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Health Administration
Section Newsletter
Winter 2010

Letter from HA Chair Gretchen Sampson

Greetings Colleagues:
I am honored to be the new chair of the APHA Health Administration Section. It was exciting meeting many of you in Philadelphia at the APHA Annual Meeting. The energy of the participants at our section business meetings was palpable even at 7 a.m.!  It was rewarding to see so many members interested in moving our section to higher levels of engagement and action in health administration issues. A big thank you is extended to our outgoing chair, Bud Nicola, and our past chair Tricia Todd, for their outstanding leadership and service to our section the past few years.

One of my goals as section chair is to recognize members in our section who are doing outstanding work in their practice areas. Please note the information in this issue about our section’s awards process and seriously consider nominating someone you know who is deserving of recognition. Another goal of mine that is also shared by many other section members is to increase our section’s advocacy efforts on important legislative issues. Our section members have been working intensely on an APHA policy statement focusing on critical issues in funding of state and local health departments. This work has clearly demonstrated the passion and commitment our members have to public health and has definitely showcased their expansive expertise on the issue.

Many of our members attended APHA in Philadelphia and presented cutting-edge scientific sessions. It was exciting to see our section so well represented at the national level and involved in sharing their public health expertise with colleagues around the nation and world.  I encourage HA Section members to submit abstracts for this year’s upcoming APHA meeting in Denver. For those in our section who have never attended APHA, make it a point to go at least once in your professional career. You will find it a stimulating experience and probably decide to make it an annual journey.  Plus, it is just plain fun networking with your public health colleagues and meeting new people!

Check out our section’s new Facebook page featured in this edition. I look forward to talking with many of you during the “Ask The Chair” week promotion!

Warm Regards,
Gretchen Sampson, RN, MPH

Finding a Job at CDC – One Member's Perspective

Lydia OgdenLydia Ogden is a 20-year CDC employee currently working on prevention in health reform at Emory University, where she is the chief of staff for the Center for Entitlement Reform ( and the Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions (  

The summary of my education is as good a place to start as any, but does not begin to explain how life and work added critical public health competencies. I’m the English major your parents warned you about. My undergraduate degree is in both education and English, and I was certified to teach grades K through 12. I have a master’s in literature – specifically Anglo-Saxon and Medieval British Lit. (If we run into any Vikings, I can talk to them about safer sex.) A decade-plus later, I picked up another master’s degree, in public policy, with concentrations in strategic management and press, politics and policy. As I type, I’m on the downhill run to a doctorate in health policy, a multidisciplinary curriculum including health economics, health services research, statistics, evaluation, and political science. (It’s astounding to me, the reader of untranslated Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales, that I know how to run SAS, STATA, and SPSS and what the outputs mean.)

A list of the jobs I had before I ever got to the government includes teacher of 8th grade grammar and composition as well as special ed; media relations for a large teaching hospital and research institution; health care reporter covering everything from hospital malpractice risk management to fears of GRID (gay-related immune disorder, as AIDS was known then); public relations-advertising-marketing executive (worst client: a toss-up between a trucking company and a potato chip bag manufacturer); soup kitchen manager; freelance corporate communications consultant.

