The Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA), as we know it today, was founded on November 19, 1925 as Ohio’s first professional organization of Ohio public health workers, with a mission of protecting and promoting public health in Ohio. Since its inception, OPHA has been a trusted leader in the area of public health, working with our public health partners consisting of government bodies, other public health groups,universities, legislators and news media.
I am honored to serve the Ohio Public Health Association as its president and am committed to its mission of protecting and promoting public health in Ohio. I have two primary agenda items for the upcoming year.
The first agenda item is to continue to earn the trust of our public health partners and assure that our collective voice continues to be heard; to be heard by other public health organizations, to be heard by government officials, to be heard by our legislators and to be heard by the general public through the news media.
We must understand that although we may not see eye-to-eye with these partners on an issue, we share the goal of excellent public heath for the citizens of Ohio. We currently have an excellent relationship with our partners and are committed to keep it strong.
The second agenda item is to strengthen our membership base and member engagement. Due to government cutbacks and early retirements over the past few years, there are fewer professionals working for governmental public health organizations. This downward trend is also reflected in our membership. I will work with the OPHA leadership and existing members to continue to “reach out” to public health workers, students and retirees in government, academia, and health care organizations to boost our membership totals.
More important than increasing membership totals is increasing member engagement. I believe that an organization with 15 members of which 10 are engaged and active is stronger than an organization with 25 members of which only 5 are engaged and active. It makes no difference if a person can dedicate an hour or twenty hours a month, every bit helps. Imagine what we can accomplish with over 450 members!
For OPHA to continue to grow and have an impact on public health in Ohio, membership participation is critical. As I explained earlier, Lois and I are retired, but have continued to work with OPHA because we believe. We believe that public health is a necessity for quality of life. We believe that public health is often neglected by the political sector. We believe that a larger, more engaged membership will make us stronger. We believe that WE will make a positive difference.