Health Administration
Section Newsletter
Fall 2010

Letter from the Health Administration Chair and Chair Elect

Hello Friends:

As the Annual Meeting approaches, the Section has been wrapping up this year’s activities and looking ahead.  We have accomplished wonderful things this year, and I am very proud of our membership for all the hard work that has been done.

Two goals I set for my tenure as chair were to: Gretchen Sampson
1) increase our section’s advocacy efforts on important Public Health issues. 
2) recognize the contributions of our members in the field of Health Administration.

I believe our section has risen to meet these challenges as evidenced below:

  • The Policy Committee developed an outstanding policy paper, Securing the Long-Term Sustainability of State and Local Health Departments. I recommend that all Section members read it. You can find it at the following APHA website link: You will need your membership number and password to get to this site. Kudos to Marcia Rosenstein for coordinating the work of an outstanding group of Section members and national experts who researched and developed this substantive paper. Their efforts resulted in a high quality paper on this critical public health issue. We look forward to advancing this paper through the policy review forum process in Denver.
  • The Awards Committee crafted some new categories to add to our Section awards and will be honoring some of our sections best and brightest at the HA Section social event. I hope you will make an effort to get to the social while in Denver as there will be fabulous food, door prizes, award presentations and of course all of your section friends to network with!
  • The Communications Committee brought our section into the social media age through the development of a Section Facebook page, and LinkedIn. Section members Raed Mansour and Rajiv Ramdeo spearheaded this effort and have energized the Section Council with new and innovative ways to communicate with our membership. Rajiv will be presenting a session on Social Meeting at the Section’s afternoon business meeting on Sunday, Nov. 7 in Denver to help us all become more competent in this technology.

The APHA year flies by, and soon it will be time to pass the baton to the new chair. Mark Bittle is ready to rock as your new chair and has lots of ideas and expertise to continue the momentum started in the past few years. As Ed McMahon would say, Hereeeeee’s Mark!

Warm Regards,
Gretchen Sampson, RN, MPH

Thank you, thank you very much!! First I would like to thank Gretchen for all her hard work this year. I am sure our members would agree with me, she has done a wonderful job keeping the Section moving forward, and filling her shoes will be no easy task. However, we can, with Gretchen’s continued support, as soon to be past-chair, continue to chart a course to a sustainable future for the Health Administration Section.

As we prepare for this year’s Annual Meeting, so much has been put into place to ensure its success. Those accomplishments, some of which are described above, result from the thoughtful and generous participation by our membership. It is very exciting for me to work with such a dedicated group of public health professionals. For our section to remain viable and attractive, together we should strive to involve more members in various leadership roles within the section. Over the past month, I received a number of e-mails from eager volunteers. Over the next several weeks, I will be compiling a list of those individuals who have already committed to hold positions and where we still need help. In addition, I have reached out to the chair-elect of the Student Assembly to ask for his support of our section by offering enhanced opportunities for his membership to be part of our group. This will give selected members of the Student Assembly an opportunity to learn more about our section and work with use to advance our agenda.

Speaking of our agenda for the coming year, I hope to see as many of you as possible attend our business meetings. This is the perfect opportunity for you to participate in and guide the development of our goals and objectives for the year, and more!

More to come and much more to do, so stay tuned….
Mark J. Bittle, DrPH, MBA

Lessons Learned from a Consolidation Experience

Tom Quade, MA, MPH, CPH, Interim Director of Health with the City of Akron, Ohio

I have been with the Akron Health Department in a variety of roles for more than 10 years. I have been serving as the Public Health Deputy for Administration since January of 2008 and additionally as the Interim Director of Health since April of 2009. For much of that time I have been facilitating the consolidation of the Akron City Health District with the Summit County General Health District. This endeavor has tested everything I thought I understood about leadership and management. We have not yet completed the process, but an end is in sight. It is my hope that this article will assist health department administrators considering the consolidation process. Because concisely describing the complete process, including its challenges, surprises, and learning opportunities, and to do so in a manner that can be generalized across drastically diverse contexts, is not possible in this limited space, I will draw on an analogy and metaphors that I hope will guide the reader and, I suspect, render the narrative more memorable in the end.

