Public Health Nursing
Section Newsletter
Winter 2008

Message from the Chair

Jeanne Matthews, PHN Section Chair

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


For the remarkable energy showed during the Annual Meeting in November! I am impressed always by the camaraderie, professionalism, caring and great minds that bring so much to each meeting. Thanks to Debra Anderson for her wonderful leadership; to our cadre of past and present officers who keep us moving to meet our strategic priorities; to our Governing Councilors and members on APHA committees for the countless hours spent behind closed doors to make APHA more effective; to our PHN Section Councilors and Section committee members and leaders for their guidance in dealing with an ever-changing health landscape; and most of all, to you, our members, for your continued enthusiasm for improving health in a nation that has so far to go.


The Annual Meeting, with its emphasis on “Politics, Policy and Public Health,” kicked off a year of political focus in preparation for the national election that will follow the upcoming meeting in San Diego. We continue to face a crisis in health and health care. Basic access to services does not exist for so many Americans. This year, the number of uninsured in the United States rose for the sixth year in a row to 47 million — including nearly 9 million children1. Yet programs like SCHIP are threatened with inadequate funds to meet demands. Moreover, the ability to meet basic needs is endangered for the one in eight Americans living below the poverty level2. Will this be the year to make a difference?


Public health nurses live policy every day. As trusted members of their community, they influence policy at the local, state and national level, whether they are collaborating with community partners to create non-smoking ordinances or advocating for healthy choices in school lunch menus, creating talking points for a visit by their state legislator or communicating with their Congressional representatives about pending legislation. Do you use the power you have in your community to make a difference? Let us not lose the enthusiasm of November 2007 as we consider local, state and national candidates. Regardless of your political affiliation, stay informed, let your voice be heard and make sure that you are registered to vote. We can make a difference by delineating our vision, raising our voices and improving our visibility!


Immediately following our last session in November, a number of Section members came together to brainstorm about the 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego. A great and heartfelt discussion ensued concerning the backlash targeting both documented and undocumented immigrants in this country. There was such energy around this topic that we decided to make it a focus during the 2008 meeting. The topic is one that fits well with “Public Health Without Borders” -- the Annual Meeting theme -- as well as our Section priorities of ensuring social justice and eliminating health disparities. Please think about the health issues that exist around such a backlash. What are the ethical issues raised by denying services to those who are here? What is the community impact when select groups are disenfranchised? Let me know your thoughts and if you are interested in this issue.


Moving our strategic priorities


In addition to the strategic priorities linked to social justice and health disparities, we continue to focus on promoting environmental health through follow up on the work of the Environmental Health Task Force. Do you use the Environmental Health Principles for Public Health Nursing in your public health practice, education, policy and/or research? The document and action plan is available for your use. Feedback about how you are using the principles is always welcome. Send them to Past PHN Section Chair Marjory Buchanan here.


The last two strategic priorities serve as the backbone of public health nursing’s future: strengthening the public health work force and engaging students. Limits on public health nursing capacity threaten the health of communities across the nation. If you have not read the Quad Council update on the shortage, I encourage you to do so reviewing the Quad Council Shortage document located here.


Capacity challenges, however, exist beyond the public health nursing shortage. Are public health nurses adequately prepared? Do our future PHNs have the partnership skills needed to collaborate for healthy communities?  Are they ready to accept the leadership challenges that exist within the public health system? These skills are vital to transforming a health care system into one that values health and not just health services.


Colleagues, how will you be a part of the solution? If you are in practice, do you open your door to students in your community? If you are a seasoned public health nurse, do you mentor less-experienced PHNs? As an educator, have you reached out to the practicing PHNs in your community? Do you collaborate with your practice partners to meet the needs of the community, in addition to working with your students? Do you share your research expertise with those in practice to advance the evidence base for public health nursing? Have you sought out adjunct appointments for those practice partners?


Be a part of the solution! As we prepare to celebrate National Public Health Week (NPHW) during April, consider how you might enhance the vision, voice and visibility of public health nursing. Work within your organization to facilitate a high school or university student shadowing a PHN for a day. Encourage your community to participate in NPHW activities. Do you have other ideas about how to be part of the solution? Send me your ideas and we will see that they get out to the membership. The best way to educate others about public health nursing and engage new PHNs is to get out there and get involved.


