups in the sunny English countryside to members hosting immunisation clinics in the Middle East.

From a personal point of view, I’ve loved being able to engage with potential entrants online, encouraging them to recognise their talents and the incredible work that they do every day without probably realising how interesting and engaging that might be to other people. It’s made me think seriously about how little I talk about or share my own public health work, and try to (slowly) increase the amount of personal and professional engagement I do on Twitter and other social networks. We should all talk more about what we do, because it’s often only by hearing and seeing the experiences of others that we become inspired to seek out new challenges – that’s partly why networks such as Euronet are so important.

The competition is still running, and I would definitely recommend Euronet members enter to showcase the work that we all do on a daily basis across Europe! You can enter up to five photos through the competition website. If you’re on Twitter it would be fantastic if you could take 10 seconds to RT this tweet to publicise the competition across Europe more widely, and if you fancy following either @FPH or me personally you can find us there as well.

I look forward to seeing your entries! If anyone is interested in hearing more about the competition or attachments with FPH, please just drop me an email at rachel.thomson8@nhs.net.

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Rachel Thomson
Public Health Resident
UK Faculty of Public Health, London