May 15, 2024
Image of HotTopics logo with opaque photo grid behind

Hot Topics in Practice, from 2004 to today!

Hot Topics in Practice, also referred to as Hot Topics, is a monthly webinar forum produced by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP). Hot Topics addresses relevant topics for public health professionals across the Northwest.

As Hot Topics prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary, we sat down with Barb Rose, Training and Outreach Manager with NWCPHP, to discuss the program's impacts.

“Hot Topics grew out of post-9/11 preparedness programs and the very first episode was focused on SARS,” Barb explained. “At the time, webinars were a new and exciting way for people to use technology for remote learning programs. In the twenty years since Hot Topics started, we’ve had nearly thirty-thousand people participate in these webinars.”

Hot Topics has covered a wide variety of subjects impacting public health leaders, managers, and frontline staff. “We’ve been fortunate to have some of the most thoughtful and interesting leaders in the public health world share their expertise and knowledge with us on this platform,” Barb noted.

“We’ve run sessions focused on racism as a public health crisis, the intersection of reproductive justice and public health, and public health approaches to the opioid epidemic. We recently had a session on how emerging technologies such as AI can be used to support data analysis, decision making and communications in the public health realm. And this upcoming session in May will explore how public health agencies can support a new generation of younger practitioners who are entering the field.”

While the subjects have changed over the years, the program’s focus has remained consistent. “We’re committed to ensuring this is a regional forum that sparks conversations about relevant topics to public health practitioners,” Barb said. “We always want this to be more of a discussion than a lecture series, and we keep presentations concise so there’s time for conversational engagement and peer-based learning.”

“The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice is extremely committed to implementing diversity, equity and inclusion principles, and Hot Topics is no exception.” Barb continued. “We want to ensure that we’re hearing voices of people who haven’t always had access to the mic, such as people of color and younger people.”

While Hot Topics is presented live once a month, all of the program’s past episodes are available for free online. “The really cool thing about this content is that it’s searchable,” Barb noted. “All these presentations are archived by subject matter, which makes this an amazing resource for practitioners looking to learn more about topics applicable to their work.”

Barb pointed out that because NWCPHP has been creating Hot Topics for twenty years, they’ve learned a lot about how to put together a successful webinar. “By this point we’ve accumulated a lot of expertise on this subject, so a few years ago we put together a free resource guide to help other public health organizations implement some of the best practices that we’ve learned.”

Visit the Center’s website to register for upcoming sessions, to search for archived episodes, and to access the free webinar resource guide.