As we transition into this exciting year, join with us. Make a difference. Visit the PHN Section Web site and find a committee. Share your many talents and let your voice be heard.


Jeanne Matthews, PhD, RN


E-mail me: or



1Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “More Americans, Including More Children, Now Lack Health Insurance”, August 31, 2007.

2U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Campaign for Human Development,

 Poverty USA: The State of Poverty in America”,

2007 PHN Section Awardees Recognized

At the APHA Annual Meeting each year, the PHN Section is pleased to honor those men and women who exemplify distinguished careers and service in public health.  At the 135th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Anne Schmidt Belcher, Derryl E. Block and Naomi E. Ervin were award recipients.


Anne Schmidt Belcher, DNS, RN, accepted the 2007 Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award. 
Dr. Belcher’s achievements have focused in the education. Her expertise has been in developing and sustaining numerous university/community partnerships that have provided rich learning experiences for health students. These collaborations played an integral part in decreasing health disparities for under-served and vulnerable populations while increasing capacity for healthy communities.


Beyond successes in health profession education, Anne’s creative and successful community partnerships provided the impetus to increase the health promoting capacities of the public health workforce and local communities.  Evidence of this is a partnership that she facilitated between the state health department and the school of nursing that resulted in an improvement in community immunization practices.


Anne has also ventured beyond the scope of the university and local communities by sharing the successful outcomes from these collaborative partnerships at regional and national meetings and in peer reviewed journals.


Derryl E. Block, PhD, RN, was honored with the 2007 Lillian Wald Service Award. 
Dr. Block has been a powerful and important voice for public health nursing.  Her leadership positions in public health nursing have been evident in the Public Health Nursing Section of APHA, the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and various other local, state and national organizations.  Dr. Block’s purposeful decision-making and strategic planning have demonstrated her leadership in the policy arena.  She is committed to social change, and her persistence and determination have allowed her to become a powerful agent for change.


Committed to population health, her goal is to increase the public health nursing work force in the 21st Century.  A proponent of distance learning, she has developed innovative models for graduate and undergraduate nursing education.  Dr. Block developed the Population Based Public Health Nursing Competency Instrument.  She continues to use this tool with a goal of elevating and promoting population-based public health nursing practice.


Dr. Block is a leader and activist who strives to empower students and public health nurses to advance population-based public health nursing practice.


Naomi E. Ervin, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN, received the 2007 Ruth B. Freeman Award.

Dr. Ervin’s distinguished career encompasses 39 years in public health nursing in the practice, education and policy domains. Her career began as a staff public health nurse at the Wayne County Health Department in Michigan.  She then progressed to supervisor, clinical director, and mentor and eventually to director of PHN at the Chicago Department of Health.  Adjunct appointments at two universities spurred her transition from administration to education.


Dr. Ervin led the Department of Public Health Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago for five years.  There she increased student enrollment, facilitated research, and was instrumental in developing a Community Nursing Center in a poor, under-served Chicago neighborhood.  At this center, undergraduate and graduate nursing students worked with disparate and needy populations.


Dr. Ervin has held numerous leadership positions in public health nursing organizations at the local, state and national levels.  As president of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE), she led the organization in defining the essentials of baccalaureate, masters and doctoral education. In 1999, Dr. Ervin was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing

2007 PHN Section award recipients, left to right: Anne Schmidt Belcher, DNS, RN (PHN Creative Achievement Award), Naomi E. Ervin, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN (Ruth B. Freeman Award), Derryl E. Block, PhD, RN (Lillian Wald Service Award)

2007 Beverly C. Flynn Legacy Leadership Winners and Mentors Honored

Each fall the Public Health Nursing Section recognizes those individuals who were selected as Beverly C. Flynn Nursing Legacy Leadership Program winners and their PHN Section mentors. The 2007 Flynn Program winners were: Lenise Chege (mentor-Diane Downing), Jessica Dean (mentor-Jeanne Matthews), Linda Lindquist (mentor-Rita Lourie), Sithokozile Maposa (mentor-Carolyn Blue), Kristin Marcantonio (mentor-Pam Kulbok), Jennifer Mitchell (mentor-Betty Daniels), Chiwugo Florence Nwoga (mentor-Betty Bekemeier), and Laarni San Juan (mentor-Marjorie Buchanan).  Congratulations!