My wife and I recently joined four friends to go whitewater rafting, a first for each of us. I paid close attention to the instructor as we sat on solid ground prior to our launch. I rehearsed scenarios in my mind, though I still don't know how "watching for the hydraulics" helps me to navigate them. This hypothetical preparation was about as helpful as my reading the NALBOH "A Guide for Local Boards of Health Considering the Feasibility of a Consolidation of Independent Local Public Health Jurisdictions" has been in dealing with the idiosyncratic exigencies of local health district consolidation politics. The metaphor: Like navigating whitewater, consolidating health districts will include a few common elements for which one may and should prepare but in the end it is simply not something you can read in a report, or newsletter article, but please don’t stop now.

As we entered the river, we arranged ourselves such that we would create a balance of body weight. What we learned early on was that the balance we should have targeted was one of strength when the paddles hit the water and confidence when the raft was headed for the rocks. The metaphor: Like our attempt to balance our boat for the trip, our original assessment of assets, strengths and weaknesses needed adjusting on the fly. People and events will surprise you, in both beneficial and disappointing ways. The river will keep moving often with a pace you would not choose should you have the option, and you will need to adjust.
In selecting seats, one of my friends asserted his intent to steer by sitting in the back of the raft. Though typically one to accept and enjoy the responsibility that comes with control, I then willingly accepted the spot in the front of the boat. I have served on enough committees to recognize when the chair has been established and that there are many other seats at the table. I soon recognized two advantages of my default position. Sitting up front, I saw what was coming and that put me in the position to direct the boat simply by informing my friend who was steering the boat. Secondly, on several occasions our boat spun around, and I found myself in the steering position simply by turning myself around. I was the only one who turned around so my new crew was oriented backward, or so it was from my perspective. Oh captain, my captain. The metaphor: Like our position in the raft changed by chance and the resulting relationship between control and influence was not as anticipated, the roles one takes during the consolidation process alternate between positions of presumed control where we have far less influence than planned to the converse, i.e. a supporting role where we serendipitously may have far greater influence.

As the day wore on, our confidence grew and our fears subsided. We were completing the last run of rapids and had our eyes focused on the point where we would pull out. All of us were injury free and no one had fallen out. We turned toward shore, suddenly hit a rock, and out fell my friend's wife. Stuck between the raft and the rock, she was in no immediate danger because the current was not strong and she sustained no injury beyond her pride. Given her inability to assist her re-entry as we drifted beyond the exit point, the circumstances called for an act of desperation. The “supersonic wedgie” was employed with great success. The metaphor: Reader’s choice.

We finally exited the river, reveling in our collective success. Then we heard the news. We had to carry the raft up a very large and very steep hill to get to the bus that would drive us back up river. The metaphor: Like our realization that the real work was just starting when convinced the real work was just over, the process of consolidating health districts has presented many milestones, each worth some celebration, but in the end there is always more work to do. There will always be another step to take, another rock just under the surface that will have to be dealt with. When the MOU is signed bringing all parties in alignment, enjoy it but know that a contract may be exponentially more difficult to construct and the support you experience one week may disappear the next. There are unions to engage, vendor contracts to renegotiate, properties to manage, and budgets to reconcile. There are changing payrolls and benefits packages. And in the end you are at the beginning, the beginning of a new day with a new public health entity and a new sense of our capacity to improve the access and the quality of the public health services we provide. One thing did not change. The community we serve was there when we started and is will be there when we get done. The day after we ran the rapids, we hiked up a trail to a railroad bridge some one hundred feet over that same river and I looked down with a sense of reflective accomplishment. I hope I can have a similar bird's eye view at some point after the consolidation is done, and I hope I will feel as good as I did that day.

Are you a Future Leader?

Every year the Nominations Chair of the HA Section invites people to consider running for both Section and APHA leadership positions, if you are interested in running for a leadership position this next year – contact Gretchen Sampson to express your interest

The following positions are available and nominations are invited for 2011:

  • Chair Elect;
  • Secretary;
  • Governing Council (3 positions open);
  • Section Council (2 positions open).

