Health Administration
Section Newsletter
Fall 2005

Chair's Report Fall 2005

Snapshot of Jorg Westermann, current HAS Chair 
Dear Section member,

It is already time for the fall newsletter, and our next Annual Meeting is getting closer as well.

I am writing you this note still being shaken by Hurricane Katrina and its effect on all of us. I hope that this will help us realize how precious we all are and how quick our orderly life can be changed. It made me realize that we need to prepare much better for natural disasters, not only for a potential terrorist attack but also think carefully about the weakest and poorest members of our society.

It shows as well how important public health is.

Our Section has the potential to become an important voice in this process if we draw from the collective experience of our members. We started this process earlier this year with e-mails to all members asking for volunteers to expand and build on our committee structure. I am thankful for all the members who stepped forward to help and assist us. You provided needed help to our committee chairs as well and enabled them to get some important work done within their committees. I am thankful for all the tremendous work that has been done by our committee chairs over the last year. I wish all the best to our Chair-Elect Paul Halverson and Chair-Elect-Elect Gloria Brown McNeil as they prepare for their terms in office.

Thanks so much for a wonderful year. I hope I see all of you in Philadelphia in December.

Section Business

Section news, events, decisions, personal news from members making a transition, all are shared in this section. To add content, contact the editor: <larsson@u.washington.edu>.Return to Top

HA Members... Become Mentors!!!

The Annual Meeting is fast approaching. The Health Administration Section has a tremendous program for new members and students that needs your support. Just think back on the time when you first became a member of APHA. What did you think about this organization? How did you think you could become active? How did you get involved? Who or what made the difference for you in APHA? 

The value you provide someone else, and the value you get from helping someone else, can make all the difference in the world to someone's connection to APHA. As you ponder these questions, please complete the form to become a mentor for someone who is a new member, or a student. It does not take that much time. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Audrey Smith at (313) 402-9608 or via e-mail: <asmith48219@aol.com>.

Staffing the HAS Booth - An Interesting Experience and Valuable Networking Opportunity

The time is soon approaching for the 133nd Annual APHA Meeting and Exposition in Philadelphia, Dec. 10-14, 2005. We need your help to make the Health Administration Section Booth both interesting and inviting for those who pass by in the Exhibit hall. Interesting because you will be there describing the Section.

Working at the HAS Booth is a great opportunity to meet Section members and recruit new members, as well as network with thousands of public health professionals and students attending the meeting. Besides, it is a lot of fun!

Please sign up to help your Section by working the HAS Section Booth for at least two hours over the course of the Annual Meeting. We encourage you to sign up for as many blocks of time as you can spare.

There are slots open that we would like to fill but we cannot do it without you. It takes an entire Section to run a booth!

We have an online signup calendar available. It is located at: <http://my.calendars.net/has_booth/d11/12/2005>. The times are already set up in 1 hour blocks for you. Time slots available include:

Sunday, Dec. 11: 2 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 12: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec.13: 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 14: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Click on the link to find the calendar. To sign up for a time period, click on the day (number), then on "Edit" next to the time period you want to sign up for. Fill in your *name and e-mail address* in the Calendar Text box. We need your e-mail address to contact you. Remember, dates of use of this calendar are December 11, 12, 13 and 14 only. You'll see hour slots either with or without a name and e-mail address. Sign up for the available slots only. Click on the Submit button. Watch your name and e-mail address appear.

I look forward to working with you to make the 133rd meeting a great success. If you have any questions or ideas I would really like to hear from you. Please e-mail me at <asmith48219@aol.com>.

If you have technical problems with the calendar, contact Laura Larsson at <larsson@u.washington.edu>. Laura will also help you sign up if you prefer to have her do it for you.

Please sign up. Working at the HAS booth is a lot of fun, and you get to network with all sorts of interesting people. Also, you get to learn about a great new technology that you can use for your events.

Urgently Needed: Pictures from Previous Conferences!

PICTURES!!! PICTURES!!! Do you have any pictures from previous conferences? The HA Membership Committee would like to develop a collage of pictures to display at the HA Booth. If you have any pictures to share, please e-mail <asmith48219@aol.com>. 

Health Administration Section Awards - Come Celebrate Our Accomplishments - and Network

The Health Administration Section will be gathering to acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions made by section members. This year the Excellence in Health Administration, Section Chair, and Outstanding Student Abstract awards will be presented. The Excellence in Health Administration award is intended to recognize exceptional and sustained achievement and performance in public health administration, as evidenced by contributions in the fields of practice, science, research, teaching or writing and should have demonstrated outstanding contributions of major significance to the practice of health administration. The Section Chairperson's award, given by the chair, recognizes service to the Section beyond the expectations of office, exceptional performance of duties, outstanding leadership qualities and/or national achievement in attainment of Section goals and objectives.

