President's Message - September 2017

Friends and colleagues,

For the last two and half years, I have had the great pleasure of working with and learning from so many dedicated and passionate public health professionals through my NHPHA work. As of October 1, I am pleased to pass the proverbial Board Chair baton to Rebecca Sky, Project Director at the Foundation for Healthy Communities.

As I reflect upon my time serving NHPHA and our members, a few memories notable memories come to mind, as does the recognition of personal growth - in particular, a deepened understanding and internalization of the multi-faceted equity issues facing our nation today.

In 2015, NHPHA celebrated its 20th anniversary in a joint celebration with the Community Health Institute JSI. We celebrated our colleagues in the field with poster sessions and Ignite-style presentations at the Red River Theater. And in 2016, our policy efforts contributed to the continued funding for Medicaid Expansion, protecting the health of tens of thousands of NH residents, and ultimately the continued vibrancy of our economy.

Last year, we also shared a collective gasp of concern when an incredible shift in national politics shook the ground beneath us, potentially threatening the public health, climate, and social justice advances of the previous eight years. From that perceived political rubble rose a powerful, unified voice speaking on behalf of our neighbors who face inequitable barriers to health, social, and economic prosperity for any number of reasons.

That collective voice was never louder than at the NH Women’s Day of Action and Unity rally on January 21, attended by more than 5,000 people in Concord and many more around the world. I had the incredible honor to speak on behalf of public health and climate, and what I remember being most proud of was seeing my NHPHA colleagues in the crowd, carrying an NHPHA banner and a multitude of posters, adding our message to the developing narrative. As the underlying injustices and systemic inequities built into our country’s fabric continue to be brought to light and are more widely understood, I hope NHPHA continues to promote the health equity message and impact real change at all levels of government, and across all sectors.

I realize what has made these particular memories so meaningful is the sense of community and common purpose that we all share – to make sure that everyone has equitable opportunities to achieve their best health and best lives. And I strongly believe that NHPHA is in a better position than ever to contribute to that purpose, by supporting and enhancing all the public health work and continuing our promotion of sound public health policy.

As I close this final President’s Message, I think back to a recent conversation with a colleague for whom I have great respect. We were discussing what inspires us to volunteer for various purposes, and recognizing the privileges in our lives that allow us to do so. This colleague shared a motto passed down by a parent, likened to a certain athletic brand’s slogan – “Just do it.” I have had great privilege in my life affording me the opportunity to “just do it”. At the risk of sounding like an award ceremony speech, I must thank my husband, my children, the NHPHA Board of Directors, and my incredibly supportive employer, JSI for giving me space to serve and grow and support the public health field and our constituents.

Thank you, for this space and this time.

Be well,
Katie
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