Additional positions within APHA Leadership are also available.  Watch our Facebook and Web page to get more details.

Please consider nominating yourself or another person who has been an active Health Administration Section member.

HA Members Running for Executive Board

The Health Administration Section is always fortunate to have quality candidates to run for APHA leadership positions. This year we have two members running for office.  Following is an Open Letter to our members from Joyce Gaufin, and a short bio on Tom Quade. 

An Open Letter to the HA Members
Joyce Gaufin

It is my honor to run as a candidate for a seat on the APHA Executive Board representing the Health Administration Section, and my two affiliate organizations, the Utah PHA and the Nevada PHA.    I served as the chair of the Intersectional Council in 2005, so I also served on the Executive Board that year (ex officio).   That experience provided me with an opportunity to learn what it takes to serve as a successful board member.  The primary responsibilities for an elected board member are to provide oversight for the successful administration and management of the association, and to serve a fiduciary role.  Policy for APHA is developed and approved through the Governing Council, and then the Board helps to oversee the implementation of policy.  The Board develops and monitors “end” performance goals for the efficient administration of the organization.  They work in partnership with the Executive Director who has the responsibility to deliver effective “means” to manage the organization.   APHA board members are expected to fully participate in regular meetings, to serve on subcommittees, and to uphold high standards that exemplify the values of the organization.  Effective board members must operate in an atmosphere of collaboration and respect.  Board members must also take an active role in serving as advocates for APHA policies.  I believe I have the proven experience to serve APHA for the next four years.

I have served as a leader on many non-profit boards in my career, and I work as the executive director for a non-profit board right now.  I have a realistic understanding of the time and energy necessary to serve APHA on the Executive Board.  I am familiar with all of the components within APHA, and I have served as President of the Utah Public Health Association.  Since 1994, I have attended all annual APHA meetings, I helped co-plan and develop four annual conferences, I served as HAS Chairperson in 2003, and I have been a Governing Councilor for HAS several times.  I served on the Advisory Committee for The Nation’s Health, currently serve on the APHA Education Board, and I also served on TFAIR.  Every time I have attended a leadership meeting for APHA in Washington, D.C., I have made a special effort to advocate for APHA policies by meeting with elected officials from Utah and Nevada.   I have not missed any regularly scheduled leadership meetings while serving APHA.

I invite you to look at my candidate Web page on the APHA website (you must be logged in as a member).  I would love to hear from HAS members concerning your questions, concerns, and ideas for ways to help make APHA a stronger and more efficient organization.  You may contact me via e-mail (, by phone (435) 574-2015, or through Facebook.   I ask for your support for my candidacy this year!  Thank you.  Joyce Gaufin

Tom Quade, HA Member Running for APHA Executive Board

Tom Quade is the interim director of health with the City of Akron (Ohio) Health Department and holds a faculty appointment at the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. Tom describes his involvement with APHA as having been increasingly active since his graduate student years at Yale. He has been a member of the Epidemiology, Disabilities, and Health Administration Sections, depending upon his professional position. A past member of Governing Council, Tom now serves on the APHA Action Board, Joint Dues Committee, Committee on Affiliates, and he chairs the Affiliate Capacity Building Initiative Advisory Committee. Tom also has a long history of active involvement in every leadership position within his state affiliate. Tom professes his commitment to a strong and secure future for APHA with administrative policies that advance 1.) A robust and involved membership; 2.) A voice of advocacy fueled and guided by proactive evidence-based public health policy developed by the Governing Council and heard by increasing numbers of legislators both directly and indirectly through APHA’s education of the general public; and 3.) Effective tools to enhance timely and accessible communication between and within APHA’s many components, boards and committees.

Health Administration Goes Virtual

Tricia Todd, MPH, 2008-2010 Chair, Communications

The Health Administration Section is going virtual under the leadership of two HA members. As chair of communications for the last few years,  I’ve learned it is always good to hand over the reins to the people that know how to drive the wagon, or perhaps it’s manage the virtual steering wheel – in this case, Rajiv and Raed will be taking over as co-chairs of the communications committee…taking the Health Administration Section into the virtual future.