Come join us as we celebrate and acknowledge the contributions made by outstanding health administrators in public health. A light buffet of h'ordouervs and drinks will be served.

The Section Awards Event will be held Monday, December 12 from 7:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. If you look for it in APHA's database, the session is #367.0 : HAS Awards.

HAS Annual Meeting Program Newsworthy!

The Health Administration Section’s (HAS) scientific program for the 2005 APHA Annual Meeting is worth attending. You are invited to view the entire HAS scientific program at: <http://apha.confex.com/apha/133am/techprogram/>. A complete list is located below and is linked for those who want to print it as a separate document.

Session #3109.0 Health Administration Section – Student Award Presentations



As a step toward recognizing the importance of students as the future leadership of public health, the Health Administration Section will be featuring a session focused on the top student abstracts submitted to the Health Administration Section. Please join us in recognizing these students

Session #3108.0 Eliminating Health Disparities through Collaborative Leadership



This year APHA and the American Medical Association (AMA) are co-sponsoring a panel at the APHA Annual Meeting on using collaborative leadership to decrease health disparities. This panel comes from continuing discussions between APHA’s Health Administration Section and AMA’s Public Health staff. Panelists will present the principles of collaborative leadership as they can be used with practicing physicians in the community to work together on decreasing health disparities.

Session #3282.0 The 2004 Florida Hurricanes: Public Health and Community Response



Florida experienced its most intense hurricane season ever during a seven week period in 2004 – causing $60 billion damage and 117 deaths. Come hear about how Florida coped with a situation where there was greater damage from natural disasters than any other state has had in a comparable period of time. Presentations will cover response and recovery activities relating to Hurricane Charley and lessons learned; the Department’s behavioral health incident command response to the hurricanes; a summary of a series of case studies and journals produced by graduates of the Public Health Leadership Institute of Florida; and the findings of a survey of nursing home administrators that collected their views on preparations for disasters and their experiences in the hurricanes.

Session #4031.0 New Directions for Quality Improvement



The U.S. public and elected officials are demanding accountability from government agencies. This Health Administration-sponsored session will provide attendees with a snapshot of current initiatives for quality improvement in public health at the state and local levels. The session will address successes, barriers and challenges to implementation of quality improvement efforts, and will provide attendees with strategies, tools and techniques for public health organizations to consider as they seek to move ahead in embracing quality improvement.

Session #4227.0 Public Health Systems Research



This invited session from the Health Administration Section will provide an update on the emerging field of public health systems research and highlight current studies that offer evidence-based guidance for organizing, financing, and delivering pubic health
services.

Sessions #3030.0 and 3107.0 Meet NIH Researchers, Staff, and Volunteers in Reducing Cancer Disparities



The Health Administration Section is pleased to sponsor a panel session (#3030.0) with NIH researchers, staff, and volunteers to discuss approaches to reducing cancer disparities. This session will be immediately followed by a roundtable session (#3107.0) where attendees will be able to meet with individual NIH researchers, staff and volunteers.

Health Administration Section Program, Philadelphia, PA



NOTE: Sessions listed in italics have been organized by another section, SPIG, or caucus but are endorsed by Health Administration.

View business meetings and social events at:
<http://apha.confex.com/apha/133am/techprogram/nt_486.html>.

Scientific sessions can be found and printed out at:
<http://apha.confex.com/apha/133am/techprogram/program_486.htm>.

Results of Testing the Pulse of the Section (Poll)

In keeping with our desire to get feedback from you, we asked you to take a moment to take a poll. The poll asks about your competencies, or actually, what you feel least proficient in - as a leader.

In which professional competency listed below do you feel the least proficient? The percentage indicated the percentage of respondants who felt the indicated selection was their least proficient skill. (Note: numbers were small).


  • Communication skills - 33%

  • Organizational skills (getting things done) - 0%

  • Analytical skills (decision-making) - 0%

  • Leadership skills - 0%

  • Technology skills (managing information) - 33%

  • Cultural competency skills - 22%

  • Professionalism (what it means to act professionally) - 0%

  • Other - 11.1% - Team-Building and Resolving Conflict)



Take the poll, available through SurveyMonkey, to give us additional feedback.

New Poll: E-Learning Experiences and Needs

In keeping with our desire to get feedback from you, please take a moment to click on the link - http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=35511334253 - and take this two question poll. This two question poll asks about your e-learning experiences and your learning needs.

The two questions are listed below.

1. Describe your elearning experience/s by selecting one option from the options listed below.

I have successfully completed an online course.
I have never taken an online course.
I have not had the opportunity to take an online course.
I would take an online course if it were offered to me and it was on a topic I needed information about.
I am not interested in taking an online course.

