Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: NHPHA Highlights of 2020 - Looking Forward to 2021

by Lisa Bujno, NHPHA President

“The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him, but the number of people he serves.”

This sentiment on leadership from John Maxwell was never more pertinent than in 2020, as the public health community came together to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to see dedicated public health staff across the nation working diligently to address the emerging public health threat and devise strategies to best tackle the challenges. In 2020 we experienced the full array of leadership skills, from the stellar work of our own state and local public health partners to the too frequent and tragic examples of poor crisis leadership.

At NHPHA in 2020, we continued our quest to support public health in our state and, like other organizations, changed to meet the rapidly changing environment. Of vital importance was our work supporting the COVID-19 Equity Task Force, addressing longstanding inequities for vulnerable populations that were brought to the forefront by the impact of the pandemic. Recognizing the need to become more effective in our public policy work, NHPHA spent time gathering information from stakeholders on the most critical public health issues facing our state. Our four policy priorities, which can be found on our website here, will allow us to better address the most important policy issues that we face.

NHPHA also worked internally on issues of diversity and equity, examining our own practices and planning for improvements that will enable us to better advocate for all populations. We continued our workforce programs as well, including our mentorship program, lobbying and advocacy training and our recent TUTA conference. Sadly, we bid farewell to our executive director, Joan Ascheim, as well as several Board members who found a need to step back during 2020. Marcella Bobinsky, Neil Twitchell, and Mary Ann Aldrich have all made significant contributions to NHPHA, and we will miss their wise counsel. We will welcome new board members to several vacant board seats in January.

The coming year promises to be another critical juncture for public health. NHPHA will help support COVID-19 vaccination efforts across the state with accurate information and will continue to address workforce and public policy needs. NHPHA stands ready to serve both the people of New Hampshire and the public health sector.

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