Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Author:Dyjack, David
Position::DirecTalk MUSINGS FROM THE 10TH FLOOR - Column

A book. A slogan. Now it's the subject of an executive director's column. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

We recently convened a 2-day staff retreat to focus on quality improvement and the road ahead. We jump started the process by sharing the 2005 Stanford commencement address given by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in which he shared his personal insight into how dropping out of college and being terminated from his job led to positive life and career transformation.

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) has varied and profound challenges ahead. We need to remain true to the notion that being hungry and foolish are indeed important. During our retreat I added an additional element to the mix--let's be hungry and foolish together.

We have been blessed, as an outcome of hard work, long hours, and committed staff, to have bent the arc of our association and the profession toward greatness over the last year. Hyperbole, you say. Pride before the fall, you snigger. Let me shine a light on a few examples. Hopefully you'll have better insight into the spirit of my statements.

NEHA desires to be an essential partner and the most influential voice in the environmental health profession. We can achieve that by being respected thought leaders. We can achieve that by providing you with the tools and resources needed to be effective. We can achieve that by projecting leadership in professional circles where decisions are made that affect our profession and the health of the nation.

First, let's examine thought leadership. For many years, federal agencies and other associations were the go-to resource for information about the environmental health profession. How many environmental health professionals work in the U.S.? What are their professional needs? What degrees do they have? How do they receive continuing professional education? How are services delivered?

NEHA staff and its partners have three peer-reviewed publications planned for the next year intended to answer those questions. One of those publications, crafted in partnership with the de Beaumont Foundation and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, will share data and insights as an outcome of the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS). This publication will provide a topdown perspective, mostly from senior and state level professionals.

The second publication, conducted in collaboration with Baylor University, the Centers for Disease Control and...

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