Ten Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Became a Health Officer

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Public health, like politics, is the art of the possible. To maximize effectiveness, public health officers in any jurisdiction should (1) get good data and ensure timely and effective dissemination; (2) prioritize and tackle more difficult initiatives first; (3) find, fight, and win winnable battles in areas where progress is possible but not ensured without focused, strategic effort; (4) support and hire great people and protect them so they can do their jobs; (5) address communicable diseases and environmental health effectively; (6) do not cede the clinical realm-public health programs depend on clinical care and on effective coordination between health care and public health; (7) learn and manage the budget cycle; (8) manage the context; (9) never surprise their boss; and (10) follow core principles.

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