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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio Public Health Association