I was thinking if there were any work-related things I could pull into for a story idea this week. I work with a lot of people in the field of public health. You may be asking yourself “What is public health?” Sounds kind of crunchy and idealistic, huh? Well it can be those things, but what struck me was how much I hear from public health practitioners how difficult it is to describe their work. Public health is many things–clean drinking water, seatbelts in cars, restaurant ratings from the health department, warning labels on cigarettes, vaccinating babies–that all add up to keeping a population healthy (whereas a doctor keeps the individual healthy). However, when public health succeeds, you don’t hear about it. You only hear about public health when something goes wrong: an outbreak of food-borne illness, when there is a vaccine shortage, when obesity reaches epidemic levels, etc. How could I help tell the story of public health? There are so many miracle stories from the field–eradicating (wiping it off the face of the earth forever!!) smallpox, for instance–I know I would have a wealth of information to work with. It would be a matter of finding the most engaging angle and going from there. Perhaps ghosts of diseases past- from the perspective of a previous public health problem like polio, smallpox, untreated drinking water, etc.