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APHA needs you to get involved in leadership, Affiliate roles.

APHA depends upon the active participation of members to get the work of the organization accomplished. In addition to the expertise and skills of our outstanding staff, APHA counts on member commitments of time and expertise in order to meet APHA's education, policy, science and advocacy goals. If you are active in some aspect of APHA governance now, thank you very much for all your time and effort. If you are not now active and would like to become active, please volunteer to help in some capacity.

The best place to start an "APHA career" is with active engagement in your Association member group--your Section, Special Primary Interest Group, Student Assembly or Caucus. Call the chair of your member group and ask how you can become active either on a committee or in some other role. If you are a student, join the Student Assembly, one of the organization's major lifelines to new members and future leaders of public health. Express your interest in running for a member group office. Many members who are currently in APHA leadership roles began their work with the Association in this way.

If you would like to be a part of one of APHA's committees or boards, now is the time to step up and submit your name, as March 30 is the deadline for this year's appointment process. A complete list of the APHA-wide opportunities and the nomination form is on the APHA Web site. Send in your information to APHA and let your Section or SPIG chair know you wish to be considered for an organization-wide committee or board.

Also important to APHA are its 53 state and regional affiliated public health associations. APHA Affiliates are critical to meeting the goals and mission of improving population health and assuring healthy communities for all. Just as former House Speaker Tip O'Neill proclaimed that all politics is local, so is all public health. Therefore, I urge all APHA members to join their Affiliates.

As of October, only about 15 percent of APHA members belonged to their Affiliates. Let's set a goal of 100 percent of APHA members belonging to their state or regional Affiliates by 2010. APHA's Committee on Affiliates and Executive Board are exploring ways to make this membership connection easier, so that someday members can join both APHA and their Affiliates at the same time.

Finally, I want to encourage all members to support APHA financially if they can. APHA member dues make up about 27 percent of the operating budget, but donations make up only about 1 percent. APHA is extremely careful about accepting donations from sources that conflict with good public health practices. Therefore, we need the support of members who can give more than the basic dues. Please consider giving to APHA as you might a charity or advocacy organization in your community. In order for APHA to have an impact locally, nationally and globally, more members need to help support the organization financially.

Both APHA and I are counting on you to give in whatever ways you can to strengthen our resolve to improve the health of the public.

Deborah Klein Walker, EdD
COPYRIGHT 2007 The Nation's Health
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:VITAL SIGNS: Perspectives of the president of APHA; American Public Health Association
Author:Walker, Deborah Klein
Publication:The Nation's Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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