2. What genres of online learning are you most interested in? (Select all that apply.)

training to improve leadership competencies
advocacy and issue education
organizing yourself and getting things done
volunteer training (how to train volunteers)
targeted public health learning in your discipline
technology/information management skills
cultural competency skills
learning how to be a successful online learner
other elearning (text box for your suggestions)

Calendar of Events 2005-2006

To add meetings to this list, send name of association/agency, inclusive dates, location of meeting and the URL for the meeting's home page to the editor at <larsson@u.washington.edu>.

2005


October


November


December


2006

News, Views and Web Sites

This section is intended to help you with news and Web sites that you can use in your work.

What's New(s) on...?



This section links you to Web sites that have information useful to those working in health administration. To visit the site, just click on the underlined link. Valuable resources all. These links will remain as part of the Newsletter. (Keep in mind that some of the links might take a few seconds to load as they are doing searches of very large databases – and that takes time). New links added Fall 2005: AARP, ASSTHO, KFF, RAND and RWJF, and the list was alphabetized.

What's New for professionals at the AARP Web site? <http://www.aarp.org/forprofessionals/> (NEW)

What's New on the APHA <http://www.apha.org/news/> Web Site?

What’s New on the AHRQ Web Site? <http://www.ahcpr.gov/whatsnew.htm>

What's New at ASTHO? <http://www.astho.org/index.php?template=press_room.html> (NEW)

What’s New on the DHHS Web Site? <http://www.dhhs.gov/news/press/2005.html>
DHHS Reference Collection? <http://www.dhhs.gov/reference/index.shtml>

What’s New in the Grey Literature? (New York Academy of Medicine) <http://www.nyam.org/library/greyreport.shtml>

What's New in Health Administration on the Yahoo! Web Site? <http://dir.yahoo.com/Health/Health_Administration/>

What's New in Healthcare Management on Google? < http://tinyurl.com/3srwa>

What's New on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations Web Site? <http://www.jcaho.org/news%2Broom/index.htm>

What's New at the Kaiser Family Foundation? <http://www.kff.org/newsroom/index.cfm> (NEW)

What’s New at the National Academy Press Web Site? <http://www.nap.edu/new.html>

What’s New at the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™? <http://www.qualitymeasures.ahrq.gov/whatsnew/newthisweek.aspx>

What's New in PubMed on Organization and Administration in Public Health? <http://tinyurl.com/4tsnk>

What's New at the RAND Corporation Web site? <http://www.rand.org/> (NEW)

What's New at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Web site? <http://www.rwjf.org/newsroom/index.jsp> (NEW)

Hurricane Katrina: Federal Agency & Association Responses

APHA Response to Hurricane Katrina <http://www.apha.org/preparedness/Katrina_relief.htm>

Hurricane Katrina 2005 (ASTHO) <http://www.astho.org/?template=1bioterrorism.html>

Hurricane Katrina (CDC) <http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/index.asp>

Hurricane Katrina (DHHS) <http://www.dhhs.gov/katrina/index.html>

Hurricane Katrina Relief & Recovery (HRSA) <http://www.hrsa.gov/katrina/>

Hurricane Katrina: Links to Health Information including toxicology and environmental health (NLM) <http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/hurricane.html>

Hawaii first!

 
Gerald Ohta has been a member of the Section Council and is ARGC for Hawaii. He's on the Ed Board, JPC and Nominations Committee. He's also been on the CoA. He's the affirmative action officer and the state distance learning coordinator in the Hawaii State DOH. He's a former social studies and English teacher who's found PH more fun.

Did you know that the Hawaii State Department of Health was the first "state" department of health?

In 1836, Kuhina Nui or premier Kinau directed the pilot in Honolulu to ascertain if "Small Pox or other pestilent disease" was on board vessel entering the harbor. Her action is the first documented public health measure in the then Kingdom of Hawaii.

Later, pursuant to action in December 1850 by the privy council to Kauikeaouli, King Kamehameha III, a board of health was established by law for Honolulu in 1851 and extended Kingdom-wide in 1853 "to provide for all persons, sick with smallpox," and "make and publish such regulations for the public health as they may think wise and expedient, and enforce them by fines or otherwise through the Courts."

This preceded the Board of Health in Louisiana by two years.

Public Health - Controlling the Marburg outbreak in Angola [Photo Essay]

International and local experts are working in the African country of Angola to control the largest ever recorded outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever. Marburg fever is a rare but fatal disease caused by a virus from the same family as the Ebola virus. View the excellent photo essay which is a glimpse into the challenges and success stories in controlling this deadly outbreak at <http://www.who.int/features/2005/marburg/en/index.html>.

