Start a public health blog (part 3): Choosing a topic for my blog

I’m convinced and ready to share my passion with the world!

We’re so thrilled to see you here on the third part of this blog series! Before we teach you how to set up your blog site (part 4), you will need to determine the objective of this new venture, the topic of your blog and a name. This blog walks through each of these, providing you with tips and inspiration. At the end of the blog is a downloadable worksheet to help you plan for your blog.

Why do you write?

Going back to the question from blog 1, what is your purpose, and why are you writing? Having an objective for your blog (knowing why you are starting your blog) will help you drive it and to keep it going.

I have asked friends of PH SPOT who have started their own blogs why they write, and the reason behind starting a blog. This is what they had to say:

Sophiya Garasia

You may notice this name because Sophiya has contributed so many blogs to PH SPOT. Some of her popular ones include How did you get that WHO internship? and Why I will not be applying to medical school.

“There are a few reasons for why I started to blog. Firstly, I am a reflective person – I learn more about myself and my goals from putting my thoughts into words and building connections between the past, present and future. Secondly, being an immigrant and the eldest child in my family, I am one of the first people in my community to do what I am doing right now. I hope that through my blog, I can help others, and learn from those around the same stage as me. Lastly, I wanted to share public health knowledge that I was gaining, through my blog.”

Check out Sophiya’s blog here:

Nadha Hassen

Nadha’s story is a bit different in that she started her blog with a focus on a health topic very close to her, and for her personal benefit. The blog has now grown to support others who are also going through the same experience. What I personally love about it is that she started Thyroid Transitions with her mom!

“As opposed to academic writing which I do as a health researcher, blogging allows me to connect with people in a more human and authentic way. The Thyroid Transitions blog enables me to share my story of living with thyroid cancer along with practical strategies for those with a chronic thyroid illness. The impact of this type of writing is often underestimated. I have had people message me to say how grateful they are to know that they aren’t alone and that my writing helped with their own health care experiences. The blog started as a personal endeavour to process what was happening in my life and turned into something that addressed a larger need while opening up opportunities for self-growth and entrepreneurship.”

Check out Nadha’s site here:

Shilpa Mandoda

Shilpa is another name you might have come across on PH SPOT. Shilpa has been an early contributor and supporter of PH SPOT. Her contributions include Passion, thinking ahead & unique perspectives, and Toronto to Fiji, how volunteering can change your life (Part 1 and Part 2). Shilpa’s blog is great because it combines two things that she loves – public health and travelling:

“I decided to take a big step and leave a well paying job that I wasn’t happy in. I figured I needed an experience that would bring me back to the things I loved, public health and connecting with people. I had done a lot of volunteering in Toronto, but wanted to broaden my experience and do more. I decided to travel 12,405 km to the remote island of Fiji to volunteer with an nutrition/ health education program. Connecting with Fijians and helping them improve their health was one of the most inspiring experiences I’ve had. During that time, I learned so much about the health issues in pacific islands, climate change and life in general that I thought it would be a great idea to start a blog. I started publichealth360 in hopes to combine two things I love, public health and traveling. From there, I took another big step and moved to New Zealand. I’ve been working here for the past eight months, and have been loving every minute. As I continue to broaden my global public health knowledge and career experience, I hope to provide some perspective on life, health issues in different parts of the world – and throw in a few travel tips while I’m at it.”

Check out Shilpa’s blog here: 

So, why will you write?

Choosing a topic

Once you have determined the reason why you will start a blog, you will choose the focus of your blog. Your blog topic should be based on your specific public health interest and passion. The list is really endless. It can be very broad, or it can be very specific. My suggestion would be to get as specific as you can. Here are some public health blog examples for inspiration:
Staying healthy while traveling the world can be challenging. This forum helps readers understand the interplay between travel and health and lets them share their insights with other fellow travelers.

Antibiotic resistance. The things we do to make it worse. And anything else I find interesting.
Maryn McKenna is a journalist and author who writes about domestic and global public health, infectious disease, medicine, and food policy.

Interns 2 India – Robert & Shelley explore India
Interns 2 India follows the work and adventures of two UNC Public Health masters students as they intern for the summer in rural India.

The Pump Handle – a water cooler for the public health crowd
A blog sharing public health thoughts from two contributors – Liz and Celeste.

Monday Morning – with Dean Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH
Articles written by UNC’s dean. You just have to go over and read for yourself why she writes.

Naming game

And finally, your blog/site will require a name. Think catchy, think descriptive, think short! Also, think URL (domain name). The URL is how people will find your site.

For example, let’s say your blog is going to follow the built-environment work in Toronto, from a public health perspective. You think of name like “Healthy Living in the 6” (I know, I’m not the most creative person out there). You can go onto domain purchasing website to see if that URL is available; and it is indeed available ( Use the search bar below to see if a name you are thinking of is available (you’ll be taken to a new page when you click “check availability”):

In the next blog, we’ll highlight the technical requirements of starting a blog: getting a domain secured for your blog, setting up a hosting service, and where to go to actually build your site! It may sound overwhelming if you have never done it before, but we promise you that it will be simplified and you will be taken through some easy to follow steps.

We have created this worksheet to help you plan your blog/site. Work through the three sections to determine your purpose, choose a topic, and find a name.

It’s also filled with inspiration and ideas – good luck!

Get a Copy of My Worksheet

*Once you click “send me worksheet” you will see a “Thank you for subscribing” message. Check your email for the worksheet (you should receive it within 5 minutes).

Continue reading blogs from this series…

Start a public health blog (Part 4): Setting up your platform
I’m no tech wiz, so tell me exactly what I need to do

In case you missed it…

Start a public health blog (Part 1): Change the world with your writing
In a time where there is so much content on the internet, are my words really going to matter?

Start a public health blog (part 2): Investing in knowledge and the power of network
Passion is great, but what else can I really get out of starting my own blog? What’s in it for me?


About the author:

Sujani Sivanantharajah is an Opioid Public Health Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), placed at Manitoba Health. Previous to this role, she was an Epidemiologist working on foodborne and zoonotic illness outbreaks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in Biology and Health Studies, and then went on to complete a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of Saskatchewan. After guiding a number of students and new grads over the past 7 years, Sujani created to reach and inspire a larger number of emerging public health professionals in the country to build their career.


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