Black History Month Spotlight: Interview by Joréal Eady, BSPH (c)

Joreal Eady was born and raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The young servant leader graduated from Discovery High School in 2017. Joreal has always been involved in humanitarian work and has had the highest degree of honesty, integrity and transparency, necessary for human welfare. She also possesses excellent traits of cultural sensitivity and empathy. Thus, she began chasing her career in Public Health due to such qualities.

As an undergraduate student, Joreal has formerly served as President, Treasurer, and Social Media Coordinator of the Public Health Student Association. Her resilience, teamwork, management and adequate communication skills led her to become a member of the American Public Health Association, American Medical Student Association, Oklahoma Area Health Education Center Scholars program, and Oklahoma Public Health Association. In May 2021, she is expected to graduate with her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Langston University and proceed in her professional career.

Right when COVID-19 emerged, the pandemic allowed her to play the role of a COVID-19 Case Investigator for the Georgia Department of Public Health. The opportunity allowed her to enhance her communication skills, interaction with diverse communities, tackle complex matters, and administer, compile, analyze and manage data and information. Although healthcare is a challenging profession, her passion for the medical field is massive. This spring Joreal intends to do an internship with The Lighthouse, a non-profit vision & hearing clinic for Georgia’s uninsured residents. After graduation, she aims to pursue a Master of Public Health degree at Georgia Southern University in order to help meet the needs in her community.

Solving Public Health’s Problems

The interview illustrates the interviewee’s journey from studying, occupation, and venturing to start her business. The innovative skills of the interviewee can be gleaned from the interview. For instance, she narrates how she ventured into the unknown world to follow her natural passions. As a result, she overcame the difficulties in the path and eventually established a meaningful organization. Therefore, her journey shows the power of passion in developing an individual’s carrier and attitude in life. Her original career pursuit of pleasing her mother did not satisfy her due to a lack of interest in the job. However, after following her convictions to help people in the manner she deemed efficient, she improved to become a more useful society member. Therefore, the interviewee’s life is a perfect lesson book for current students, especially in this competitive world.

The interviewee’s journey through life has multiple implications for students dreaming of becoming health practitioners. First, the interviewee’s diversion from her original major to focus on providing expertise and technical research analysis for undergraduate students and professional empowers students to follow their passions in choosing the branch of healthcare they wish to practice for the rest of their lives. Moreover, her persistent self-development and fortitude to overcome barriers to achieve her dreams should inspire upcoming students to prepare themselves to manage the challenges that may present difficulties for realizing their ultimate goals. The challenges should offer additional determination to ensure a solution to society’s healthcare problems. Besides, her interview suggests that practicing and training healthcare professionals should be open-minded to see healthcare delivery’s daily problems. For instance, the interviewee highlights that public health covers every aspect of people’s lives. As such, her interview is critical for students and practicing healthcare officers even as they advance their careers.

Interview Questions by Joreal Eady

Interview with LaTonya Bynum, CEO, MPH, CHES

 

  1. Explain your involvement with URA Resource Center, LLC.

Thank you for the opportunity to complete these interview questions. I really appreciate your interest in me and my work. I am the Founder and CEO of URA Resource Center, LLC which is a public health consulting firm established in Conway, Arkansas. URA stands for Utilizing Research for Access. The goal of the organization is to provide expertise in creative/technical writing, research analysis and technical training. After ~13 years of working at the Arkansas Department of Health, I decided to take a leap of faith into the unknown to start my first small business. My ultimate purpose in doing this work is to serve as a resource professional to students, graduates, professionals and fellow consultants.

2. Why did you choose this career?

In my undergraduate studies at the University of Central Arkansas, it took me a while to find what I wanted to major in. At first, I thought I wanted to be an X-Ray Technologist to help fulfil my mother’s dream and that didn’t really interest me. All I knew is that I wanted to help people because I knew what it felt like to be out here in the world needing help yet continually getting overlooked. A guidance counselor told me about the field of health education and came to find out that it was the same major that my college roommate had chosen too. It was perfect timing to find out that there was a field where I could do all the things I loved doing naturally – helping others.

3. How do you plan on focusing your job to help target public health issues?

To target public health issues, my daily focus is to share resources that I am using for my own small business, career advancement and personal development. The main issue that I focus on is Economic Stability which is a Social Determinant of Health. Without access to quality food, clothes, water and shelter then there is no advancement within the community. I follow the Each One Reach One motto and it allows me to identify at least one person to share what I wish I would have known early on. These conversations have led to over 1,000s of lives being positively transformed because of something I said or did.

4. What public health issues are you passionate about?

As a certified health education specialist, I am really passionate about Infant Mortality which is the primary way to understand community health. I am passionately curious as to why the infant mortality rate for Blacks is three times as high as in other races. There are many research studies that touch on several causes yet honestly based on my own experience as a mother, wife, public health leader – I realize that the community really doesn’t care about the survival of a black baby. The numbers tell the truth! I am passionate about Health Disparities, Community Health and Information Technology.

