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Be a part of the solution: support public health policy.

THINK OF all of the resolutions that we make in our personal lives, our professional lives, as part of organizations and as governments. We resolve to stop the war, to ensure that every child has access to health care, to stop the violence in our community, to decrease morbidity and mortality from injuries. Yet these resolutions are meaningless unless there is action that follows. And the action is our responsibility.

In the coming months, APHA members will have the opportunity to review new policy resolutions that will be voted on at the Association's Annual Meeting. And over the next several months, we will hear many political candidates resolve to make change.

These are positive actions, for they highlight important issues and propose goals that we might attain to improve our communities and improve health. But a resolution is only the first step in a process of change that takes commitment, energy and action. And if we are committed to make the change that is proposed, we need to take action and lead the movement toward change.

Think about APHA's policy resolutions--based in science, focused on improving the health of the public, approved by the Governing Council. These resolutions form the basis for many actions and provide guidance and support for APHA's members, groups, Affiliates and staff. Sometimes members say they aren't aware of the work APHA, as an organization, has done to support a particular issue. The question we all need to ask is "What are we, as APHA members, doing to advance the Association's work?"

One of our greatest assets as an organization is our diversity, but sometimes this diversity works against us. We have different priorities that are important to our particular piece of public health practice, research or education. And many of us are passionate about our beliefs. We want protections for the environment, or a single payer system, or more funding for research, or an end to the war. While all of these are important to public health, there aren't enough hours in the day for the organization to address them all on its own.

That is where each and every one of us come in. As individuals, we can take APHA's policies and work to move them forward. To get started, visit tips for advocacy materials and to familiarize yourself with the Association's advocacy process and priorities. If you need more advice or details on how to coordinate your advocacy with APHA, contact the Asssociation directly. Then it's your turn to take action. Send a personal letter to your elected officials, or speak out at a town meeting. Organize a get-together of local community leaders. Schedule a visit with your member of Congress or state legislator. Or just pick up the phone and call your local mayor or city council member.

If we want change, we need to change, to act--to create the solutions and implement them. We need a new resolution: to resolve to be part of the solution.

Linda Degutis, DrPH
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Title Annotation:VITAL SIGNS: Perspectives of the president of APHA
Author:Degutis, Linda
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Previous Article:Corrections.
Next Article:Surgeons general at Annual Meeting closing session: San Diego meeting to highlight 'Public Health Without Borders'.

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