# A great investment.

The NEHA annual budget for the fiscal year '04 is approximately \$3 million. There are approximately 5,000 NEHA members. NEHA membership dues are \$85 a year. Now, let's do the math: \$3 million divided by 5,000 members equals \$600 per member. \$600 per member minus \$85 of membership dues equals \$515. If NEHA members pay only \$85 per year for membership, where does the other \$515 of value come from?

These calculations should really start you thinking--about the value of your NEHA membership. As you can see from the paragraph above, your membership dues are leveraged 7.05 times. This means that by spending your \$85 for dues, you receive a return of 705 percent, and that's guaranteed! Now, I have heard of some good deals in my life, but this may be the best one ever.

So where does this value come from, and what do you receive for it? NEHAs biggest revenue producer is the Research and Development Department. For the current fiscal year, R&D revenue is expected to be nearly \$1.4 million dollars. NEHA/s R&D department works oil numerous programs supported by grants, such as

* the Food Safe Schools Program, with a grant provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);

* the Radon/Indoor Air Quality Program, with a grant provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Indoor Environments Division;

* the U.S. EPA Voluntary Management Guidelines Outreach and Participation Program, with a grant provided by the U.S. EPA Office of Wastewater Management;

* the Preparation of Environmental Health Professionals for Chemical or Biological Terrorist Events, with a grant provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR);

* the "EPI-Ready" epidemiology training for foodborne-outbreak investigations, funded by the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID/CDC);

* a project for environmental health force development, funded by the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH/ CDC);

* a project to involve environmental health professionals in CDC's Health Tracking project, also funded by NCEH/CDC;

* grant support for scholarships that help food safety professionals attend NEHA's Annual Educational Conference (AEC); and

* conference grant support from both CDC and ATSDR for the AEC.

In addition, NEHA has recently received a generous grant from the U.S. EPA Office of Wastewater to develop a national credential for onsite wastewater installers.

Some of these programs provide unique opportunities and benefits for NEHA members, including all-expenses-paid training. All of them relate directly to environmental health and are designed to help each of us improve our profession. Many of the grants provide NEHA with the opportunity to work with other organizations, as is the case with the installer credential, on which NEHA is working with the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA). These arrangements provide NEHA the opportunity to partner with others and build relationships for the future.

An always-visible benefit to NEHA members is the Journal of Environmental Health, which is provided to members 10 times per year. The Journal is the premier journal in the nation dedicated to the environmental health professional. It keeps readers up-to-date on current issues, new research and useful information, and products and services. It is the only direct link to the complete spectrum of environmental health topics.

Credentials are an important part of our profession. Acquiring a credential such as the R.E.H.S./R.S. or the C.F.S.P. demonstrates that you have the knowledge to work in this discipline or one of its sub-disciplines. With the help of grant opportunities, NEHA has developed several credentials. All of these credentials are available to members as a benefit, and NEHA is looking forward to developing additional national credentials such as the onsite wastewater installer credential, which will benefit the entire onsite wastewater industry.

Another opportunity for NEHA members is the AEC. A first-time attendee from Illinois recently described the conference as "Outstanding, informational, educational, good variety, well organized, first class, and fun." With a recommendation like this, 1 urge all of you to take advantage of the upcoming AEC in Anchorage, Alaska, May 9-11. 2004.

Additional opportunities for NEHA members include scholarships for bachelor's or graduate work in environmental health or public health. These scholarships provide opportunities to further your education with significant financial assistance.

You can also apply for a two-to-four-week sabbatical exchange to study environmental health in England or Canada. Both sabbatical programs provide recipients with free travel and reimbursement for expenses. Past recipients of these sabbaticals describe the sabbatical experience as priceless.

NEHA members can earn continuing education in seven convenient ways:

1. videos and computer-based training,

2. NEHA learning modules,

3. Journal of Environmental Health quizzes,

4. the NEHA AEC and Exhibition,

5. published articles,

6. NEHA book reviews, and

7. online training courses.

With opportunities like these, you should be "on top" of your profession and never in a jam to get some training when that credential renewal form arrives.

NEHA's Web site provides information about unique training opportunities, the NEHA bookstore, employment opportunities, credentialing information and print-outs for members, and links to affiliates and other organizations interested in environmental health. You can also contact one of NEHA's customer service representatives if you have some special request or just don't know where to get some information.

All of these opportunities are available because we choose to be part of an association of environmental health professionals and we choose to pay \$85 in annual dues. They also are available because with this small commitment, NEHA can leverage the strength of 5,000 members to provide something with more value than the total revenue from its membership. NEHA staff and NEHA members and supporters work together to provide opportunities for NEHA members that are beyond what dues could ever produce. Most important is that NEHA stall "bust their butts" every day to provide the best that environmental health has to offer for NEHA members.

So, the next time you wonder, "What do I get for my NEHA dues?", the answer is, "You get the best environmental health association working for you, every day." You can also be assured that you get a better return of value than on any other investment you make, and that's guaranteed!
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