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Experiencing an APHA Meeting

Posted By Jonathan Noel, Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Last week, I had the good fortune to represent CPHA at the APHA President-Elect meeting (I am not the president-elect though which put me in a distinct minority) in Washington, DC, and it was definitely an experience.  This was the first time I was able to talk to other state affiliates about affiliate related problems, ask how they might solve them and offer some of my own advice as well.  So here is what I learned.

1) Numbers Matter - This is straight from the APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin.  When APHA or CPHA advocates on the behalf of its members, the number of members really matter.  The more members there are, the more weight our information has in the eyes of politicians.  In addition, the number of phone calls or emails that a politician receives for one side of an issue is also important.  In some cases, the opponents of bill that APHA supports send 100 messages for every 1 of ours.  Those numbers aren't conducive to legislative victories.

2) Each State Has Similar Problems - By that I mean we all struggle using what resources are available to us efficiently.  Everyone has these great ideas for what they want to do in their state or benefits they want to offer to their membership, but lack of resources is holding them back.  I heard some great ideas to solve some of these issues and hope to share them with the board at some point.

3) APHA Is There to Help - As we sat through a very long afternoon session on the structure and function of APHA, a common theme among all the speakers was the willingness to help the affiliates.  The communications team offered to review anything from messages sent out to members or press releases sent to reporters.  The Section team offered help to affiliates to bridge the gap between affiliate members and APHA Section members.  And I can't forget the Affiliate Affairs team who set this great meeting up.  They basically offered to help on whatever problem we could come up with, within reason of course.

As I said, I learned a lot in just 2 days.  I met the leaders of other affiliates and hopefully the lines of communication with remain open far past the end of this meeting.  For now, I have my notes, my recommendations, and my ideas for what to do over the coming year.

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