Danielle Pettit-Majewski enjoys the diversity of her work. As the Public Health Administrator for Washington County, this 2010 graduate of the UI College of Public Health might be educating the public about the importance of vaccines one day and making a presentation about distracted driving the next.
“There are so many public health aspects of daily life that people don’t often see or think about,” she says. “I love seeing the impact we’re able to have on the community.”
According to Pettit-Majewski, an essential part of her job is building partnerships and generating engagement from community collaborators, and she noted that her education at the College of Public Health emphasized those concepts. “We learned that collaborating with our peers and community partners is absolutely essential if we want to make a difference. We were encouraged to think outside of the box and be open to new ideas. Public health doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and we have to be willing and able to meet people where they are.”
Her interest in public health was stirred during her senior year as an undergrad at the UI when she took a class called ‘Child Abuse and Neglect.’ She remembers one textbook in particular that discussed sexual abuse as a public health epidemic. “It really resonated with me that by emphasizing prevention, we’re saving children from a potential lifetime of physical and emotional scars, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Since graduating, she has worked in both primary care and public health which, she thinks, have provided her with a unique perspective of the total health care continuum. She says it was eye-opening to learn how different local public health work is from academic public health, but adds, “The public health professionals that work within the agency have provided me with an invaluable education and the passion they have for their work is amazing.”
Pettit-Majewski enjoys living and working in Washington and is engaged in the life of the community. She volunteers on a number of boards and councils, participates in Community Theater, and volunteers with Junior Achievement.
“I love Washington,” she said. “It is a welcoming, charming town. My husband and I have met the most amazing people, and we have fabulous neighbors. The people in this community are progressive and committed to helping make the community an even better place.”