Improv to Improve! A Novel Approach to Developing PHI Skills
The Making Box’s Improv
Public Health Inspectors use a variety of skills in their every day work: investigation skills, interview skills, enforcement skills, and relationship skills. Multiple skills and unique strategies are required depending on the complexity of the situation at hand. Often there is no script that can guide you through issuing an order to a non-compliant operator, trying to determine the source of an outbreak or even trying to build a relationship with a coworker. Developing the skills to think critically in the moment has traditionally been done through trial and error while on the job, but there may be a more deliberate way to acquire these skills.
Facilitators from The Making-Box (an improv training centre located in Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph) have conducted applied improv sessions with Bachelor of Environmental Public Health students at Conestoga College for the past few years. These sessions were high energy and lots of fun, but also revealed to students and faculty specific application of improv skills to environmental public health practice. Since the sessions were conducted, there has been at least one instance in every class where the use of improv has been noted as helpful.
This workshop will be facilitated by Jay Reid, Director of The Making Box’s Improv for Business program and Cathy Egan, Professor of Bachelor of Environmental Public Health at Conestoga College. Jay will lead participants in interactive improv activities followed by Cathy leading a discussion on the application of these techniques to environmental public health practice. Participants will receive a “cheat sheet” that describes the activities conducted in the workshop and their applications to public health practice, and some useful strategies for becoming more effective in their practice. Participants are almost guaranteed to have FUN as well!