Our Future Vision
Rajiv Ramdeo and Raed Mansour

2011 Co-Chairs of the Communication Committee

Rajiv Ramdeo
Rajiv Ramdeo is an MPH student at the University of California, Irvine. He is the inaugural Dalai Lama scholar and has earned over $22,000 in various personal awards and grants. His communications experience includes UCI, three successful student organizations he founded, and two local non-profits. He has also worked for the UCI Medical Center and the Kansas City VA Medical Center.  As co-chair of the Communications Committee, Rajiv hopes to continue the effort he has participated in over the past year to open new social media channels for our members to interact.

Raed MonsourRaed Mansour has a BS in neurobiology and physiology from Purdue University, post-graduate studies in clinical nutrition from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a certificate in advertising and public relations from DePaul University, and currently is completing a MS in health marketing and communication from Boston University.  Past experience includes being a research assistant in a genetic engineering lab, an instructor in clinical nutrition, and running marketing and public relations in several health care facilities.  In 2009, Raed volunteered within the Health Administration Communication Committee to gain insight into how communication activities are currently developed within a non-profit association.

Tricia challenged us with a goal to increase methods of communication within our section.  In collaboration with other volunteers, we worked to increase engagement through social media avenues by adding a Facebook Page. We also used existing communication venues, e-mail blasts, newsletters, and our website.  Our goals were not only to communicate events and stories of interest for over 2,000 members of the Health Administration Section, but to try to engage all of our members in a two-way symmetric conversation.  We wanted to avoid a one-way conversation that runs the risk of missing valuable membership input that may ultimately discourage professionals and students from joining.   The challenge is to increase volunteering within our section when resources of professionals and students are limited, while leveraging emerging media with traditional communications.

In designing our communication initiatives, new media plays an important role of providing that two-way conversational platform.  Knowing our members’ interests and specialties improves program development.  It also provides an opportunity to get to know one another better, which makes joining our section less intimidating to other professionals as well as to students. 

Ensuring accessibility requires developing many platforms online and off-line through traditional avenues (e-mail, newsletters, Web page, texting, and paper) and new media (Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter, You Tube, Blogs).  There are hundreds of social networking sites (Nexopia, Bebo, Hi5, Tagged, Xing, Skyrock, Orkut, Friendster, MySpace, etc.), but choosing to be a party to all of them diminishes the quality of participation, not to mention the great amount of dedicated time required to remain engaged.   Following the lead of APHA, the most popular venues where our members already exist like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. will be considered.  These sites are highly customizable and allow us to be current in a straightforward and fun manner. The CDC’s National Center for Health Marketing ( and their Gateway to Health Communication and Social Marketing Practice (, among others, will serve as our primary guide. 

Developing several communication platforms to account for the wide variety of preferred method(s) of communication requires volunteers to assist us.  Having volunteers contribute to several different communication platforms increases the value of our section by sharing expertise between professionals and providing opportunities to students, besides being a flexible venue to share similar information across various preferred social media venues.

Our goals for the future are to create a seamless communication platform through a mix of traditional media with social media that will have links to all of our existing sites where any member will find what interests them and allows them to be interactive.

Currently, we are looking to attract professionals in the field through our LinkedIN Group ( to contribute to our existing knowledge base while providing potential mentors for students wanting to join our section. We also plan to make volunteering easier through increasing the level of engagement for members and students through e-mail, Facebook, and possibly Twitter.  Our Facebook Page ( applications allow LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and Web pages to be published in different tabs.  We also plan on more polling of our members to determine their interests and their preferred methods of communication for events, program alerts, and content.  We plan to have many rich conversations with our members, and we hope you join us.

APHA Annual Conference

Network your way to Success at this year’s conference!  The HA Section will be hosting many opportunities for you to network in person!

