Virginia Public Health Association
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The President's Message

May 27, 2016 

At the unofficial beginning of summer, I'm writing to provide a brief update on VAPHA. On April 29th, the Association held its 7th Annual Career Fair and Research Day. An employer expo featuring public health organizations from around Virginia took place in the morning. The keynote presentation was given by Dr. Julietta Rodriguez-Guzman, with PAHO/WHO, entitled "Public Health Workforce Around the World." VAPHA members conducted roundtable discussions on career planning and jobs in public health. In addition, over 20 public health students participated in the Student Research Poster Presentation Competition, with prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

In recent months, VAPHA weighed in on several important public health advocacy issues. In May, we joined other public health organizations in opposing H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016). This bill would significantly weaken school nutrition standards for meals and snacks and beverages (Smart Snacks), accountability and compliance and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The bill would also weaken access to school meal programs. In April, VAPHA signed onto a letter with the American Lung Association in Virginia  urging Governor McAuliffe and his administration to protect the Clean Power Plan from legislative attacks in the General Assembly. In February, we signed onto a letter from APHA and other public health organizations supporting level funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration in the amount of $7.48 billion in the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. 

Our annual conference has been rescheduled for Spring 2017. It will be combined with the Annual Career Fair and Research Day. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved in the planning!

In the meantime, please take some time to visit www.vapha.org to see recent news and job postings. I hope everybody enjoys their summer!

Mike Royster, MD, MPH, FACPM

President, VAPHA

804-380-7058

mroyster@institutephi.org

December 2015

Season’s Greetings VAPHA Members,

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on our progress over the last year, and our plans for 2016. Since the fall of 2014, VAPHA has been an all-volunteer organization due to the end of grant funding. While this has slowed us down a bit, it has not stopped us from making progress as an organization.

On April 23rd of this year, VAPHA hosted our annual student career fair in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. Twelve (12) employers participated, along with 57 students. Immediately after the career fair, we conducted our annual meeting, during which I assumed the role of President for the next two years.

Also during the past year, several long-serving Board members completed their service to VAPHA and were replaced by a new cohort of talented public health professionals who are equally committed to leading VAPHA. Please visit the website to learn more about the current Board and the organizations they represent.

You may recall responding to a survey in June of this year that asked for your feedback on how VAPHA can most effectively support its members and promote the public’s health.  The summary report, which was completed by an MPH student intern, can be found here. The responses identified several benefits that would be valuable for members. These include advocacy and policy development, social networking, and continuing education opportunities. We have begun to focus on these priorities in a number of ways.

In the last several months, VAPHA has lent its support to several advocacy efforts to promote public health. We signed on to the American Lung Association’s Clean Power Plan for Virginia, APHA letters to maintain federal funding for the CDC and HRSA, a letter from a coalition of national public health organizations to support the confirmation of the acting Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a letter from national organizations encouraging Congress to end the ban on federal funding for research into gun violence. Most recently, VAPHA has become a supporter of the American Heart Association’s Closer to Your Grocer campaign in Virginia to advocate for funding from the General Assembly to support the creation of grocery stores in food deserts across the Commonwealth. Overtime, we anticipate the opportunity to engage VAPHA members directly in these and other advocacy efforts.

To address members’ interest in networking opportunities, VAPHA will hold its annual career and internship fair and student poster session in April of 2016 and its conference and annual meeting in the fall of 2016. The latter event will also provide opportunities for members to earn continuing education (CE) credits. As the planning for both events progresses, we will reach out to the VAPHA membership to engage you in the planning. We hope to make other CE opportunities available throughout the year as well.

In Spring 2016, we will publish (online) the inaugural issue of the Virginia Journal of Public Health.  The issue will go into production in January and should be available sometime in February.  We are looking forward to having the journal serve as an opportunity for Virginia-based public health professionals to publish practice and research articles of interest to the Virginia public health community.

Finally, in order to define our organizational direction more clearly and to meet the needs of members as identified in the survey, the VAPHA Board will conduct a half-day strategic planning retreat in March of 2016. Between now and then, please share any additional thoughts you may have about how VAPHA can serve you and how you can become involved in VAPHA to shape it into a leader in advancing the public’s health.

I sincerely thank you for your membership in VAPHA and hope that you are as excited as the VAPHA Board and I are about the great things we can do for our profession and the Commonwealth in 2016 and beyond.  Please spread the word and encourage others to join us on this journey!

Happy Holidays,

Mike Royster, MD, MPH, FACPM

President, VAPHA

804-380-7058

mroyster@institutephi.org

www.vapha.org


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