I’ve been a member of the American Public Health Association for nearly 15 years now, and am among only perhaps a few hundred people from our profession to join and participate. I’d like to take a little time here to describe APHA and advocate for you to consider joining as a member of the Chiropractic Health Care section. Information I present here can also be found on the APHA website, at http://www.apha.org/.
APHA is the oldest and largest public health organization in the world, and has been in existence since 1872. As the website notes, “the Association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States.” Amongst its members are practitioners, educators and health care professionals of an amazing diversity, and this diversity includes several hundred chiropractors. The vision of APHA is a healthy global society, and it has worked ceaselessly to that end for more than a century. Its mission is to “Improve the health of the public and achieve equity in health status.” APHA gives voice to the underserved and the forgotten, ensuring that our efforts at improving national health leaves no one behind.
Advocacy is a major activity of APHA, and it regularly publishes legislative updates of its actions; the latest can be read at http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyres/74574D4F-4FC8-4920-8526-8B58259C2CF0/0/May2009LegislativeUpdate.pdf.
APHA has 25 sections, each comprised of major public health disciplines. Sections are the primary professional unit of APHA, and it is through its sections that much of its work is accomplished. I am pleased to note that one of the 25 sections is the Chiropractic Health Care section. As it is described on the website, the CHC “enhances public health through the application of chiropractic knowledge to the community by conservative care, disease prevention and health promotion.” The existence of this section is a result of the work of a number of people, but none more so than Dr. Rand Baird, who has been an APHA member for more than 25 years and was instrumental in growing the chiropractic membership. Palmer College has an active number of faculty and administrators among the members of this section.
It is important that we have this voice. Chiropractors serve on APHA’s Governing Council, and have made important input into public health policy. But our numbers are few and more should join. Please consider it. The investment of money pays off in influence, and our influence needs to be heard at the highest levels of our government. APHA can help make that happen.