Every one of those jobs taught me something I have used in public health, in one way or another. I learned how to make a comma splice interesting to 13-year-old boys and how to make Moby Dick exciting to adolescent girls who only cared about those goofy boys – useful skills when presenting dry-as-dust surveillance information to the media.  At the teaching hospital, I wrote a piece on Tennessee fainting goats, which have a condition called myotonia congenita. When startled, they “faint” – though they remain conscious, they fall over and cannot move. Researchers were studying the goats to learn about muscle conditions (MS, MD) in humans. I learned about turning over lots of rocks for information and moving research into practice from that story and others. I learned to translate science, ask questions and really listen to answers, and write clearly and concisely on tight deadlines as a reporter. I became skilled at creating communications pieces to appeal to different audiences – from the public to policy-makers – in the marketing and PR world. At soup kitchens, I found I had an affinity for the guys thought to be unreachable, so deeply sunk inside their paranoia or addiction that they were typically uncommunicative. No doubt, my ability to connect with them drew on my SpEd days (and my life with a profoundly developmentally delayed younger sister). As a kid, I spent time in the Bronx in 1968 (after the riots, it looked like a war zone, and it was, in many ways) and, as an adult, lived in marginal parts of Atlanta, where drug dealers and users and gunfire were the norm. I’ve seen the ravages of meth and oxycontin in Appalachia, where my family lives. From all these experiences, I learned the differences between us are small indeed, but can have profound and deeply troubling consequences.
I joined the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a sister agency to CDC, in 1989 following a freelance contract to help scientists prepare a report for Congress on medical waste in the environment, prompted by fears of HIV and other diseases. I started the community involvement program after asking who was working with people living around waste sites, to allay fears and inform them about the government’s activities and how to protect themselves from toxins. (“You are.”) I moved to CDC’s domestic HIV/AIDS in 1993, just in time to help launch the first-ever condom public service announcements on national TV and cope with the policy and practice implications of the advent of AZT to interrupt mother-to-child HIV transmission. One of my main responsibilities was to be the point of contact for the public and advocates seeking a way into the government bureaucracy. The marginalized populations at waste sites, at risk for HIV and living with AIDS, under-educated, drug-addicted, unemployed, and often overlooked, were not strangers to me. I had worked and lived with them for years. Later, I helped launch the Global AIDS Program and implement the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), probably the job I’m most proud of, and that drew on all my education and every life and work experience.
That brings me to the advice portion of this little piece. The broader your knowledge and experience, as long as you put it to good use, the more you bring to any prospective employer. Flitting here and there isn’t the same thing. The trick is to have a lot of tools in your kit, ones you know how to use from practice. You get that by spending time doing something (particularly, perhaps, the things you are not especially good at to begin with). Communication skills are essential. You have to be able to present often complex information simply, clearly, and correctly – orally, in writing and visually. You have to be flexible and open to opportunities, and reinvent yourself every once in a while.

Mastering Public Health: Essential Skills for Effective Practice

Whether you are a recent public health graduate and have just started out in your first professional position or a seasoned pro who has launched into a new chapter in your career, a new book being published in 2011 by Oxford University Press likely will be a useful resource for you.  Tentatively titled “Mastering Public Health:  Essential Skills for Effective Practice,” this book will contain helpful information and advice as well as resource information in an easy-to-use format. 

The co-editors, Barry Levy, MD, MPH, a past president of APHA, and Joyce Gaufin, former chair of the Intersectional Council and former HAS chair, have designed the book to focus on three specific cross-cutting areas of practice:  Communication, Administration and Management, and Leadership.
The idea for the book came about when Levy and Gaufin were reflecting on the experience of scholars who attend the leadership institutes that she directs.   Topics that are covered in a leadership institute tend to be cross-cutting, and generally go beyond the curriculum of an MPH program.  The topics in this book are often acquired through on-the-job experience, with the help of a coach or mentor or through continuing education program, yet they are essential for effective job performance.  Additionally, these skills are essential for personal and professional advancement.  This book has been designed to give public health practitioners a comprehensive resource with specific tools and resources to complement their formal education.  While not specifically intended to be used in an academic setting, several graduate program directors have already expressed an interest in using this book as part of practicum courses or in continuing education programs.

--Joyce Gaufin

It’s Not Your Kids’ Facebook Anymore

Facebook was founded in 2004 by several Harvard University students as a social networking utility primarily for college students.  The term “facebook” actually came from the Harvard student dorm directory that the founders initially used to combine photos with identities. Now there are over 350 million users worldwide with over 45 million users in the United States.

According to, Facebook is growing in every age/gender demographic, but the following statistics of U.S. Facebook members are of particular interest:

  • 56 percent are female.  Women outnumber men in every age group.
  • 61 percent are 26+.  The largest segment of this group is the 26-34 year olds that make up 23 percent of all users.  They are the fastest growing age group by total users.
  • 29 percent are 18-25.  They are the largest age group at 17 million but are down 7 percent over the past 6 months.
  • 19% percent are 35-44. They represent the largest increase at 276 percent growth over the past two years, doubling their numbers every two months.
  • Fastest growing segment is women 55+, up 175 percent in September 2009, doubling the amount of men 55+. Women 55+ are over 3.5 million.
With respect to health care, there are over 1,000 hospital social media sites, according to the social media resource for health care professionals, “Found In Cache” @eb site.  According to “Watcher’s World,” a blog site for hospitals, medical records need to become more like Facebook.
Agreeing with this concept is the recent publication “Future Scan 2010, Healthcare Trends and Implications” by The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development of the American Hospital Association, The American College of Healthcare Executives, and Health Administration Press.
According to Future Scan 2010, “Patients and Gen Y caregivers will not wait for appointment meetings.  Give your younger clinicians, management staff, and patients the tools to meet up online, and you’ll be amazed at how much better your organization works.  Watcher was right:  Clinical IT needs to look, feel, and work a lot more like Facebook, or our younger people will simply kluge their way right around our systems and create their own.”

