I love the promise and excitement that comes with ringing in a new year, and as I pen this first President’s message, I am especially excited to have the opportunity to serve TPHA in 2019. Pausing briefly to offer sincere thanks to Rendi Murphree, the Program Committee and dozens of volunteers for a marvelous annual conference and 75th anniversary celebration, I know the future is even brighter for TPHA’s next 75 years!
The TPHA vision charges us to be “trusted public health professionals creating a healthier Tennessee,” and rare opportunities are before us, as a host of new decision makers take office in January at the local, regional and state levels. Recognizing this, we spent a good deal of time dreaming about the future at a recent Board meeting, and our discussion was largely framed by your responses to the recent strategic planning survey. Thanks to all who took the time to complete this and to reflect about what the organization is doing well or could do to serve you better. You’ll hear more about these results and have additional opportunities to provide input, but for starters we talked about our consistently high membership totals and increasing student involvement as good things while acknowledging the need to better define TPHA member benefits and reach out to colleagues who are not TPHA members. We talked about the need to seek non-traditional partners, to explore new financial sustainability models and to be recognized as stronger public health advocates.
These “imagining the future” talks will continue even as exciting plans for next year’s conference and so much more are underway. As we head into the New Year, I invite you to “imagine” a stronger TPHA, a growing membership and a brighter, healthier Tennessee. But for now, I thank you for all you do and wish you and your families all the joy and happiness of the holidays.