Who is Ohio SOPHE?
The Ohio Chapter of the Society for Public Health Education (OSOPHE) is a professional membership organization that exists to provide professional development, leadership, and advocacy for public health education. We are a 501c3 nonprofit group whose members are employed in urban, suburban, and rural Ohio communities. Our members are employed by hospitals, colleges and universities, health insurance companies, health-related non-profits, local and state health departments or other government agencies that promote health and wellness, private worksites, or as independent consultants.
MISSION We are one of several state chapters that are connected to the National Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The Ohio Chapter was formed in the 1980s to promote healthy communities & environments through professional development opportunities, networking, and strong partnerships with allied health organizations in Ohio. Together with the national organization, we work towards the overall mission which is to promote, encourage, and contribute to the advancement of the health of all people through education.
NETWORKING Each year in the fall, OSOPHE members elect the leaders of OSOPHE. The executive board is comprised of a president, president-elect, past president, secretary, and treasurer. There are also several committee chairs and statewide coalition representatives, and a National SOPHE representative, who is our connection to the National SOPHE organization. A major part of the role board members is to engage members and connect with one another to get our work done. Some committees have conference calls once a month, while others like technology, advocacy, professional development, and membership meet as needed. Joining a committee helps members meet one another, feel connected to our chapter, and get the most out of your membership!
CONTINUING EDUCATION We have no paid staff and are proud of the accomplishments that our 100% volunteer board and committees accomplish. Each year our professional development committee organizes four quarterly meetings, held in a central Ohio location. All members, as well as nonmembers, are invited to attend the quarterly meetings for a free professional development session and the quarterly business meeting. Our continuing education committee reviews and approves applications for CHES/MCHES credits, which are available for a small fee at each quarterly meeting.
CONNECTIONS We also organize an annual multi-day conference, entitled the "Health Educators' Institute", (fondly known as HEI for over 30 years) which is the premier continuing education event for Ohio's public and community health education workforce. The HEI planning committee, led by the OSOPHE President-Elect each year, provides participants with new skills, information, and resources to provide comprehensive health education services to their respective communities. This annual conference, as well as our quarterly professional development meetings, are designed to provide training based on the seven areas of responsibility and advanced sub-competencies of a Health Educator.
SCHOLARSHIPS For over 20 years, the OSOPHE scholarship committee has reviewed hundreds of student scholarship applications and awarded more than 32 student scholarships totaling over $30,000. Many of these funds have been raised through numerous fundraisers coordinated by dozens of members who feel passionate about supporting higher education.
RECOGNITION Each year the past president organizes a committee that solicits nominations and chooses the winners for our annual "Awards of Excellence", which include the "Health Educator of the Year" award, the "Contributions to Public Health Education" award, and the "Patty Kuun OSOPHE Spirit Award". The "Heath Educator of the Year" award is the highest honor that Ohio SOPHE can give to a member. The award recognizes members for their contributions to system, policy or environmental change, volunteer and leadership roles within the community and health education profession, or contributions to the body of scientific health education literature and research. These awards are usually presented at the fall HEI (Health Educator's Institute) conference.