Join Us on


APHA Health Administration Section

The Section concentrates on improvement of health service administration, including cost-benefit and operations research, program activities, finances, standards, and monitoring the organization of health services.

Join us in our new forum for the APHA Health Administration Section.  Become a fan and engage in discussions with industry leaders, discover upcoming events and resources, and network with your peers.

-- Raed F. Mansour

APHA 2009 Award Winners

2009 Health Administration Award Winners 

Student Award Winners at APHA

Richard Ingram Receives Award

The following three students were awarded with recognition for their APHA poster presentations. 

Richard Ingram, MEd  (Pictured at left with Chair Bud Nicola and Awards Chair Virginia Caine)
Lydia Ogden, MA, MPP
Jean O’Connor, JD, MPH


Other awards given by Health Administration at APHA:
• Excellence in Health Administration: Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP
• Excellence in Health Administration: Paul K. Halverson, DrPH, MHSA, FACHE
• Special Award of Recognition  Richard Michael Hill, MPH, MPA, CHES
• Chair’s Award: Tricia Todd, MPH

Nominations for future HA leaders

Nominations for APHA Health Administration Section Leadership Positions, 2010
Bud Nicola, Nominating Committee Chair

The deadline for nominations for open Section positions is coming up soon.  The following positions are available and nominations are invited:
• Chair Elect
• Secretary
• Governing Council (three positions open)
• Section Council (two positions open).

Please consider nominating yourself or another person who has been an active Health Administration Section member into a position of leadership. A description from the Health Administration Section Operations Manual for each available position is on our Web page. 

Please consider becoming more active in the Health Administration Section by volunteering for Committee work or by volunteering for an elected role within the Section. Positions open for nomination include President-Elect, Secretary, Governing Council member, and Section Council member. If you are interested in an elected Section position, please fill out the nomination form and send it to

Nominations for HA awards, April 9, 2010 Deadline!!!

See the HA Web site for nomination forms, or contact Vonna Henry at

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.

Criteria for nomination are:
• Demonstrates creativity and innovation in advancing the field of health administration.
• Demonstrates consistent leadership in the field of health administration - either within a work setting or with external partners.
• Demonstrates significant contribution or impact on the practice of health administration .
• Improves the practice of public health and health administration (i.e. advancing knowledge, motivating others and creating a positive environment).
• Is a member of the Health Administration Section
• Has provided leadership in APHA or the Health Administration Section.

Selection criteria include one or more of the following:
• Recognized expertise and leadership in Health Administration.
• Important contributions to advancing improvement in the health status of communities.
• Advocacy for health administration.
• Development of innovative programs in health administration.
• Collaboration with health, education, social services, or other decision makers and service providers.
• Is a member of the Health Administration Section.
• Has provided leadership in APHA or Health Administration Section.

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.

Criteria for Nomination:
• Demonstrates a clear potential to grow into more responsibility in their organizations, the community and the field of public health.
• An individual who has gone above and beyond the job description to make a lasting impact in their organization or in public health.
• New to the field of health administration.
• Member of the APHA Health Administration Section.

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,

Criteria for nomination are:
• Demonstrates creativity and innovation in advancing the field of health administration.
• Demonstrates consistent leadership in the field of health administration - either within a work setting or with external partners.
• Demonstrates significant contribution or impact on the practice of health administration.
• Improves the practice of public health and health administration (i.e. advancing knowledge, motivating others and creating a positive environment).
Selection criteria include one or more of the following:
• Recognized expertise and leadership in health administration.
• Important contributions to advancing improvement in the health status of communities.
• Advocacy for health administration.
• Development of innovative programs in health administration.
• Collaboration with health, education, social services, or other decision makers and service providers.

HA JPHMP – Special Edition, Special Price

$$$ Special Offer for Health Administration Members $$$

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

The Health Administration Section will highlight members of the Section in a special edition of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice in spring 2010.  Because of this special edition, the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice and the Health Administration Section are offering a Special Members Only Price.  You can receive a bi-monthly individual subscription to JPHMP for just $66.95,  A 30 percent savings off the annual subscription price of $95.50.You’ll receive your printed copy and have full access to the journal online at

Order by clicking here|W9K706WB,
or you can call (800) 638-3030. When ordering by phone, please be sure to mention promotion code D9K706PR to receive this exclusive member discount. If ordering online, use promo code W9K706WB at check out.