Film Festival Rocks

The Film Festival held for the first time in 10 years last year will return to the APHA Annual Meeting this fall in Philadelphia.

In 2004, international- and U.S.-produced documentary films and videos of interest to public health professionals were highlighted. A number of the screenings explored the theme of that year's conference theme, "Public Health and the Environment."

Short and longer films as well as previews of interactive CDs and "Weblogs" were used to demonstrate how 21st century digital tools could make visual communication affordable and effective at every budget level as tools for training, outreach, and organizing.

The Festival was hosted by members from the Health Communication Working Group and the International Health Section. Those members facilitated Q&A discussions following the screenings. Actors and producers enriched discussions with their comments.

Interest was high in viewing last year’s videos with many people sitting on the floor when no chairs were available and others banging on the door to get in.

Productions made for or about International Health issues will be shown on Monday afternoon and evening and on Tuesday evening. U.S. films will be shown Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Amy Hill, community projects director, Center for Digital Storytelling will be reviewing and selecting International Health films for this year’s Festival while Gary Black, health communication specialist, Mecklenberg County Health Department will be evaluating and selecting films for the U.S. portion of the Festival. Laura Larsson, consultant, Cedar Collaboration and Clinical Faculty, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, will be in charge of the Film and Technology Theater where the Festival will be held.

Films will be recent, will address a public health issue, and will be in keeping with this year’s Annual Meeting theme ”Evidence-Based Policy and Practice.” U.S. productions will be required to have undergone either formative or summative evaluation.

Two of the many International Health films titles to be shown include "The Man Who Stole My Mother's Face," by Cathy Henkel. This is a film about the epidemic of sexual assault and child sexual abuse in South Africa. The second film, "Thirst," by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, is a film about efforts to challenge water privatization around the globe. Films about health care in Nepal; smoking cessation programs in India; and HIV/AIDS in Africa will also be shown.

Good documentary filmmaking is really about storytelling, about bringing people's stories into the visual realm. Just as we love a well-told story by a master storyteller, we also are thrilled by a great film. As Susan Griffin, A Chorus of Stones, 1992, said, “To tell a story, or to hear a story told, is not a simple transmission of information. Something else in the telling is given too, so that, once hearing, what one has heard becomes a part of oneself.”

Many of you may have already seen the article that appeared in The Nation's Health, September 2005 issue, page 4, so you will know that Laura Larsson is the Program Planner for the Film & Technology Theater as well as serving as the HAS Newsletter editor.

This year films will be shown Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during the afternoon and evening sessions in the Film and Technology Theater. Information on which films will be shown when can be found at <http://apha.confex.com/apha/133am/techprogram/program_523.htm>.

When you need some down time or want to see quality films, come to the Film and Technology Theater and see what film producers and directors are doing to promote important issues in public and international health.

Quality Control: Study Finds Wide Variation in Public Health Response to Case Reports

Researchers evaluating the ability of 19 local public health agencies to receive and respond to case reports used to detect disease outbreaks found wide variation in performance, according to a study (http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/hlthaff.w5.412v1) published online today by Health Affairs. "Development and implementation of measures of public health agencies' performance are crucial to improving public health preparedness and, ultimately, to assuring the agencies' accountability," the authors conclude.

Source: AHA News Now - August 30, 2005

Reprinted with the permission of the American Hospital Association, copyright 2005.

Census Bureau Reports 45.8 Million Americans Uninsured in 2004

The number of Americans without health insurance increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2004 to 45.8 million, the U.S. Census Bureau reported (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/hlthin04.html) today. That's 15.7 percent of the population, about the same as in 2003, but about 800,000 more people. While the number of Americans with health insurance increased by 2 million, the proportion covered through an employer decreased to 59.8 percent from 60.4 percent. The proportion and number of Americans covered by government health insurance programs increased to 27.2 percent and 79.1 million from 26.6 percent and 76.8 million, driven by increases in the percentage and number of people covered by Medicaid. AHA President Dick Davidson said the new numbers "should serve as another jolt to us all -- each year millions of Americans struggle without health coverage, delaying needed care until an illness or injury has worsened." He added, "As a nation, we must find common sense solutions to the challen! ge of extending health coverage to all Americans. Hospitals are ready to join forces with government and the private sector to solve a problem that simply has been neglected far too long."

Source: AHA News Now - August 30, 2005

Reprinted with the permission of the American Hospital Association, copyright 2005.

