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NALBOH Newsbrief President's Message

Thursday, April 2, 2015  
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This is proving to be an exciting year as we persevere with this great member-driven organization. The adventure as your 2015 NALBOH President is bustling and I am honored to serve. We take pride in the acknowledgement that NALBOH is the only public health organization that is board of health member driven.  My pledge to the membership is to employ a positive approach and to perceive challenges as opportunities.

 As NALBOH we are board of health members leading, advocating for, sharing, and providing education for board of health members.

Our membership is extremely important to the success of NALBOH. We want each entity that serves the health department as a board, council, committee, commission, whatever the title, to have the opportunity to become a part of the NALBOH organization. Many boards are renewing their membership, many are new members and we welcome those who want to join. NALBOH is an opportunity and a resource for all types of boards of health. We have something for everyone and we are willing to share our expertise in board leadership, board development and educational opportunities. Would you check to see if there are boards of health in your own state or neighboring states that should be members? We have an ambitious goal of 400 members in 2015. Help us reach that goal.

 An essential event that contributes to the success of NALBOH is the annual NALBOH Conference. The 2015 conference, Leading the Race in Board Governance promises to be energized, fast-paced educational and network opportunity. Mark your calendar or register now for the big event to be held August 5-7 in Louisville, Kentucky. There is a special early bird price, a member price and a nonmember registration fee. It pays to register early and be a NALBOH member. Registration is so easy.

Check the website, regularly for the most current information concerning the conference.  

Our focus for NALBOH 2015 is to be mission driven: To strengthen and improve public health governance. To be relevant: To engage in events, programs educational opportunities, technical support, and partnerships to enhance the functions and responsibilities of members of all boards of health. And to be sustainable: To increase membership, develop leaders and advocates, and to ensure financial stability. We are progressing well with our focus.

We are eagerly working to ensure that our Six Functions of Public Health Governance is as recognizable as the Ten Essential Services and the Core Functions when we speak of public health. When NALBOH released the six Governing Functions it was a landmark moment in public health. The boards that govern health departments can now assess their own activities as board members and non-governing advisory boards may refer to the six functions to evaluate their roles. The Six Functions include:

  • Policy Development
  • Resource Stewardship
  • Legal Authority
  • Partner Engagement
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Oversight

My challenge to all of us is to incorporate the Six Functions as we do our important work as board of health members. We should evaluate or assess our work and ask ourselves these questions.

 Are we assuming the ultimate responsibility for public health performance in the community by providing necessary leadership and guidance in order to support the public health agency in achieving measurable outcomes?

The community mentioned may be our local health departments, state health departments, the tribal entities, and those at the federal level. We have many partners in the public health system and we are important contributors and leaders in the advocacy and oversight role.

Our important work as board of health members, at any level, includes policy development to protect, promote and improve public health. Our work includes stewardship of legal, financial, human, technological, and material resources so the agencies can perform essential public health services.  Are we meeting those challenges? When the need arises, are we exercising and understanding our legal role and authority to benefit the public health work of the agency? As board of health members are we continually seeking to improve the agency and the work of our board of health so we are meeting our responsibilities?

Our role as board members is to build and strengthen the community partnerships. We need to help educate and engage our community by telling the public health stories. The importance we place on our role as board of health members and the collaboration of our community partners is part of the way we promote and protect the health of the community. Are we partnering?

As NALBOH, we will encourage boards of health to see that this public health work is happening. The members of the NALBOH Board of Directors are available at your request to help you strengthen and improve public health governance. We want to encourage each member to see the challenges as opportunities for your agencies and communities. Please share your stories of your work, challenges and opportunities. This is what NALBOH can do for all of us. Isn’t this who we are as the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH)?

Please explore the NALBOH website to familiarize yourself with news, resources, membership and events. 

 We are board of health members leading, advocating for, sharing and providing education for board of health members.

We look forward to the next quarterly publication to share more information and news of our progress with our partners, the State Association of Local Boards of Health-SALBOHs and our increasing membership.


See you in August at the conference in Louisville, Kentucky,


Margaret Brink, NALBOH President

Four Corners Health Department Board of Health

York, Nebraska