How to Get Involved in the MCH Section
First , Join the American Public Health Association and attend the Annual Meetings
. The meetings are held in October or November every year in a major city. The meeting draws between 10,000-12,000 public health professionals each year. There of hundreds of scientific sessions, meetings and social events with great opportunities to learn about new developments in your field and to network with colleagues. Most of all it is also a lot of fun!! Contact Jessie Richardson-Hood, MCH Membership Chair, at email
for additional information.
Second, Attend the new member workshops. The APHA holds an organization-wide new member orientation on Sunday morning prior to the opening of the meeting on Sunday night. Immediately following the APHA-wide session, the MCH Membership Chair holds a new member orientation to speak specifically about our section. Check your APHA Meeting Program to see where the meeting will be held.
Third, Select a MCH committee or Committees which are of interest to you and attend the committee meetings. Committee meetings are generally held starting on Sunday of the annual APHA meeting. Most committees will have met by Tuesday Lunch. (See MCH Section Committees
for a description of committees.) This is the key entry point for activities within the MCH Section. Section activities are almost all committee based. Committees welcome anyone who wishes to attend and participate. Volunteer readily and you will quickly find yourself involved extensively in the Section and APHA. Committee chairs generally change every couple of years. This too is a volunteer position, so that after attending a couple of annual meetings you will most likely find yourself chairing a committee. This puts you on the Section Leadership Council and away you go. Section Council leads to elected positions within MCH which then lead to elected or appointed positions in APHA (someday maybe even president of the organization).
Fourth, Attend the Martha May Eliot Luncheon & Forum. The Martha May Eliot Luncheon & Forum are the premier events for the MCH Section each annual meeting. The luncheon is a social event which recognizes an outstanding career MCH professional in honor of Dr. Martha May Eliot
. The Forum which follows, addresses an important policy issue in MCH. This is a great opportunity to meet others in the section. Tickets are required to eat at the luncheon but not to attend. Tickets can be purchased at the "Meals" Booth at the APHA Meeting Registration Area. No tickets are required for the Forum.
Fifth, Attend the maternal & child health business meeting on Tuesday afternoon. This is our open business meeting for all Maternal & Child Health Section Members or interested parties. You will hear reports of Section activities, committees, and issues facing MCH which the Section and APHA need to address. All in attendance are welcome to participate in discussions, ask questions, or provide comments. Most MCH professionals attending APHA attend this meeting, so it is also a great place to catch up with someone you want to meet.
Notes for success:
1. Don't be put off by fancy credentials. MCH professionals on the whole are a very approachable group. We are friendly and are eager to meet new professionals in our field and help students. So just go right up, introduce yourself, and ask what you can do to help or query them about their latest publication or development in their state or local area.
2. Get to APHA early. MCH Section committee and other meetings start Sunday afternoon and are generally done by the end of the Business Meeting on Tuesday Afternoon. Take advantage of those lower airfares with a Saturday stay and be ready to go starting Sunday.
3. Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer! The key to volunteering is not what you volunteer for, or how much you do, but the follow-through. Don't hesitate to volunteer if something interests you. It may be that you can be paired with a more experienced Section member who can assist with completing the task. When you complete it successfully, volunteer again!!
4. Try to have fun. APHA can be big and overwhelming, but once you meet people you will look forward every year to seeing them again at the meeting to discuss issues, as well as check out local restaurants and sights.