If you or someone you know is interested in applying to the Beverly C. Flynn Legacy Leadership program or becoming a program mentor, contact Anne Belcher or click here for more information on the Beverly C. Flynn Legacy Leadership Program.

Beverly C. Flynn Legacy Leadership Program Winners & Mentors at the 2007 PHN Town Hall in D.C..

Public Health Nurses in the NEWS

PHN Section Member Cathy Taylor Appointed Tennessee Assistant Commissioner

In May 2007, Public Health Nursing Section member Cathy R. Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, was appointed as the new assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health’ s Bureau of Health Services Administration. Taylor oversees a system of 13 regional health offices responsible for the oversight of services in 89 rural and six metropolitan county health departments. Read the press release here: Department of Health Names Cathy R. Taylor Assistant Commissioner.


Section Members Debut New Public Health Nursing Textbook


Louise Ivanov and Carolyn Blue are editors of a new public health nursing textbook Public Health Nursing: Leadership, Policy, and Practice that became available January 2008.  Many PHN Section members wrote chapters for the book that focus on key issues in public health nursing, including populations and aggregates, the political process, public health nursing activism, and leadership in health policy development.  An emphasis on Healthy People 2010 objectives underscores the core functions of population-based practice and prepares the public health nurse for the challenges of current and future national and global health issues.  The textbook features core competencies for public health nursing practice, research and practice applications, a comprehensive resources list, cost analysis, high-risk populations, health policy, and disaster preparedness.  The textbook is published by CENGAGE Delmar Learning.


Carole Staley Collins Awarded Doctorate in Education Leadership & Policy

Carole Staley Collins received her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Maryland College Park in May 2007.  Collins’ dissertation title is "Older Gardeners as Keepers of the Earth: A Phenomenological Study."

Celebrate National Public Health Week 2008

Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance

The health effects of climate change will take center stage during National Public Health Week, April 7-13, 2008. As part of the weeklong observance, themed "Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance," APHA will lead the charge in helping people, communities and families recognize that adapting to climate change and mitigating its impact is critical not just for the health of our planet, but for the health of the people in our nation and around the world.

Changes in our climate are causing more severe weather events. Extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, high winds, snowstorms, floods and hurricanes have the potential to dramatically affect the health and safety of both individuals and our communities. Changing ecosystems allow for emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases such as dengue or malaria, which are changing the spectrum of disease risks affecting populations. In poorer parts of the world, drought and floods often force people to move away from lands no longer producing enough food, often resulting in hunger and malnutrition. Moreover, contaminated drinking water can result in outbreaks of diarrheal diseases leading to dehydration or death.

Few Americans will ever see the melting Greenland ice cap up close, or interact with an arctic polar bear facing extinction as its habitat melts. But local public health professionals around the country increasingly will be dealing with the impacts of climate change on the ground, every day. Join APHA as we work to create a healthier planet. Visit the official National Public Health Week Web site at to check out the climate change blog and brochure, sign up to be a National Public health Week partner, or add your week's event to the national calendar. For more information about National Public Health Week, contact

Become A PHN Section Member

Not a member of APHA or

Public Health Nursing Section?


As of Dec. 1, 2007, APHA members may choose to add up to two additional section memberships.  Each membership beyond your primary section costs $30 each.  If you are not a member of the Public Health Nursing Section, we invite you to become a member today.  Click here to add your PHN Section membership.


Join the Newly Formed Genomics Forum

Members of the Public Health Nursing Section are invited to join the new Genomics Forum of APHA.  This Forum will be one of the first to represent a new structure within APHA that was created to address cross-cutting issues and facilitate communication across Sections and Special Primary Interest Groups.  By joining the Genomics Forum, APHA members retain their affiliation with their Sections.  


Genomics – the study of genes and how they relate to each other and with the environment - is increasingly a public health issue.  Expanding research and new applications of genomics in clinical and public health settings provide challenges and opportunities for public health nurses to promote equitable access to genetic services, and prevent misuse of genetic information and technology.  For example, multiple government agencies are placing substantial funds into clinical applications such as pharmacogenomics (i.e. personalized medicine) without assessing this agenda from a public health perspective and its relative impact on individual rights and community health.  To ensure that personalized medicine means public medicine, APHA must be at the forefront of conversations about how genomics will be used in relationship to population health in America and worldwide.  This Forum will contribute to the realization of that goal.


