Shane Bryan (’20) is the Partnership & Engagement Officer for the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, where he supports the network and participation of collaborating organizations involved with the Bloomberg Fellows Program, which provides world-class public health training to individuals in organizations tackling critical challenges facing the United States.
Bryan joined the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2014 as the Assistant Director of SOURCE, promoting health and social justice through partnerships between the university and Baltimore community.
With a decade’s worth of community engagement and building experience, Bryan’s passion for equity amongst local communities allows him the opportunity to serve on various boards, including Ednor Gardens Lakeside Civic Association, Northeast Community Organization, and the Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation.
Bryan earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and community studies at the University of South Dakota before earning his Master of Public Service through Clinton School Online.
What do you enjoy about your positions at Johns Hopkins University?
Having the opportunity to meet folks from all over the country who are doing impactful work, improving the health and well-being in their communities, is what I enjoy most about my work as the Partnership & Engagement Officer here at the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. In this role, I have the opportunity to meet passionate people doing great work in communities all across the country. Seeing people live out their passions gives me motivation and drive. Through the Bloomberg Fellows Program, we provide a full scholarship for individuals to obtain a Master of Public Health. Yet, we are much more than a scholarship program. We ensure the individual is gaining knowledge through the academic program, while we also seek to engage their entire organization through our network.
I also serve as a connector and bridge between organizations and the network. We believe that in order to improve health outcomes in communities across the country, we must work together by sharing best practices and lessons learned. My role is to facilitate these connections, bringing folks together around shared interests or geographic regions. As we continue to build the network, we see greater diversity of lived experiences and approaches to addressing a variety of community needs. It is so rewarding to see folks come together, find solutions to challenging issues, and celebrate the progress they achieve through the partnerships.
What does public service mean to you?
Public service is a commitment to working toward and for the good of the public. It means putting aside individual gains and seeking opportunities to benefit the whole community. Public service is owned and operated by those benefitting and utilizing those services. While there are many careers in public service, I take a wider view of public service than simply a job. We depend on a variety of public services every single day from having access to clean drinking water to the education of our young people. Public service is what keeps our civil society operating and progressing. As public servants, we have the responsibility to work toward a more just and healthy society for all people.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
While I am a person who appreciates routines and consistency, I went out on a limb in 2021 by selling my house in Baltimore and moving onto a boat in the Baltimore Harbor which I then lived on for roughly eight months. It was around this time when I had been experiencing great challenges. Selling my home and living on the boat allowed me to reset and begin the process of focusing more on myself. I had been stretching myself too thin during that time and neglected to see the toll it was taking on my body and mental health. I think many people who take on a life of public service forget that we must first take care of ourselves in order to care for others. Thanks to this intentional reset, I am living a healthier and happier life. I also quickly realized that I am more suited for a life on land, but I appreciated the opportunity to reset and reflect with beautiful sunsets and sunrises. I have since found a new community in the great city of Baltimore and am enjoying a life full of healthy and fun routines.
What was your favorite class in your time as a Clinton School student?
One of my favorite classes was the advocacy course where we examined various approaches and best practices to develop advocacy campaigns. We learned about the necessary elements of strong campaigns and the planning process to ensure they are successful. The case study at the end of the course put our classroom learning into practice by examining a campaign in our local community. I found it very interesting to actually step back and identify the various elements of the campaign and how they really did take the essential elements into consideration when they developed their successful campaign.
What skills did you learn at the Clinton School that you still put to use in your job or life today?
There are many skills I gained throughout my time as a student in the online program with the Clinton School that I use in my various professional roles. However, I think the most important skill I continue to use is critical communication. Every day we communicate with others, either be it colleagues, friends, or other individuals. Remembering that communication is both a process of listening and comprehending is important to ensuring we step back and take in the various messages we come across in any moment. While it is tempting to begin formulating a response, we must stop and truly listen to fully understand the message others are sharing. Much of what I took away from this program was a reminder to listen to the community and the public in order to understand their needs and desires.