An update on the status of the Section as we move closer to the annual meeting…
The 2006 Annual Meeting
This year’s Annual Meeting will take place November 4-8 in Boston, MA and has the theme of “Public Health and Human Rights.” The Mental Health Section Program is very strong this year (see program listing below). I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our Program Planner David Mandell, who was assisted by Joe Goulet. Joe has graciously agreed to be the Planner for the 2008 meeting, so many thanks to him for that.
This year’s conference falls on Election Day. Please make a note to register to vote with an absentee ballot (unless you are from Boston!)
The Section Social will take place on Monday evening as usual. See details below. Please mark your calendars to join us for food, drink, networking, a student poster session, presentation of Section Awards, and the chance to catch up with each other.
Also, please note that the Section has several business meetings. Only one of these is a closed meeting (Sunday at 2 PM). All section members are invited to join us for the 4PM meeting on Sunday to catch up on section happenings and meet other section members.
We had our mid-year meeting on the phone, and it was very successful. Various results from that call are detailed later in the newsletter. Starting next year, I am planning to have quarterly calls instead of a single mid-year call and have set up a conference call line for the section for that purpose. As these calls are scheduled I will send out a note with the phone number and access code.
New Section Leaders
I would like to welcome four new folks to Section Leadership posts. Jim Banta and Mike Haney are our new Section Counselors; Douglas P. Gibson is now on the Governing Council; and Leigh Ann Simmons is our new Secretary. Thanks to all four for volunteering their time to the section.
Speaking of volunteering, I am in need of a new editor for the section Newsletter. Anthony Kouzis has held this post admirably for several years (many thanks Tony!), and it is time for him to move on to other things. If you are interested in helping to put together the newsletter please let me know as soon as possible.
Also, as the annual meeting approaches we are in need of volunteers to man the Section Booth. If you are attending the meeting please consider donating a few hours to meet and greet APHA members to the section booth and hopefully recruit some new members as well. See the note on the booth happenings from Kathleen Thomas below.
The Fall is approaching and I am looking forward to seeing everybody at the Annual Meeting. Don’t forget to register to vote absentee! In the meantime, please feel free to contact me about section matters.
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A NEW EFFORT TO EXPAND MEMBERSHIP
Rani Desai and I are engaged in an ongoing discussion with Susan Radius of the Executive Committee and Fran Atkinson, Head of Component Affairs about section membership. We have been concerned about expanding membership in the Mental Health Section and have been discussing a new membership category or altering the existing Special Health Care Worker category. In short, we think APHA generally, and the mental health section specifically, would benefit from a two-tier membership level, where case managers and other professional heath workers would join at a much reduced rate and receive the Nations Health but not AJPH. This would be useful as a whole to APHA since it would auger a mechanism by which we could potentially represent the largest contingent of health care professionals in the US, which would further expand our influence and ability to shape national dialogue.
Further, the mental health section could grow since the vast majority of public mental health workers such as case managers are sub-terminal degree and do not currently have any type of active collective organization. We have been strategizing about what tangible deliverables could accrue them, and dissemination of evidence-based practices through pre-conference workshops, the section newsletter, and through the internet are but a few ideas in that regard. We also are cognizant that seats on Governing Council are granted based on membership size, and that other sections without such a constituency, like epidemiology, might not like a relatively diminished role, especially given reduced membership rates, so we also thought that if the professional membership were, say, 10% of the regular membership, that it would also count just 10% for council seats also. We thought it important in order to swell the ranks, so to speak, to make the professional membership very inexpensive such that even persons making relatively little income could join.
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