50 Years--A Special Celebration.

Author:Evans, Tracy Wareing
Position::President's memo - President's page

This year we are proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of two of our affinity groups--IT Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM) and the American Association of Health and Human Services Attorneys (AAHHSA). Over the years, these two important and influential groups have contributed significantly to the advancement of health and human services delivery and our shared goal of building thriving communities in which all children and families can reach their full potential.

It is fitting that ISM and AAHHSA share a common anniversary as both groups touch nearly every aspect of health and human services. Over the past 50 years, technology has provided time-saving tools for the workforce and modern customer interfaces, enabling greatly improved service delivery and the ability to measure outcomes. And, it would be nearly impossible to stay abreast of H/HS requirements without the devoted legal teams that interpret and implement the ever-changing local, state, and federal rules and regulations.

As we celebrate this important milestone for ISM and AAHHSA, I thought it fitting to provide some historical context and a glimpse of what the future holds.


In 1968, a small group of IT professionals gathered in Chicago for the first ISM conference. At the time, the hottest things in IT included the first-ever demonstration of the computer mouse, the launch of a groundbreaking operating system called UNIX, the founding of Intel, and the first demonstration of word processing. It is safe to say that the 1968 ISM attendees would not recognize many of the IT solutions of today (mobile, the Cloud), nor the language that accompanies it (such as agile, waterfall). At the same time, they might be surprised to see that several of the challenges facing today's H/HS program administrators are similar to issues they faced back in Chicago, including the age-old challenges of how to train the workforce or secure funding to upgrade systems.

Over the ensuing 50 years, IT's role in supporting efficient and effective service delivery has become increasingly important as H/HS agencies shifted from a focus on how to deliver a single program to an enterprise-wide approach for an entire agency connecting multiple systems through common platforms, and, most recently, to a fully integrated H/HS system that not only connects data across departments but also across sister agencies and community partners.

What's to come in the next 50 years is anyone's guess. Will 3-D...

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