1)  “Social Media for the Mid-level adapters,”  Sunday, 3:00 p.m. If you are one of those people who didn’t jump on board with Facebook, Linked In and Twitter when they were first taking over the world – but you’d like to learn to use these social media now – come to this Health Administration Business Meeting to hear from the HA Section communication chairs – who will guide you through all those “I think this is a stupid question” moments, and help you to become confident in using, or at least talking about, social media.   Location can be found in the program under Business meetings.

2)  Health Administration Social, Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Denver Convention Center, room 404.  Bring your business cards, your sense of humor and your energy, and join the HA Section as we celebrate our Section successes, recognize those who have contributed to the field of Health Administration and the Section (See the list of award winners below), and get to know each other. 

3)  The HA Booth in the Expo - Face Time and Networking – with a purpose
Are you planning to attend the APHA Annual meeting in Denver? We need Section members to staff the booth Nov. 7 – 10. Team up with a friend and split the two-hour shift. This can be a fun way to meet other Section members and others who attend the Annual Meeting from around the world.

Reasons to Work at the Health Administration Booth:

    1. It is an easy way to meet members of the Health Administration Section and to meet friends who are at APHA.
    2. It is a way to get involved in the Health Administration Section.
    3. You get a place to sit in the exhibition hall.
    4. You get some food while you are working.
    5. You learn what the “Make us Your Cabin” campaign is about.
    6. You learn about the Health Administration Section.
    7. You get to give out fun items.
    8. You can learn what other activities the Section has at the Annual Meeting.

Go to the website to sign up.

APHA Program on Facebook

The HA Programs for the 2010 APHA Annual Meeting can be found on Facebook with links to APHA that will expand the details of the session.

Annual Meeting is all a Twitter

The Annual Meeting is on Twitter with up-to-date information on content, presenters, deadlines and ways to save money. Follow us on Twitter @APHAAnnualMtg or follow our hashtag, #apha10. Interested in finding out more about APHA’s social media efforts and how social media can be used in public health? Stop by our social media booth in the Mix and Mingle Lounge to meet the social media team. 

Highlighting One Special Program Session

A public engagement workshop  - Model Practices in Policy Development
Session 4278.0 Model practices in Policy Development I
Tuesday, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
CCC Korbel Ballroom 2B (double-check the location when you arrive in Denver)

Session organized and article written by Ellie Garrett
Social justice requires that we listen to the public and hear the voices of those less often heard. The President's Open Government Directive calls upon federal agencies to incorporate public engagement into their policy-setting processes. As President Obama states, “Public engagement enhances the government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions.” Public engagement when done well is an extraordinary tool for improving public health policies and fostering support for the public health enterprise. But when it's done poorly, it can be harmful and foster mistrust. Against the backdrop of vitriolic town hall forums about health care reform in the summer of 2009, the public health community might well wonder whether public engagement is possible on controversial topics of health policy. The Health Administration Section is pleased to offer a roundtable workshop in which presenters say, YES, WE CAN have civil public discourse about health policy… and oh by the way, here’s how to do it.

This workshop offers an opportunity to learn from public health professionals experienced in the art and science of public engagement and to answer questions about the many choices to be made as you plan and implement a public engagement process. J. Eline (Ellie) Garrett, JD, of the Minnesota Center for Health Care Ethics, and Caroline Barnhill, MPH, of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, organized it. They recruited colleagues who have helped lead CDC-funded public engagement activities at the federal level and in several states and communities to serve as faculty. The projects concerned varied aspects of pandemic planning, but the lessons learned about public engagement methods extend well beyond the topic of pandemic.

