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Heartfelt Insights on Public Health Practice from the Dornsife Community

Wall of Wellness

February 29, 2024

During the month of February, the Collective Resilience Fellows at the Dornsife School of Public Health facilitated an activity that explored the power of love in public health through two writing prompts:

  • Why is love important to public health?
  • How do you plan to bring love into your work in public health?

Public health students, staff, and faculty stopped by Nesbitt Hall’s Collaboratory to write down their thoughts and add them to a colorful and moving “Wall of Wellness” heart collage.

Below are some of the contributions from the Dornsife community in their own words:

Themes of Connection:

  • “A lot of our work is heart work. I choose to be kind to everyone I meet every day. I choose to remain authentic in my work.”
  • “Forming bonds of trust. Expressing empathy.”
  • “Love my community and strive for the best. Come ready to listen and keep an open mind.”
  • “Promote love by promoting good health and wellness.”
  • “Love is very important to public health. I plan on being more humane in my approach to my work.”
  • “Love prompts developing respect, empathy, consideration, and caring for everyone. I plan to be an active listener and remain open-minded to different viewpoints.”
  • “I plan to bring love in by focusing on the whole person and listening intently with grace.”
  • “Love in public health for me is brotherhood. We’re all trying our best to love and live healthy.”

Themes of Dedication:

  • “We’re all human beings. Remember that data sets represent and impact real lives.”
  • “Love in public health breeds humanity, compassion, and peace. Listen, create space, smile.”
  • “Love in public health is dedication to work for a community’s betterment.”
  • “Love keeps people hopeful for a better future. Continue to build community and inviting spaces at Dornsife.”
  • “Spreading love in the ways that we show up for our students, colleagues, and communities.”
  • “Love in public health is curiosity! Listen to ideas. Listen with an open mind.”
  • “Love is important to public health because the most impactful work always comes from compassion. I plan to approach work in public health with empathy, care, and as much tact as I am capable of.”

Themes of Motivation:

  • “Being kind at all times…in my work and interactions is how I’ll bring love into public health.”
  • “Public health is about providing to your community. It’s important to show love to the people and community.“
  • “To stay motivated in challenging times we need to bring love to our work. I will bring active listening and care into my conversations as I support our students.”
  • “Love is the most important expression of humanity. I plan to bring love to public health by centering community in my work.”
  • “Love in public health is like ‘walking barefoot on morning grass.’ It changes how you feel everything around you!!
  • “Love drives me to work for my fellow people, improving health for us all! I plan to show my love for the environment by protecting it. I plan to love the communities I work with.”

The Collective Resilience Fellows reflected on what this effort meant to them:

“We believe the event presented a great opportunity for our school community to reflect on how they can incorporate mindfulness, meaning, and love into their daily work. This is a significant achievement for us.” -Raksha Shastry.

"In the heart of public health, love is the driving force that connects us all. Through compassion, dedication, and motivation, we weave a tapestry of wellness that transcends data sets and statistics. As a Collective Resilience Fellow, witnessing the Dornsife community express their commitment to love in their work is a powerful reminder that humanity and care are the cornerstones of true public health impact. Let this 'Wall of Wellness' stand as a testament to our shared journey, where love propels us forward, fosters connections, and inspires a collective dedication to the well-being of all." - Richa Prajapati

students gather for 'listening from the heart' session

In addition to the Wall of Wellness, the fellows also organized an event titled "Listening from the Heart" (pictured on the right). This event was dedicated to fostering genuine connections through active listening and emotional expression.

Facilitated by Alie Huxta, Korah Lovelace, and Sherita Mouzon, each trained professionals from the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, the event created a safe space where every voice was valued and every emotion was acknowledged.

The first tool they introduced was from the Sanctuary Model™ called Community Meeting. It is a simple go-around of three questions that groups can do weekly or more to find out how everyone in a group is feeling and what they need. After everyone practiced the community meeting, they then practiced active listening. Active listening simply entailed repeating back what they heard the person say to show they heard them and that they understood.

"This simple act is a huge relief to many, because you don’t have to have a solution, advice, relate, or even say anything new! It’s all about being with someone in their time of strife, not rescuing them. We all have the intention to show up for ourselves and each other, and these tools can help you do it in a way that won’t cause burn out and overwhelm," said Huxta.

"Since the pandemic there has been an increase in mental health crises and many are having a hard time supporting themselves and their loved ones through the stress and pain they are feeling. This event provided participants with simple tools to directly address the question: How can I support myself and my peers through this time?" said Huxta.

These activities were coordinated by Collective Resilience Fellows Richa Prakashkumar Prajapati, Raksha KR Shastry, and Divya Chanda. The Fellows work with Cindy Ngo, Student Engagement & Event Coordinator, to plan and create programs to foster connection and build collective resilience during the academic year.

Learn more about the fellowship and this year’s fellows:

Meet the Collective Resilience Fellows