All posts by Jenny Lin

Lifting the Voice of Public Health in Ohio: President’s Message

OPHA continues to make significant strides in elevating its profile across the state as the “Inclusive Voice of Public Health in Ohio.” There are any number of reasons for this but most of the credit rightfully goes to you, our dedicated members. Through the active work of the various OPHA sections, committees, volunteers and staff, we are now broadly recognized as a public health leader and as an essential partner to invite to the table when critical public health issues are discussed.

An important aspect of this emerging success is the commitment of OPHA to strengthen the capacity of public health professionals in addressing Ohio’s unmet public health needs. One way we are meeting this strategic goal is through the increasing visibility of our various conferences in Public Health Nursing, Vital Statistics and Combined Public Health. These opportunities to network and share best practices as professionals is invaluable to sustaining an expert and well-trained public health workforce.

Connecting with our partners is also proving an important key to our success. That is why we are excited to provide leadership in the climate resilience and health and equity in all policies statewide coalitions. Additionally, OPHA’s leadership recently approved the development of an overall strategy to improve oral health in Ohio. As dental disease remains one of the most common unmet healthcare needs, an effective strategy will ultimately depend on OPHA’s ability to bring interested stakeholders together to find workable solutions to this difficult and illusive public health problem.

I am truly encouraged by the committed work being done throughout our organization. Whether you are just entering the field of public health, a mid-career professional, a retiree or anything in between, we value the work you do each day to improve the health of all Ohioans and represent our organization in such a positive way.

While OPHA is certainly on a rising trajectory, I believe 2020 will provide even more opportunities for our association to offer statewide leadership and direction. I am also mindful, however, that in order to sustain our momentum it will be through the collective effort of our professional membership.

To that end, I look forward working with each of you as we continue this journey together to be the inclusive voice of public health.

Sincerely,
Robert Jennings
President, OPHA

President’s Message November 2019

Happy Holidays!

As we enter the holiday season and prepare to ring in the new year, I would like to highlight just a few of OPHA’s significant achievements over the past several months.

In October, OPHA partnered with state Representative Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) to convene a meeting of diverse stakeholders throughout Ohio. It was an important opportunity for our association to show continued leadership in the implementation of the HEiAP legislative initiative. The stakeholders invited to the table represented a cross-section of disciplines aligned with core determinants of health including those from transportation, education, housing, environment and state policy. The dialogue and engagement proved fruitful and OPHA is now viewed as an important leader in statewide policy change. Continue our statewide leadership through Health and Equity in All Policies…Check!

More recently, OPHA staff sat down with leadership from the Ohio Department of Health
(including Director Amy Acton) to discuss our association’s strategic priorities. It was important for us to remind ODH that OPHA is the “inclusive voice of public health in Ohio” and that our membership includes a diverse array of public and private sector professionals. ODH was attentive, engaged and receptive to our views on key issues. Both sides agreed to keep the lines of communication open and to work more closely in our mutual efforts to advance the practice of public health in Ohio.

We are also grateful to Franklin County Public Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola for facilitating a special meeting between OPHA leadership and Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Benjamin was in Columbus as a featured speaker during Franklin County Public Health’s Progress of Public Health Conference in October. As the Ohio affiliate of APHA, the meeting provided OPHA with a unique opportunity to discuss common goals and challenges at the national and state levels. Elevate the profile of our association…Check!

OPHA’s Executive Board in August hosted an orientation for Governing Council members. The goal of the orientation was to provide Governing Council with an historical overview of OPHA and how it aligns as an affiliate with APHA, set roles and expectations, solicit buy-in to the organization’s strategic plan, outline their fiduciary responsibilities and provide technical assistance and guidance. The feedback from those who attended the training has been overwhelmingly positive. Actively engage OPHA membership through education,
communication, and training
…Check!

Finally, this is the time of year that we pause to reflect on the things we are most thankful for. I am honestly grateful to be a part of an organization whose members embody the true spirit of selfless service and who continue to give freely of their time and talents to protect and improve the health of everyone.  Here’s wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season and a very Happy New Year.

Sincerely,
Robert Jennings

Last Day of Fall Highlights Fall Risks

The Ohio State Chiropractic Association‘s (OSCA) Public Health Committee requested and received  Governor DeWine’s Proclamation of September 23, 2019 as Fall Prevention Awareness Day in conjunction with the first day of fall. This marks the 10th annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging. Falls and their complications are the 3rd leading cause of death in the elderly.

Continue reading Last Day of Fall Highlights Fall Risks

Health & Equity in All Policies a Focus of OPHA’s Work

Since 2015, OPHA has adopted Health and Equity in All Policies (HEiAP) as an organizational value and formed a HEiAP Committee to address poor health outcomes and social inequities in Ohio. Progress toward introducing legislation for HEiAP in Senate Bill 302 ended with the close of the 132nd General Assembly, but OPHA is currently working to define its next steps.  The progress of the HEiAP Committee over the last four years can be seen here in a summary.  

Continue reading Health & Equity in All Policies a Focus of OPHA’s Work

Vital Statistics Conference Tackles Current Events

The 2019 Vital Statistics Conference held in August included presentations on the new Ohio Compliant Driver’s License, the 2020 Census, and Customer Service. Attendees also heard about records preservation, how Health and Equity in All Policies (HEiAP) impacts the community, and data and prevention efforts on Injury in Ohio.