New from National Academy Press

Assessment of NIH Minority Research Training Programs: Phase 3
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11329.html?ee_24

Bridges to Independence: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11249.html?ee_11

Building a Better Delivery System: A New Engineering/Health Care Partnership
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11378.html?ee_29

Healers Abroad: Americans Responding to the Human Resource Crisis in HIV/AIDS
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11270.html?ee_26

Implications of Genomics for Public Health: Workshop Summary
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11260.html?ee_26

Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health Care
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11140.html?ee_12

Safe Medical Devices for Children
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11313.html?ee_29

Saving Women's Lives: Strategies for Improving Breast Cancer Detection and Diagnosis
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11016.html?ee_11

The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? Workshop Summary
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11150.html?ee_10

Personal Knowledge Management Column

This column is devoted to personal applications and information that you, as an individual knowledge worker, can use to improve your information productivity without necessarily relying on your IT staff. The short articles and hints contained in this section will follow a framework originally developed by Prof. Paul Dorsey who has recently retired from Millikin University to work on PKM articles and teaching.

Dorsey’s framework consists of seven areas: 1. Accessing information and ideas; 2. Evaluating information and ideas; 3. Organizing information and ideas; 4. Analyzing information and ideas; 5. Conveying information and ideas; 6. Collaborating around information and ideas; and 7. Securing information and ideas, and is an attempt to combine computer literacy with information literacy. It’s an expansion of the: “find, organize, use and disseminate” school of thinking.

Rename Your Files to Organize Them

If you have a lot of files that need renaming for what ever reason, consider downloading and installing Rename-It! on SourceForge. Download at <https://sourceforge.net/projects/renameit/>. This application enables you to rename photos, videos, music files or professional files. You get to set the rules for renaming including setting up rules for simple sequential naming like Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.

You can drag-and-drop files into Rename-It! Use the application to select a whole group of files for Rename-It! It can even change or fill in MP3 tags for a song's artist, album or genre. You must be using Windows 98 and newer Operating Systems (no Macs, sorry). The application is free. More information about the application can be found at the Rename-It! Web site.

Other renaming applications include: Rename Batch File Renamer (http://www.1-4a.com/rename/download.htm), File Renamer (http://www.123renamer.com/), Better File Rename (http://www.publicspace.net/windows/BetterFileRename/) and Flash Renamer (http://www.rlvision.com/flashren/download.asp). I use Rename Batch File Renamer myself. It gets the job done but is a little clunky to use. For example, you cannot cut and paste into the renamer from the application. You have to type in the words you want changed or removed - or cut and paste from the filename or folder. Still, it gets the job done. Flash Renamer requires you to download and install one program and then download and install an upgrade.

Telework Insights from the General Services Administration

If you are considering implementing telework in your organization, a good place to visit is the GSA's Working for America Interagency Telework site located at <http://www.telework.gov/>.

Why should you be interested?



If you are in the federal government you know that there is a big push to enlarge the number of suitable employees that can telework. If you are in the public sector you likely have one or more employees that are already teleworking or you are considering telework for your employees.

At the GSA site you will learn which staff are good candidates for teleworking. The following is a truncated list of characteristics of good candidates for teleworking. These are employees who:

  • Need little supervision and don't mind working alone.

  • Have good organizational skills and self-discipline.

  • Can be available, if necessary, to communicate with co-workers and customers via e-mail or phone.

  • Have a place to work that is free of interruptions and offers a safe environment for government property.

  • Live within commuting distance because they will probably continue to perform some of their work at the office.

  • Are required to write or perform computer-related tasks.



The OPM Telework Manual (http://www.telework.gov/documents/tw_man03/index.asp) is quite useful to review. You can get answers to frequently asked questions, hints for helping your employees adapt to telework, and a telework agreement that can be adapted for your own setting. Also helpful is a supervisor checklist to "ensure that telework requirements are met and that covered employees understand the policies and procedures of the telework program." Issues of fairness and equity are discussed in the Maintaining Balance in the Office section.

Other Locations for Information on Telework



If you are interested in learning more about telework, look at some of the European and Canadian sites listed by Google. Telework.com is also a useful site for resources on telework. Telecommuting is the older term but still turns up many hits on Google.

Search Engines Help: Search Toolbars & Utilities

Adding a search engine to your browser toolbar makes it much easier to search the Web quickly. Select your favorite search engine from the list below and follow the directions to add it to your browser toolbar.

The World Clock

Find the time using the World Clock, create a personal world clock, convert time zones, plan meetings using the World Clock Meeting Planner.

Use the counters to the New Year 2006, countdown to any other date.

Do a World Time Search by continent and/or city.

Examine a calendar and customize a calendar. Learn what the date is in 500 days or determine when you are 1 billion seconds old. The Duration calculator will let you count days between two dates. Located at <http://www.timeanddate.com/>, this clock is worth investigating.