Whether you are in the midst of planning an engagement or wondering how to start, come with your questions and ideas. During this session, you will have an opportunity to go to two or three of these eight roundtables; bring your colleagues to attend the others:

  • From the top: Fostering and demonstrating agency leadership and commitment to the public engagement process. Participants at this table will discuss why public engagement should matter to public health agency leaders and what agency leaders should do to commit to the process.
  • Mission recruitment: Standing room only. Worried about throwing a party to which no comes? This roundtable will share practical examples of recruitment, retention and marketing strategies for public and stakeholder engagement. 
  • Hearing the solos within the orchestra. Sometimes hearing the orchestra of a community’s voices and values means listening to the solos. This roundtable will explore the advantages and disadvantages of conducting engagements for special populations and identify useful strategies for planning.
  • Putting the community in community engagement. Involving partners in design, planning and implementation. Community partnerships foster increased participation from diverse community members, more culturally competent engagement methods and greater community investment in your project’s goals. At this table you’ll consider how to select and recruit partners, identify roles and discuss strategies for working together effectively.
  • Facilitation: Greasing the wheels of public engagement. Skilled, neutral facilitators keep a meeting on target to reach your goals, effectively directing discussions on individual values and preferences among participants with different styles and personalities. This roundtable will cover facilitation basics, including how to find and train facilitators, whether volunteer or professional.
  • Questions about questions: Framing what to ask during public engagement. Asking good questions isn’t simple, particularly if your topic is unfamiliar, uncomfortable and complicated. Are your questions lofty enough so that participants can express their overarching values? Concrete enough to encourage participants to share experiences? Inspiring enough to encourage participants to proffer ideas and solutions? Come to this table to talk about this central core of your public engagement process.
  • Learning about learning from the public: Large and small group public engagement methods. Sometimes you need a big gathering with lots of voices in the room; at others a series of smaller engagements can generate deeper conversations. At this table you’ll discuss strengths and limitations of both large and small group methodology in terms of relative complexity and need for resources, as well as trade-offs in the breadth and depth of substantive input to be gleaned from each.
  • A shoestring budget: can it work for engaging the public? Public engagement can be invaluable, but it can also be costly. What corners can be cut? What should never be compromised? Where can you seek in-kind contributions? If you’ve got an eye on your agency’s bottom line, this table is not to be missed.


2010 Health Administration Award Winners

W.C. Woodward Award
Named for the first chair of the Health Administration Section.  This must be someone who is a Health Administration member who has advanced the practice of health administration through outstanding leadership and contributions in a management or educational setting and has provided significant service to the Health Administration Section of APHA.

2010 Recipient:  Giorgio Piccagli, PhD, MPH, SB

Excellence in Health Administration Award
Must be someone who has advanced the practice of health administration through outstanding leadership and contributions working in management or educational setting.

2010 Recipient: Kaye Bender, RN, PhD, FAAN

Rising Star Award
Must be a HA Section member who demonstrates potential in the health field (broadly defined) by advancing public health policy and health administration practice as demonstrated by innovation, collaboration, and practical application.  Neither academic credentials nor grades will be a factor in selecting the awardee.  Nominee must be new to the field of Health Administration.

2010 Recipients: Gita Uppal, MPH, and  Vamsi Vasireddy, MD, MPH

Health Administration Chair Award
This award is given at the Health Administration Chair's discretion to a member of the Section who has shown outstanding leadership and contribution to the Section.

2010 Recipient: Kusuma Madamala, PhD, MPH

Other Announcements

The Yale School of Public Health will be hosting an interactive workshop session between practitioners and researchers to explore selected priority research areas for public health systems and services research at the APHA Annual Meeting in Denver. The workshop will be held on Sunday morning, Nov. 7, from 8 to 11:30, and is titled, Practice-Based Research: Linking Practitioners and Academic Partners to Improve Public Health. It is supported by a grant from RWJF.
If you are planning to attend the APHA Annual Meeting, you might like to participate on Sunday morning. There is no charge. Breakfast will be served. This workshop is a follow up to a very successful workshop held at NACCHO this past July that brought together practitioners and researchers to develop PHSSR research questions relevant to the practice community and look at possible data sources. Participants suggested that we hold another session at the APHA Annual Meeting, using the same format.
Here is an online survey ) where you can help select topics for discussion and RSVP for the workshop.  Even those unable to attend are encouraged to help with the selection of topic areas and research questions.

The Health Administration Section Policy Committee is currently reviewing the proposed new policies for 2010 that will be voted on at the Annual Meeting...we could always use more volunteers. Contact Mike Hill if you would like to help or would like to be added to the committee list for next year.