Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Letter from the Executive Director

Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Letter from the Executive Director

Article excerpt

I have long contended that human services is among the most noble of all professions. At its very core, public human services is predicated on the principles of compassion, inclusion, integrity, and ethical practice. Often, human service professionals have to face extraordinary challenges, including inadequate resources, low pay, mounting public expectations, and high visibility. In spite of this, our colleagues embrace their public trust with competence and enthusiasm. As a result, every day millions of people are provided necessary services in a timely, accurate, effective, and caring manner.

At no time is our professional resolve tested more than during times of disaster and tragedy. Like others, the horrifying events that unfolded on the morning of September 11, 2001, will be permanently etched in my memory. For many of us, it evokes the empty, chilling, even sickening sensation that has accompanied other national tragedies, including the assassination of our leaders, the space shuttle explosion, and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Fortunately, I also have other memories that grew out of this disaster and these memories confirm my intense pride in our coworkers and the nature of the work that we do. I would like to share some of them with you.

* On the morning of September 11, I attended a working conference on health care that was sponsored by APHSA in Austin, Texas. In spite of the obvious distraction and fears of the attendees, the group decided to put personal considerations aside and continued to work on this important matter. Their dedication, professionalism, and commitment to the task at hand are indeed admirable.

* Upon hearing of the airliner crash at the Pentagon, I contacted APHSA staff in Washington, D.C. I was impressed with the calm, thoughtful, and courageous manner in which my coworkers were coping with the tragedy. Many staff had friends and relatives working at the Pentagon. Even during the height of the mayhem, they managed to address APHSA's most critical needs and the association continued to function, even if staff had to work from home. …

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