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Ann Sedgwick

  1. What was your Undergrad Institution and Major?
    Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from San Diego State University.
  2. What encouraged you to pursue this health communication degree?
    After a long career in advertising working on campaigns for consumer packaged goods, I migrated to working on campaigns for hospitals and health care systems which felt much more personally satisfying. Eventually this led me to leave the world of advertising and accept a job as Director of Creative Content in the marketing department of Northwestern Medicine.While I felt very confident in my ability to market a healthcare system, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of not only how a large hospital system is run but a broader sense of how the US health care system works. I wanted to learn not only why US healthcare is so complicated and problematic, but how I could create more substantial ways to foster greater health literacy, stronger patient engagement and affect change on a deeper level. I believed a degree in Health Communication would help me put the work I was creating into a larger context in order to forge more meaningful connections to both current and prospective patients.
  3. What are your career goals?
    My career goal is to have a larger role in leading a creative department in a healthcare setting by combining my creative skillset with what I have learned in the program to foster collaboration and create more effective communications.
  4. Any tips on balancing school, work, and life?
    I am a list maker. It has helped me to list all my assignments and readings and block out which tasks I was going to tackle on which day. I am a firm believer in knowing when to take breaks and knowing when to stop.  I sat up late one night after a long day of work staring at my computer, tired and frustrated because I could not make sense of how I was going to structure a paper. I decided to just go to bed. After a good night of sleep, I woke up, sat down at my computer and the structure came to me effortlessly. Sometimes you need to give your brain a break even when you are convinced you do not have the time to spare.
  1. How do you practice self-care while in the program?
    Many of us spend a great deal of time in front of the computer screen in our jobs. This program requires that we spend even more time hunched over our desktops. I strongly recommend scheduling a massage a couple times during the quarter. Your neck and shoulders will thank you.  I also recommend letting go of the idea of a perfectly clean house, at least temporarily.  Everything won’t be perfect and letting of this self-imposed expectation relieves a lot of stress. Another way I practiced self-care was to impose a self-ban on wine drinking on Fridays. Saturdays can be very long and even a glass or two can make me drag the next day. Plus, there’s always Saturday night!
  1. How have you been able to use the current content in your work?
    As I write this, I am only 5 weeks into the program, and I am amazed at how often I have already been able to take what I have learned here and apply it to my job.  One example is a presentation I was asked to create to showcase the work Northwestern Medicine does in the community. While I was aware off the concept of Social Determinants of Health, I did not have a deep understanding of the direct and indirect ways these factors affected health. I was able to pull from the materials in class and demonstrate my understanding to create a more powerful and persuasive piece.