Last Word in Passwords

"Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don't let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months" — Clifford Stoll

Leadership Articles

This section will concentrate on articles that are intended to help you think about your role as leaders in health administration and in public health and to offer practical tips for doing so. Wherever possible we will include articles on best practices.

Request. This is a request to readers to submit their most important questions regarding leadership issues and best practices in public health to Laura Larsson at <larsson@u.washington.edu> for possible inclusion in future issues of the Newsletter.

Economics and the Health Administrator

Michael Hill, MPH, MPA, is the Aaministrator of the Okeechobee County Health Department in Florida, has 18 years of experience in various public health functions, represents HAS on the APHA Governing Council and is currently studying toward a doctorate in health care administration.

As health care, particularly in the United States, faces ever more stressful financial times, health care leaders need to be educated in economics as well as all of the other facets of their jobs. Health care leaders will need new and more global thinking skills in the coming decades. Generating and reading financial and budget reports will not be sufficient to succeed in healthcare administration in either the private or public sector over the coming years; leaders must understand the underlying complexities of their field, not just the details.

The production function is a useful economic concept and helps one to understand the economic impacts of almost any venture, including health care programs. In the field of economics, the Production Function expresses the relationship between inputs and outputs, generally in terms of labor and capital. For example, in a manufacturing environment, inputs might be labor and equipment; the production function would describe how an increase in labor and equipment would result in an increase in output (product). When the organization’s production function is well defined, the organization can use it to predict output levels for given levels of input. Organizations can also use the production function to determine the optimum labor and capital inputs to reach a desired level of production. The health care industry can use this same function to describe how it does business. In this industry, the input variables are generally labor and capital.

The production function for health care considers the human resources and the equipment/supply resources that go into a process and looks at the relationship between these and the output of the process. A related concept is the law of diminishing returns, this economic concept states that if one of the inputs is held constant and the other is increased, output will increase up to a certain point beyond which increasing the input will decrease output. A common example of this in economics is to increase the number of workers in a factory without increase the amount of equipment. At some point there are more workers than equipment and productivity stops increasing and may begin to decrease as equipment is over used and workers get in each other’s way.

The law of diminishing returns is valuable for health care managers as they try to balance their acquisition of human resources and capital equipment. If the organization hires an ever-increasing number of employees without adding new equipment, production will eventually suffer. Conversely, if the organization constantly adds new equipment without adding employees with the skills to operate that equipment, production will also falter.

Send comments to Michael Hill, MPH, MPA, Michael_Hill@doh.state.fl.us

Crossword Puzzle #1

I created a crossword puzzle for you to solve and made it available on my Web site. It's not too difficult, but I used way too many long words. I plan to include a new puzzle each issue.

I used a free application called EclipseCrossword. Just download the .exe file onto your desktop and double click that file to install the program on your computer. After installation, open the file and start creating your word list with hints. When you are done, just upload the file to your Web site and make a link to it. The link for this crossword puzzle is <http://depts.washington.edu/hswork/apha-has/publications/xword_fall_2005.html>.

If you need additional help, contact me at <larsson@cedarc.info>, or read the online help. Get additional information about the application from <http://www.greeneclipsesoftware.com/eclipsecrossword/>.

So, why bother with a crossword puzzle on your site or in your newsletter? It's a way of helping people learn about your site, about what your agency does - and it's fun. People like the interactivity, but mostly it helps people learn in a non-threatening way.

Getting Things Done: Time Management Tips

Here is a useful set of suggestions for increasing your productivity and reducing clutter. These tips were taken from several issues of Taylor's Time Tips, an electronic newsletter and used with permission of the author. Harold L. Taylor is the author of 'Making Time Work for You.' Subscribe to Taylor's Time Tips at <http://www.TaylorOnTime.com>.

REMEMBERING NAMES. You can lose face as well as time if you can't remember someone's name. Always repeat the name aloud when you are introduced and say it to yourself several times immediately afterwards.

MAKE IT EASY FOR OTHERS. When leaving a voice mail message, always include your phone number, even if you think they know it.

MEETINGS AD INFINITUM. When the outcome of a meeting is to have another meeting, it has not been a good meeting.

MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS CARDS. Resist the urge to hand over your business card when you first meet someone. There is a better chance they will keep it and remember you if you give it to them later in the conversation.

REDUCE THE NUMBER OF MEETINGS. Save meeting time and driving time by meeting by phone whenever possible.

KEEP A "PERHAPS" LIST. Stephen Covey (First Things First) suggests you may think of things you're not prepared to work on yet, but don't want to forget. Put these on a Perhaps list.

