What a year it was… for me and surely for all of you! I look back on 2021 with great professional satisfaction.
My work with Partners In Health on the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative, a COVID contact tracing project, was a massive undertaking, to say the least. We build a COVID-19 contact tracing program in a matter of weeks. I had the responsibility of training contact tracers and case investigators who made more than 3 million phone calls to those diagnosed with COVID and their close contacts. We built a call-center, trained thousands of people, all while COVID guidance was ever evolving. I also started a well-received peer support program within our COVID response. Our team of peer supporters reached out to their colleagues who need support, run wellness activities, and proactively insert wellness activities into the every-day.
This role allowed me to grow tremendously professionally, strengthen my skills, and build entirely new ones. Much of my growth had to do with the sheer scale of our work. I’ve never onboarded so many people at once, sometimes 1000! I’ve never supervised such a big team, coming in at about 75 at the height. Other components of my role were completely new to me. Never have I ever supervised an entirely virtual team. While contact tracing is the backbone and a foundation of public health, I’ve also only been involved with contact tracing peripherally with my work as an HIV counselor. This work has also strengthened my core beliefs in public health as a tool for social justice. It has also reinforced my own supervisory practices around team building, trust, and goal setting and in this case re-setting, re-setting, and re-setting a million times over.
My work at Partners In Health was meant to be a three-month contract that ended up being a 20-month job. As such, I accepted a few other contracts over the course of the year, too.
I worked with ICAP to build a training for clinical providers on event-driven PrEP. I loved working on this contract as it brought me back to my HIV prevention roots and, amazingly, the training materials are the first of their kind.
I also worked with the ICAP Kenya team on building a set of training materials for community health volunteers on cancer. I worked with a broad group of folks from the Ministry of Health and several NGOs and cancer alliances. It was so very gratifying to have a final product that the varied stakeholders all found useful, valuable, and reflective of their own objectives.
In the summer of 2021, I worked with the CDC’s immunization team to host a series of trainings on leadership and management. It was a wonderful and timely project as the team was exceptionally busy with COVID and transitioning their teams to virtual work — both of which require exceptional leadership and management skills.
I also love working with former colleagues… and 2021 brought that opportunity to me not once but twice! I worked with a former colleague who is now at Combined Jewish Philanthropies to create a few professional development workshops. I am currently supporting Girls LEAP to build out new training materials for them on violence prevention and self defense.
And now, looking into 2022!
I look at 2022 with a lot of optimism and hope for what comes next. In fact, as I think back to my first post here, in January of 2018, I have the same level of excitement. Now, that excitement is matched by a tremendous satisfaction in doing what I love and HOW I love to do it.
What do YOU have going on in your world? Please reach out if you would like to work together. I am open to new opportunities and contracts.