Magazine article Policy & Practice

Affiliates' Corner

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Affiliates' Corner

Article excerpt

ISM Holds 38th Annual Conference

IT Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM), the oldest of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) affiliates, held its 38th annual conference in Greensboro, N.C., on August 28-31. More than 550 state, local, federal and private-sector IT professionals attended the event.

The theme of the conference was "Leveraging Technology to Strengthen Communities," recognizing the fact that information technology exists to service specific program requirements, but that it is now time to use this technology to bridge programs to address the total needs of individuals. Clarence Carter, deputy administrator for the Food Stamp Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Services, and Nancy Polend from APHSA addressed this theme in their opening presentation, "Poverty and Prosperity-Leveraging Technology for Change."

Another highlight of the conference was former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson's opening address on Tuesday morning, "States as Drivers of Innovation." Thompson urged states again to take the lead in reshaping and streamlining state health and human service programs as they had in the 1990s to ensure assistance for families who need it most in the years to come.

ISM has been recognizing excellence in human service IT for years, but at this year's conference this process was formalized with the presentation of ISM Recognition Awards. The award for Innovation in Service Delivery was presented to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for its EBT Daycare Project. The award for Application of New Technologies was presented to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services for its automated child welfare information system. The Collaboration Across Boundaries award was presented to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative.

Also new to the conference this year was the opportunity for states to network with other states that have common issues during a brown bag lunch on Tuesday. Wednesday was federal government day with David Brailer, national coordinator for health information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services, presenting "the Decade of Health Information Technology," followed by a federal panel discussing issues that cut across all federal agencies and providing individual program updates. …

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