American Public Health Association
800 I Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001-3710
(202) 777-APHA • Fax: (202) 777-2534
comments@apha.org • http://www.apha.org

Section Leadership Position Descriptions

Section Chair: The Section Chair is an executive management position. There are two events that you are required to appear at during your term. First, you're expected to attend a section chairs-elect training session. Held in Washington, DC at APHA headquarters, your attendance is reimbursed by APHA. Your other in-person responsibility is to run your section's business meetings at the Annual Meeting.

The Section Chair is also responsible for making appointments to certain key positions internal to the section. These positions include:

  • Membership Chair
  • Program Chair
  • Newsletter Chair
  • Website Chair
  • Nominations Chair

Chair-Elect:  In the absence of the Section Chair the Chair-Elect is expected to step in & guide the section. This may include presiding over meetings of the section & making decisions for the sections that may include appointments to key positions. As a Chair-Elect you will need to confirm how your section handles key positions.   

Secretary: The Secretary shall keep the minutes and other records of the Section, and shall transmit to the Executive Director of the Association a copy of the minutes of both the business and scientific sessions as soon as possible after the close of the Annual Meeting. It is also, recommended that minutes be posted on the Section website. When unable to be present at the meeting, he/she shall thoroughly instruct the Secretary-elect, or a substitute in the event the Section has no Secretary-elect, as far in advance of the meeting as possible.
“A Secretary-elect may assist the Secretary in her/his duties.” (APHA Bylaws, Art. XIV, Ss. 6 &7).

“The Section Secretary shall be a member of such (Section Nominating) committee.” (APHA Bylaws, Art. XIV, Sec. 2(a)).

The Secretary is sometimes responsible for the Communication component of the Section, this may include overseeing the development of the Section Newsletter.

Section Councilor: The following describes the general overall responsibilities of the Section Council as whole, without singling out duties specific to any one position on the Council. According to the APHA Bylaws, the duties of the Section Council shall include, but not necessarily be limited to the following:
“To make general recommendations in relation to the Annual Meeting program.
To act on Section membership and on Section policies.
To submit annually to the Governing Council through the Executive Board a report of the transactions of the Section.
To report annually to the Governing Council through the Executive Board on the plans, scope, and policy of the Section during the succeeding year.
To formulate rules of procedure for the Section.
To consider and transmit to the Governing Council resolutions originating in the Section. Only resolutions approved by the Governing Council shall be published as representing the policy of the Association.
To advise on the publication of papers and reports presented at the Section meetings.
To advise the Executive Board with respect to the organization and membership of the Action Board, the forthcoming Science Board, Councils, Task Forces, and Standing Committees.” (APHA Bylaws, Art. XIV, Sec. 9).

Governing Councilor: Governing Councilors are expected to attend each session of the Governing Council at the Annual Meeting. They are expected to prepare for these sessions. Many have discussions with their Governing Councilors about the proposed policies, the major Association decisions coming before the Governing Council, and the election of Association Officers. Often a Section Council will ask that its Governing Councilors present important points about proposed policy statements, and to take to the Public Hearings the views of the Section Council. This latter activity may result in a Governing Councilor participating in proposed policy revisions during and immediately following the Public Hearings, which are held at the Annual Meeting. The Section Governing Councilors are strongly encouraged to work with their Section’s committee(s) and relevant committees on public policy statements.

The Section Chair encourages the Governing Councilors to carry out all of their functions in a manner that best represents the wishes of their Section. Although Governing Councilors should vote their conscience, they must consider the interests and concerns of the members that they represent.