The Shirley M. Hayslett award was presented to Tina Watkins of Perry County for her years of service in Vital Records. Special thanks go to Tunu Kinebrew of the Cincinnati Department of Health, Conference Chair and outgoing Vital Statistics Section Chair. A warm welcome goes to incoming Section Chair, Donna Merriman of Wayne County Health Department.

Tina Watkins, Registrar, Perry County Health Department, receiving the Shirley Hayslett Award. Also pictured is Tunu Kinebrew, Vital Statistics Conference Chair, and Susan Kinney, Perry County Health Department.
Luke Werhan, Ohio Department of Health, presenting on Injury in Ohio: Data and Prevention Efforts 
Tom Wilson, Ohio BMV Administrator for Field Operations, presenting on the new Ohio Compliant Drivers License.

OPHA Sets Three-Year Strategy

OPHA has released a Strategy Map giving a one-page overview of its plan for the next three years. The overarching goals include both the external work of advocacy and the internal work of capacity building. Specifically:

  1. Advocate for policies that promote health and equity in urban centers and rural areas.
  2. Strengthen the capacity of Ohio’s public health professionals to address Ohio’s unmet public health needs
  3. Promote the value of Investing in public health Infrastructure.
  4. Strengthen OPHA, building an effective and vibrant internal structure which effectively supports our external work

The document also lays out the objectives to meet those goals and some of the metrics. Download it below.

Journal Seeks Proposals for Copy Editing

The Ohio Public Health Association is seeking proposals for copy editing services related to the formatting, copy editing, and publishing of the Ohio Journal of Public Health (OJPH), a peer reviewed professional journal which currently publishes two editions, one in June and one in December, each year.

Download the full RFP here

Call to Action on Gun Violence

Urgent Call to Action!

The Ohio Public Health Association expresses extreme sadness and joins in the national mourning of the senseless loss of life during the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and in our own community of Dayton, Ohio.  We offer our deepest sympathies to the victims and families and our sincere gratitude goes out to those first responders who displayed acts of remarkable selflessness and bravery.     

Continue reading Call to Action on Gun Violence

President’s Message July 2019

It is an honor for me to serve as president of the Ohio Public Health Association.  I enter the position at a time when our organization is steadily moving toward fulfilling its mission of being the Inclusive Voice of Public Health in Ohio.  I sincerely thank our immediate past president, Natalie DiPietro Mager, for her focused leadership in guiding our association through a period of transition and setting us on the right course. It is now my charge to help find new solutions to some of the old, yet persistent, public health challenges. 

I intend to set the following three priorities as we move forward in this journey:   

Improve the Fiscal Health of OPHA – Our organization has done quite well furthering public health through the kindness of donors, the volunteer efforts of committed public health professionals, and through the creative and careful use of our limited resources.  However, if we want to continue to lead on the more significant public issues, we will need to build a fiscal infrastructure capable of sustaining our efforts.    

In this process, I pledge to work with OPHA’s Executive Director, David Maywhoor, to seek out and establish funding partnerships that are mutually beneficial. For example, OPHA currently has a promising funding source — the Public Health Professional Services program.  The PHPS program benefits our partners by providing a pool of qualified public health professionals to fill their employment needs, and OPHA benefits through the administrative fee it charges for the services.  

The PHPS may be one of the best kept secrets in state, and now we have a great opportunity to further promote and expand the program.  Additionally, OPHA could and should establish more organic partnerships to benefit public health, including reaching out to public and private organizations concerned with climate change and the environment. I believe these opportunities are boundless, and we simply need to be more deliberate in our efforts to expand and grow the organization.  

Continue Our Statewide Leadership in Health and Equity in All Policies – Through the work of our Health and Equity in All Policies legislative initiative, OPHA is now seen as the statewide leader in addressing the many social and geographical factors that influence health.  This is a mantle we all can be proud of.  I believe we only have scratched the surface on what can be achieved in this area.   Active engagement and collaboration is key, and we must continue to build a coalition of interested stakeholders prepared to assist in the sustained progress of this initiative.   

During the next year, I would like to see more formal and enthusiastic engagement of the entire OPHA membership through education, communication, and training. This will increase buy-in at all levels, and allow each of us to become more effective public health advocates.      

Elevate the Profile of OPHA – Through the dedicated and active work of the various OPHA Sections and Committees, we are well on our way to becoming a respected and recognized force in the field of public health in Ohio.  By encouraging greater internal coordination and interaction, we can continue to build our reputation as a trusted and expert resource.  I intend to focus on ways to lift the profile of OPHA statewide, so that we always are invited to the table when important public health issues are discussed.   

I look forward to the many opportunities that lie before us.  Together as we implement elements of our strategic plan, and set attainable goals and objectives, we will move ever closer to realizing our vision: A healthy Ohio, where all communities are thriving, and all people have access to the care, information, and resources they need to be healthy.”

I invite each of you to actively engage in these efforts and share your ideas. Please feel free to contact me any time at jennings.robertl@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Robert Jennings
President
Ohio Public Health Association