Seven KPHA members attended this year’s Region VII Affiliate meeting on May 18-19 in Columbia, Mo. The theme was: “Doing Our Part to Create the Healthiest Nation.” Three KPHA members served as panelists to address: Challenges Facing the Region (Tanya Honderick, KUMC), Tobacco and E-Cigarette Policy (Erica Anderson, LDCHD), and Public Health Messaging (Miranda Steele, SHP).
Region VII is represented by public health associations in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas (MINK). In addition to the panelists, KPHA President Mark Thompson (KSDE), Pam Smith (KDHE), Jennifer Ferguson (KDHE), and Eldonna Chesnut (JCDHE) represented Kansas. Eldonna recognized Louise Lex of Iowa Department of Health and Iowa Public Health Association, for her many years of service as ARGC and CoA region 7 representative. Louise is one of the founding members of MINK and has been instrumental in raising the region’s profile with APHA. Since Louise could not attend the MINK meeting in person, Eldonna used Skype for a virtual presentation of a plaque commending her for her service.
Joyce Gaufin, past president of APHA, traveled from Utah to provide a keynote at the MINK meeting. She led a pointed discussion on the value of public health and the strategies to educate and gain more support from policymakers. As public health practitioners, we have to work across party lines and industries to address the triple aim: reduce cost, increase population health outcomes and improve patient quality of care. Joyce described how different parts of the country were addressing Health in All Policies, or HiAP. This requires more advocacy (and more advocates!), and it’s something KPHA is working to enhance for its members.