With the support of the Community Health Planning and Policy Development and Maternal and Child Health Sections, the Genomics Forum was approved as an official APHA component in November 2007.  More than 130 APHA members have currently enrolled in the Genomics Forum, representing a growing, interdisciplinary group of individuals including practitioners, researchers, students and community members from state and federal governmental agencies, advocacy groups, academia and health care organizations.  The Forum is committed to a diverse membership from APHA Sections, SPIGs and Caucuses and hopes to work with the Public Health Nursing Section and its members on issues of mutual interest.


The Forum currently communicates via listserv, in regular conference calls and through the development of a Web site.  The Forum is currently accepting abstracts for the 2008 Annual Meeting and is working through its Policy, Membership and Communications, Special Projects, and Program Committees on activities in work force development, policy development, advocacy, research and other areas.  Activities are based on the needs and interests of our members.  All are invited to participate in one of the general membership calls and to join any of the Forum’s committees. 


Please visit our Web site to see a schedule of upcoming activities and to sign-up for the Genomics Forum here.

Calling All Students

The Student Assembly of APHA would like to extend an invitation to all nursing students to get involved with our group. Although only full time students can be “official” members of the Student Assembly, we are happy to have part-time student involvement in our activities. After the New Year, we will be working on activities for National Public Health Week, collecting articles for our newsletter and recruiting committee members for our various committees. If you are interested in getting more information about Student Assembly activities, please e-mail Student Assembly ChairTamar Klaiman at

2008 PHN Newsletter Deadlines

Are you interested in contributing to the PHN Newsletter?  Do you have any research findings that you wish to share with your PHN colleagues?  Or maybe you've received an award or other recognition.  The PHN Newsletter is the place for you to connect with public health nurses nationally and internationally.  For more information contact David Reyes or Deitra WynnRemember: the submission deadline for the 2008 Spring/Summer issue is May 16, 2008; the Fall issue deadline is August 22, 2008.  We hope to hear from you!

Save the Date for 2008 Section Business Conference Call and Mid-Year Meeting

There will be a PHN Leadership Conference Call on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 at 4 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  Public Health Nursing Section members are invited to participate in the general PHN Membership Conference Call on Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 1 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  Watch for a "Blast E-mail" with more details.

The PHN Section’s mid-year meeting will be held at APHA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 28 and Saturday, March 29, 2008.  The agenda for the mid-year meeting is as follows:

March 28:

9 a.m. – 12 p.m., APHA Headquarters (Open time for Section committee meetings)

12-5 p.m., APHA Headquarters (Lunch and Full Business Meeting)

6 p.m. (Dinner for those interested; place TBA)

March 29:

8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., APHA Headquarters (Breakfast & Business Meeting)

2:30 p.m. (Adjourn)

Call for 2007-2008 PHN Award Nominations

The Public Health Nursing Section of APHA is calling for award nominations.   Each year the PHN Section recognizes members nominated by their peers in the following categories: Ruth B. Freeman Award, Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award, and Lillian Wald Service Award.  Awards winners will be announced and presented their awards at this year's 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego.


The Ruth B. Freeman Award honors a person who has had a distinguished career in public health administration, education, policy, practice or research.


The Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award is bestowed in recognition of an individual's exceptional and creative contribution to public health nursing administration, education, practice or research.


The Lillian Wald Service Award is awarded to agencies, individuals, organizations or media, for depicting exemplary public health nursing especially through legislative, professional or public advocacy.


Deadline for submission is May 2, 2008. Nominees must be members of APHA and voting members of the Public Health Nursing Section. If the nominee is a group, at least one active member of the group must be a member of APHA and a voting member of the Public Health Nursing Section. The Awards Committee encourages nominations and is happy to answer questions regarding preparation of materials. For questions or for application and award details click here.

2007 Annual Meeting Highlights

History was made when public health nurse Cheryl Easley, PhD, RN (pictured left), was elected in 2007 as APHA president-elect at the 134th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  Easley's sister Carol Easley Allen, PhD, RN (pictured right), served as APHA president in 2000.

PHN Section Governing Councilors prepare for Governing Council business at APHA in Washington, D.C.


Immediate Past-Chair Debra Anderson addresses PHN Section members at the morning business meeting.

The PHN Section booth was a happening place during the annual exposition.

Immediate Past-Chair Debra Anderson, PHN Section Chair Jeanne Matthews, Chair-Elect Beth Lamanna.