Quotes To Think About and Use: Inspiring Leadership Quotations

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. (Thomas Edison)

Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood. (H. L. Mencken)

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better. (John Updike)

Creative minds have been known to survive any kind of bad training. (Anna Freund)

What we love to do we find time to do. (John L. Spalding)

I wasted time, now time doth waste me. (William Shakespear)

Management Humor

I love deadlines. I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. (Douglas Adams)

Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch. (Robert Orben)

Committee - a group of men (sic) who keep minutes and waste hours. ( Milton Berle)

Business Buzzword Bingo!

If your staff is paying much more attention to what you are saying during meetings these days, could it be they are listening for management buzzwords to check off on their Bingo cards? To see an example of a business buzzword bingo card, visit <http://isd.usc.edu/~karl/Bingo/>. Instructions for using the cards are included. By the way, the card is regenerated each time you reload the page so you could easily take several with you to meetings to enhance your change of getting a Bingo.

Interesting Management Articles on the Web: Articles from the Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter Drucker Institute)

Making It Up and Making It Happen, by David Allen. Leader to Leader, No. 30 Fall 2003
http://pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/fall2003/allen.html
David Allen, the Getting Things Done guru, has written an article on leadership and vision and how to determine and implement your vision.

Sustaining the Ecology of Knowledge, by John Seely Brown. Leader to Leader, No. 12 Spring 1999
http://pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/spring99/brown.html
John Seely Brown is the chief scientist of Xerox Corporation and director of its Palo Alto Research Center. In this article he describes the shifts in the economy which pose strategic challenges for leaders. These are: From conglomeration to demassification (the division of markets and products into smaller and smaller groups); From simply making products and services to making sense (leaders as sensemakers); and From established rules of engagement to self-determined rules (the growth of new opportunities and new business models).

Managing Knowledge Means Managing Oneself, by Peter F. Drucker. Leader to Leader, No. 16 Spring 2000.
http://pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/spring2000/drucker.html
Peter Drucker is a well-known management expert and guide. With the lengthening life span people have an abundance of choices with what to do with themselves during this life span. With knowledge comes possibilities, but, Drucker says, we "will have to learn, first, who we are. Few people, even highly successful people, can answer the questions, Do you know what you're good at? Do you know what you need to learn so that you get the full benefit of your strengths? Few have even asked themselves these questions."

The Enduring Skills of Change Leaders, by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Leader to Leader, No. 13 Summer 1999.
http://pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/summer99/kanter.html
Rosabeth Moss Kanter is "a former editor of the Harvard Business Review, a consultant to major corporations around the world, and author of 13 books, including World Class: Thriving Locally in the Global Economy and, most recently, Rosabeth Moss Kanter on the Frontiers of Management."

The Practice of Innovation, by Peter M. Senge. Leader to Leader, No. 9 Summer 1998.
http://pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/summer98/senge.html
Peter Senge is the author of the widely acclaimed The Fifth Discipline. In this article he builds on Peter Drucker's discussion of the three ingredients of the discipline of innovation: focus on mission, define significant results, and do rigorous assessment. Then he asks "why is it so difficult for institutions to innovate" and then describes why and how to overcome the problem of businesses failing to innovate.

Other articles can be found by using the index: <http://pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/complete-text.html>.

Management/Leadership References to Buy, Borrow or Read Online: Miscellaneous

If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 ½ things you would do differently, by Fred Lee. SecondRiverHealthcare Press, 2004. (Hard Cover - $33.00; Soft Cover - $22.00).
The author describes what it takes to achieve patient satisfaction and loyalty.

New Rules For The New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World (Paperback), by Kevin Kelly. Penguin Books, 1999. (Paperback - $10.36).
A sometimes confusing, but energizing book on the networked revolution. Examples of his strategies and a peek at his mind come out in his 10 strategies, three of which are listed here: "Embrace the Swarm: The Power of Decentralization" (Rule 1); "No Harmony, All Flux: Seeking Sustainable Disequilibrium" (Rule 8); and "Let Go at the Top: After Success, Devolution" (Rule 6).

Open Boundaries: Creating Business Innovation Through Complexity, by Howard Sherman & Ron Shultz. Perseus Books Group, 1999. (Paperback - $26.00).
Applies "new insights on applying complexity thinking in business to break out of old patterns and imagine new possibilities." Helps to demystify complexity.

Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy (Paperback), by Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer. Warner Books, 1999. (Paperback - $11.20).
Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer "look at how three factors in the wired world--speed, connectivity, and intangibles--are driving the increasing rate of change in the business marketplace."

The Age Of Participation: New Governance for the Workplace and the World, Christo Nel. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1997. (Hardcover - $27.95).

Wired to the World, Chained to the Home: Telework in Daily Life, by Penny Gurstein. University of British Columbia Press, 2002. (Paperback - $22.50).
Describes how working at home changes people's activity patterns, social networks, and their living and working spaces and asks questions about planning the home of the future and whether or not telework will solve society's problems or create new problems.

