Magazine article The Nation's Health

Parting Notes from APHA's President: Thanks, Public Health Professionals

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Parting Notes from APHA's President: Thanks, Public Health Professionals

Article excerpt

AS I WRAP UP my year as APHA president, I would like to thank all the APHA-affiliated public health associations, public health professionals and local, state and national leaders who have extended a warm welcome to me during my travels. Assuredly, I learned more from them than they learned from me.

In every corner of the country, I found thoughtful, capable and hardworking professionals whose value well outweighs their wages. There is a clear sense of meaning and purpose to the work shared within APHA's Affiliates. Even when views differed, collegial and mutually respectful interactions were the norm. Challenging issues were on the meeting agendas. I repeatedly heard the pronouns "us" and "we," rather than "they" or "them."

On a recent plane ride home, I jotted down notes about what qualities make the public health workforce so exceptional. In no particular order, my list included purposeful, collegial, informed, compassionate, empathetic, resilient, ethical, innovative, humble, confident, curious, humorous, self-motivated, detail-oriented, proactive, sincere, self-aware, determined, and courageous.

I also had active listener, continuous learner, clear communicator, analytical thinker and receptive to explore explicit and implicit biases on the list. It's clear that there are countless other affirmative words you can--and often do--use to describe your public health colleagues.

Public health has compelling stories to share. I learned that what's in our hearts has a profound influence over the way we approach our work. …

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