Coordinator of the Month: Travis Croom | November 2019
Name: Travis Croom
Hometown: New Braunfels, Texas
College Attended / Graduating Class / Major: The University of Texas at Austin / Class of 2015 / B.A. in Geography
UT Health School of Public Health / Class of 2018 / Master’s in Public Health
HealthCorps School Placement / City / State: YES Prep Gulfton / Houston / Texas
Fun Fact: I have an identical twin brother.
Question #1: Why did you choose HealthCorps?
The multi-faceted nature of health has always been a draw for me as there are so many avenues that one can pursue in the field. From shaping the built environment, affecting health-conscious policy reform, and impacting positive behavioral changes at the individual and population level, there are so many directions one can take as a public health professional. I chose HealthCorps because as a program coordinator you get to dip your toes in all the different aspects of a robust public health practice. I saw HealthCorps as a great opportunity to not only put my education to work but to launch me forward into a successful career in public health.
Question #2: What role do you play in your school(s) beyond “HealthCorps Coordinator”?
As I coordinator in a school new to HealthCorps I have learned to trade in favors and pick up lunch duties or dismissal duties on campus. The staff at my school can be spread thin at times and being able to pick up even a 10-minute dismissal duty for a teacher can go a long way in opening doors for HealthCorps programming and forming relationships with the staff.
For the students one of the chief roles I believe that I serve is remaining not only visible throughout the day but also visibly positive. If they can see me in the halls with a happy disposition it only helps lend to a warm and welcoming atmosphere on campus.
Question #3: What have you learned during your placement so far? What has surprised you most?
I have learned that I am more of a self-starter than I previously thought. This is really the first position where I have had so much autonomy over how my days are planned out and how I implement the program materials. The coordinator position with HealthCorps can really serve as a blank canvas to grow your initiative and hone your independence in the workplace as a marketable skill.
Question #4: What advice would you give to teachers, parents, communities, etc. who are looking to create more programming focused on healthy living for their students?
The Internet is your friend. There are so many organizations out there with prevention and intervention materials that are just waiting to be implemented. A lot of times what an organization needs the most is simply just a way in. You, as an activated community member, can open those doors and welcome important and previously untapped programming into your school or community. First try contacting your local hospital, federally qualified health care provider, or university.
Question #5: What advice do you have for future Coordinators or anyone looking to join health-related fields?
Remaining open and receptive to inspiration. Most people will say that you have to have something that inspires you to pursue a career in health but I’m here to say that, as a younger person just starting out, you don’t necessarily have to have that inspiration yet. What is important is that you are a least looking for that inspiration. Whether that is always trying new things or constantly pushing yourself to new heights. In doing so there will always be something waiting to inspire you.
Question #6: What do you plan to pursue after your placement, and how is your time with HealthCorps helping you achieve that goal?
After my time with HealthCorps is over I plan on pursuing a job in health behavior research and beginning my doctoral studies in public health. Future aspirations include but are not limited to; managing a FQHC’s health outreach programs, contributing to health research literature, or becoming an elected city health official.