General Articles

Articles in this section can be on any topic, including leadership, personal knowledge management or rants. I included this article because many of us will be retired soon - if we haven't retired already. How will we/do we keep our minds and bodies functioning? Shirley Randolph's article gives us a vision for how we can retire actively. What do you have planned for your retirement?

WHEN I RETIRE I’M GOING TO...

Shirley F. Randolph is a past chair of the Health Administration Section and served as chair of the APHA Executive Board and speaker of the Governing Council. She retired from the Illinois Department of Public Health on Dec. 31, 1991 as deputy director of public health. She is the recipient of several public health recognitions including the Section’s Exceptional Achievement in Public Health Administration Award, the Committee on Affiliates Award of Excellence, the APHA Executive Director’s Citation, the IPHA Distinguished Service Award, and the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Outstanding Leadership Award.

What a familiar phrase. How many times have you said it? I said it a lot before I took the big step and decided to accept the challenge of early retirement at the age of 55. My husband and my colleagues all thought I was fantasizing. Get real, they said. You have this powerful, key position as deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. What more could you want? How are you going to fill the days after 26 years with the state and after being in the ranks of the employed for 35 years??? Let me count the ways, I responded. When I retire I’m going to (in priority order):


  • Sleep until at least 8 a.m. every day.

  • Begin the day by reading the newspaper over a cup or two of coffee.

  • Never do anything productive until at least 10 a.m.

  • Take a walk with the greyhounds every day.

  • Never travel on Mondays or Fridays.

  • Dabble in some consulting work.

  • Volunteer.



Nothing Ever Works Out Quite Like the Plan



I began accepting consulting assignments early in 1992 as soon as I returned from a week in Cuba as part of a trip planned by Marilyn Aquirre Molina for APHA Executive Board members. Other than short forays across the borders to Canada and Mexico, this was my first trip to a foreign country…and, an embargoed one at that! What a unique experience to begin my retirement!

Well, one thing led to another, as they say, and by early February I found myself with three consulting contracts and a five-day workweek….requiring travel some Mondays and some Fridays. Consulting was exciting and opened up a whole new array of interesting and productive activities.

Among the highlights of my first six years of retirement, both as a consultant and as a volunteer, I assisted the University of Illinois School of Public Health develop and implement a public health leadership institute and served on its staff; was president of the Illinois Public Health Association and Planned Parenthood, Springfield Area; acted as interim executive director for the Illinois Public Health Association; served as speaker of the APHA Governing Council; and served as a site reviewer for the accreditation of schools and programs for the Council on Education for Public Health.

Family First



Then, in mid-1998 critical family responsibilities required me to “drop out” for about three years. When I returned to active duty I once again served as interim executive director for the Illinois Public Health Association, was a geriatric mentor for medical students at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and was elected APHA vice president.

Currently I am president of the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland, a 12-county area in central Illinois, and continue to serve on committees for the IPHA. I am also secretary of Family Planning Springfield Area, Planned Parenthood Springfield Area’s Foundation.

Is There a Public Health Life after Retirement?



Absolutely! The challenges will still be there and the opportunities to serve are numerous and varied. As I reflect on the contributions I have made since leaving full-time employment, I can honestly state that some of the most personally satisfying opportunities to serve have only been possible as a “retiree.” A prime example is my ability to accept leadership positions with Planned Parenthood. This could never have occurred as long as I had oversight of state and federal grant programs as a state official. Certainly, serving twice as interim executive director for the Illinois Public Health Association would not have happened had I not been in the ranks of the “retired.” And serving on staff for the Illinois Public Health Leadership Institute might never have occurred and I would have missed a truly amazing experience.

Advice From Someone Who Has Been There



My advice to all of you contemplating retirement is to embrace it and to look forward to the challenges and opportunities it will offer. Your world still needs you and your skills and commitment to the practice of public health. Public health professionals can accomplish much after retirement.

Take the initiative and look around. There are many ways to serve and many arenas to serve in. As for me, my next challenge will be to train as an Ombudsman to assist folks in long-term care facilities who have no one to advocate for them. Personal experience has led me to see for myself that those in LTC without an informed advocate are often times lost in the system.

Wishes Versus Reality



Well, in retrospect, my priority order for retirement quickly went the way of all good resolutions. The reality is that I’m lucky if the greyhounds let me sleep until 6:30 a.m. About half the time the newspaper doesn’t arrive until after coffee. The telephone starts ringing by 8:30 a.m. And, I still travel on Mondays and Fridays. I do dabble in consulting work, and I certainly do spend a lot of time in volunteer activities….and, oh yes, I do walk with the greyhounds daily.