An Open Letter to School Health Champions and Advocates
Dear Supporter of School Health,
I am honored to have been selected to serve as the American School Health Association (ASHA) President this year. I firmly believe that 2018 will be a great year for ASHA, a year that will see much growth and progress towards our mission to transform all schools into places where every student learns and thrives. I want to take this opportunity to welcome the new year by sharing some news and updates about ASHA and the exciting work ahead.
ASHA’s Staffing and Management Transition
In December, you may have seen a message from 2016-2017 ASHA President, Sharon Murray announcing our separation from MCI-USA, a professional management company that had been supporting ASHA’s business operations since October 2013. That transition was the first step in developing a major new partnership for ASHA. For much of the past year, the Board of Directors has been engaged in strategic conversations about ways to expand our reach and further the progress towards our mission.
Today, I am excited to announce the culmination of those conversations in the form of an agreement with Indiana University (IU). For many years, IU has been one of our most consistent supporters and champions. Most of us are familiar with IU’s annual sponsorship of the National School Health Conference and the countless IU alumni and faculty who are proud ASHA members and current or past leaders of the Association, including several past presidents. Anyone who works in the school health profession is familiar with the legacy and reputation IU has when it comes to leadership in school health. I want to thank the 2017 Board of Directors, under Sharon Murray’s leadership, for their foresight in building this new foundation that I believe will lead to a prosperous future for ASHA.
Beginning on January 8, 2018, staff of the Indiana Prevention Resource Center located at IU will start implementing a detailed work plan and set of activities that will expand ASHA’s capacity to transform all schools into places where every student learns and thrives. Some of the activities IU staff will lead include:
- Supporting ASHA’s organizational committees that do great work in the areas of advocacy, leadership, school health research, and professional development.
- Developing and implementing membership recruitment and retention campaigns.
- Securing sponsors and donors for ASHA’s important programs and initiatives.
- Expanding ASHA’s social media presence including the further development of our four Networking Communities. And,
- Leading implementation and coordination of the Annual School Health Conference.
This is just a small sample of the exhaustive work that IU will take on this year. I have been honored to work closely with the staff at IU for the past several months as we have prepared for and negotiated the details of this agreement. I have been impressed by their professionalism and enthusiasm and I am confident we are heading in the right direction. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of messages on this blog introducing you to the staff at IU who will be supporting ASHA in 2018 and detailing the work that they will take on. In the meantime, you can continue to reach ASHA through this website, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by phone (202-854-1721).
2018 Annual School Health Conference
In recognition of our new relationship with IU, I am pleased to announce that the ASHA Board of Directors has selected Indianapolis, Indiana as the host city for our 92nd Annual School Health Conference to be held in October 2018. Planning for the conference is already well underway. We will be making further announcements about dates, hotel accommodations, abstract submissions, awards, and scholarships in the next few weeks. Watch for more information on the ASHA Website and via email soon.
ASHA envisions healthy students who learn and achieve in safe and healthy environments nurtured by caring adults functioning within coordinated school and community support systems. I know that every one reading this message believes in and cares deeply about our vision and the role ASHA plays in its realization. I want to thank you for your support of ASHA as we continue this great work together. I believe that this transition will bolster ASHA’s strong foundation and help us build a prosperous future where this vision will finally be seen. I am excited for the year ahead!
I wish you a happy, healthy, and safe new year.