North Carolina Affiliate Gains Strength from New Infrastructure

By Johnson, Teddi Dineley | The Nation's Health, March 2008 | Go to article overview

North Carolina Affiliate Gains Strength from New Infrastructure


Johnson, Teddi Dineley, The Nation's Health


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Callers to the North Carolina Public Health Association are hearing a rather unusual greeting these days. Staff members answer phones with a pleasant, "Thank you for calling the Public Health Associations of North Carolina."

No, it's not a wrong number. In fact, for NCPHA and its two sister organizations, it's just the right number.

In a move that is expected to improve cross-collaboration and public health efforts throughout the state, the North Carolina Public Health Association has joined with the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors and the North Carolina Alliance for Public Health Agencies. Under the umbrella of the Public Health Associations of North Carolina, the three organizations have spent the past 18 months carving out a unique infrastructure that includes sharing office space--with all personnel and payroll records housed in the same location--conference planning, advocacy, membership recruitment and retention, outreach, public awareness, training and work force development.

North Carolina Public Health Association President Wayne Raynor, MPH, health director for Cumberland County, N.C., said he's not aware of any other APHA Affiliate with a similar infrastructure.

"It's unusual," Raynor said. "It accomplishes good things for public health in North Carolina."

The collective membership of the three separate organizations adds advocacy and legislative strength "when we have common legislative goals," said Raynor, who is an APHA member. Raynor is also a member of the Affiliate's two sister organizations and is a past president of the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors.

"Legislators know and trust the health directors in their district, so that is a further benefit," Raynor said. "When you have all three agencies, you improve communication, collaboration and your legislative agenda. Those are big things, and sharing resources as well is helpful. It's more cost effective and efficient."

Each organization brings its own set of opportunities to the newly established "confluence," as it has been dubbed. The North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors is the membership association for the health directors of North Carolina's 100 counties. The North Carolina Alliance for Public Health Agencies, which is the group's funding arm, functions as a temporary staffing agency and assists health departments in meeting their staffing demands. …

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