The weeks, and then the days, leading up to the annual Alaska Health Summit were such a frenzy of activity for the ALPHA board and our conference coordinator that these days since the Summit feel almost empty in comparison. Summit preparations were of course made extra complicated by taking it online for the first time. It’s a relief to have the event successfully behind us, and gratifying for all that we learned about the process — especially because of the excellent attendance and participation by ALPHA members. Thanks to all who were there!
Even though we’re catching our collective breath post-Summit, the board has plenty going on in February. The Alaska legislative session has just started, and already the public health measures now in place to fight spread of the coronavirus are getting a lot of attention from certain legislators. The ALPHA Policy Committee is communicating with as many legislators as we can to provide them with scientifically sound information on best state and local policies to limit virus transmission. As was covered in a Summit breakout session, ALPHA is also working with UAA’s Dr. Joy Chavez Mapaye and her students to respond to misinformation on social media about the pandemic and vaccination.
ALPHA has some new board members and a new president-elect, and we will meet as a board for the first time in February. Soon after, likely in March, we’ll hold the annual board retreat (as best we can via Zoom, alas). Besides getting better acquainted, we’ll look at where ALPHA should be heading in the year to come and in the longer term as well. In 2020, the board asked the Foraker Group to help us conduct a strategic planning session, and we will review those recommendations as we plan for 2021. Updating the ALPHA bylaws (bo-o-oring!) and brainstorming ways to grow our membership numbers (exciting!) are on the retreat to-do list as well.
One item that was a priority from our 2020 board retreat was to improve communications with ALPHA members. Looking back, I don’t feel that we made nearly as much progress toward that goal as we had hoped to. One thing we’ll be doing in 2021 (and, I hope, long into the future) is to use this forum to tell you what we are up to on a regular basis. That will include many new opportunities for members to get involved and help the board set ALPHA’s direction. I know all of us can clearly see that this is the moment to move the public health agenda forward in Alaska, so let’s all work on it together!
— Tim Hinterberger, ALPHA President