‘The Heart of What KM is All About’

Erin Broas, the 2024 University Experiential Learning Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year, reflects on her time at CCP.
Erin Broas
Erin Broas, middle, won the 2024 University Experiential Learning Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award for her work at CCP. Sara Mazursky, left, and Erica Nybro, right, were among those who nominated her.

Erin Broas is a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) Candidate in Health Education and Health Communication at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society. She recently won the 2024 University Experiential Learning Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award for her work with the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs-led Knowledge SUCCESS project, where she has been working since February 2022, first as a student intern, then completing her field placement requirement with the project, and now working as a student program specialist. Here, she shares some of her experiences.


I have had the privilege of working for Knowledge SUCCESS for more than a year now, a period that has allowed me to grow in my role, to use my skills in communications, event planning and facilitation, and to engage in work that meaningfully protects and advances public health. 

Prior to working at Knowledge SUCCESS, I had little formal expertise in knowledge management (KM), a systematic approach to collecting, curating, and sharing knowledge. However, this work has strengthened an existing passion for ensuring individuals have access to the information they need to work and live effectively – the heart of what KM is all about.

In August 2023, I traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where I supported a knowledge sharing event on integrating COVID-19 vaccination into primary health care. I helped manage registration activities, troubleshoot problems and took photos and videos to document the event. This was both an extension of work I had done collecting and curating resources on the global COVID-19 vaccination response and a humbling opportunity to learn from professionals actively shaping and driving COVID-19 integration forward, including partners and representatives from USAID, UNICEF, WHO, and Ministries of Health from 11 countries. 

I learned from every stage of the planning and implementation processes. Through the agenda setting process, I better understood the tools for structuring learning in engaging participatory ways. One approach I found particularly impactful was Troika Consulting, an activity where individuals meet in small groups to ask each other for help on a challenge they are facing and receive advice from their peers. 

During the event itself, I witnessed the swapping of stories – of experiences, successes, and challenges – about COVID-19 vaccination integration across regions and contexts. Post-event, I helped gather what was shared into a report of best practices, lessons learned, and insights that could be shared beyond the attendees of the Tanzania event. 

What I took away from this experience was a reminder of the power and necessity of creating spaces for collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. While the participants were all already shaping and driving COVID-19 integration and response in their individual countries, it was incredible to see how enthusiastic they were to work together and to glean what they could from listening to each other’s experiences. 

At Knowledge SUCCESS, I have also been part of NextGen Reproductive Health (RH), a community dedicated to adolescent and youth reproductive health (AYSRH). As a member of the coordinating team, I have connected with professionals across Africa and Asia to facilitate trainings on topics ranging from youth and adolescent access to accurate sexual and reproductive health information to behavioral science for better AYSRH programs. We also engaged young professionals in co-creating a training module on meaningful youth engagement that reflects participants’ insights into what KM tools are most relevant for youth working on sexual and reproductive health.

From conducting literature reviews and writing blogs to facilitating virtual and in-person meetings and trainings, my work at Knowledge SUCCESS has both challenged and fulfilled me. As I look toward graduation and to future work in public health, I will be carrying the lessons and experiences I have gained with me. I am also immensely grateful to my supervisors Anne Ballard Sara and Anne Kott, as well as Erica Nybro, Sara Mazursky, Natalie Apcar, and Brittany Goetsch for their continual support, trust, and guidance. 


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