Reading content has played, and continues to play, a huge role in my life. I have spent many days reading blogs, articles, and books, as well as many nights browsing Ted Talks, Youtube, and Reddit. I find that while I am not always able to surround myself with like-minded people (or even non-like-minded people for that matter), reading makes me feel that someone understands my questions, my thoughts, and my struggles. In the process, I have gained so many important insights that helped shape my philosophy, career, relationships, and goals; in other words, the curious person I am today.
I also learned to recognize that some content may not always be useful, and at times, says nothing new. Rather, it repeats what others have said about the same subject. Even worse is when content is not based on credible evidence and leads to misunderstandings. In the field of public health, where communication is at the core of effective public health, getting the content and messaging right is crucial. Applying critical thinking can help distinguish between what is and what is not credible.
“The activity of reading does not stop with the work of understanding…It must be completed by the work of criticism, the work of judging” (Adler & Van Dore, 1940, p. 137).
My name is Steven and I am a public health researcher and program evaluator. Like most people who went into public health, I am interested in improving people’s lives. Perhaps unlike most others, however, I am very curious about human rationality and motivations, and these influences on behaviour. Not surprisingly then, I was drawn to the field of program evaluation, which is concerned with defining realistic goals, exploring ways to reach goals, and understanding when such goals have been reached.
Since graduating from a Masters of Public Health program in 2015, I have been involved in the research and evaluation of a number of public health initiatives, which brought me to different parts of the world (e.g. Tanzania, Kunming, Hanoi, Thailand). I have read, researched, and published on various issues including drinking water, infectious diseases, waste management, natural environment, and food safety (see my ResearchGate profile here). These articles appear in peer-reviewed journals, and while I appreciate the importance of peer-review in ensuring quality, I also recognize some major limitations. More specifically, in reaching public audiences in a timely and engaging manner.
I decided to create sunao.ca to share some of my thoughts on current public health without being so “academic”. I plan to explore what and how research is being done, along with the evidence generated. Through this, we can judge the credibility of the findings, and ensure that what we are reading, is important and useful.
An example would help illustrate… but its coming soon, bear with me!
That’s all for now. What are your thoughts? Are you concerned with the credibility of public health information that you come across? Let me know in the comments section, and thank you for visiting!