5. Explain the importance of your public health issues.

Public health is in everything we see, say, do, think and definitely where we go. As you see with COVID19 Coronavirus all the attention and focus has been placed on public health. Sad to say but it takes something as terrible as an infectious disease to wake people up to look at the community issues. It is important because everyone is affected and everyone is responsible now for protecting and promoting health. It is important to ride the attention and funding waves when it comes to public health because if you don’t do your work, your program and your community will be overlooked for opportunities to advance.

6.What issues are current in place (barriers, etc)?

In my experience, the main issue is lack of self-confidence when it comes to identifying problems then becoming a solution. I know we see the issues but some of us turn a blind eye to what the community issues are. The issues are still very basic for so many community members – food, water, shelter and clothing. No one person or household is exempt from having to think about the basic needs for human life. A huge barrier for many is tapping into the often overlooked local, state, regional and federal level resources.

7. How do you plan on fighting it in the present and future?

The strategic plan for URA Resource Center, LLC is to continue to organize resources, train emerging leaders and offer products / services to the community. Currently, the organization has 2 interns in the URA Resource Internship-Mentorship program. The interns will be working on developing toolkits to be used with students, graduates and professionals with an interest in Economic Stability for themselves and their community members. In the future, the 40+ programs offered by the organization will have an assigned point of contact person to offer community solutions where there is an identified need.

8. How important is a graduate degree, designation, or additional certificate in this field?

To master and perfect the art and science of public health, it is important to have higher education whether it be a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate. However to do public health work effectively it is important to constantly train as a community health worker to understand the pulse of what is often overlooked and not detailed in many public health books. I highly encourage anyone interested in their own health or in public health to take no cost FREE trainings on Train.org which is a publicly accessible website to learn more about public health issues such as COVID19, Grant Writing, Communication, Leadership, Procurement and other topics. To be designated as a professional, it is important to continually educate oneself on emerging public health topics. Earning certificates using Train.org is a first step in becoming resourceful.

9. Are you a member of any professional orders or associations? Which ones do you feel are the most important to belong to?

I am a member of several local, state and national public health organizations yet the one where I have had the most return on investment in time, networking potential and money – Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International is a great resource for building self-confidence in Communication and Leadership. I have been a member for over 7 years and from the training I have been able to learn to share my personal story in order to better connect with others. This has made me a better mother, wife, daughter, friend and professional leader for the community. I think everyone and their momma should join their nearest club. Clubs are meeting virtually during the pandemic. Check them out at toastmastersinternational.org

10. What advice would you like to have heard when you were starting out?

I wish someone would have shown me how to be fearless when I started out as a secretary at the Arkansas Department of Health. I had the education yet I didn’t have the experience necessary to empower change in order to transform lives.

11. What is your leadership style?

My leadership style is transformational in nature so I am very nurturing and focused on learning through experience of listening closely to evaluate the person and their current situation – this is called high emotional intelligence. I left the Arkansas Department of Health because my next level was to become a supervisor. I didn’t want to supervise anyone because I had seen other supervisors who were not fully engaged with their employees because of agency policy, past experiences and other issues. I said to myself if I supervise then I want to do it my way so this is the ultimate reason for starting my own small business to keep myself out of trouble from saying the things that need to be said or doing the things that need to be done.

12. How did you reach the position you are currently in?

At a national conference, I met a nice lady at a conference who sat down with me over breakfast. We talked about the ins and outs of her position and mine. It was a GREAT conversation. As we wrapped up from breakfast, she told me that she was going to have me come  to her state and speak to her group about my work in Arkansas. To my surprise, a couple of days later she called and asked me to come to her state and share my resources. This is when I thought to myself it was past time to start my small business officially and file the paperwork with the Secretary of State Office. In three days, I became a small business owner and here I am four years later still going strong with more wisdom since that breakfast.

13. What is an obstacle you have encountered in your job and how did you come back from it?

Recently two women took what I said in confidence to them in the wrong way. I realize that I am wearing so many hats these days and really didn’t slow down to fully explain my point of view to make sure they understood my position. In this business, communication is important and I have now learned to reach people at their level and remember that I didn’t always know what I know now. From this experience, I am learning to ask more questions before sharing resources and experience. In 2021, I am going with the 90-10 rule for asking at least 9 questions before I provide 1 resource.

14. What are your long-term personal and professional goals?

My long-term personal goal is to become a better mom to my 3 kids and an amazing wife to my husband of 13 years – in order to do this I will have to focus on self-care to avoid healthcare. Professionally, I want to work on automating my 20 revenue generating programs in order to have more time to deepen relationships and share valuable resources.

 

To connect with Joreal Eady, BSPH (c), go to LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/joreal-eady/

To learn more about the Interviewee LaTonya Bynum, CEO, MPH, CHES, go to LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/latonyabynum/

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