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2019 Incoming President's Message - Debbie Peet

Sunday, January 20, 2019  
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My introduction to NALBOH was at the Salt Lake City Annual Conference back in 2013. The presenters and keynote speakers were outstanding. A fellow local board member had told me that these sessions were great and that I would learn how to be a better informed board member. I started to learn a new language of word such as parity, governance and accreditation, differences of boards of health, state rankings. I had been a board of health member for less than six months. I found that I didn’t know very much. I had to learn more about this organization, embracing and investing time and energy.

To introduce myself, I am a very recently retired registered nurse living in a region of southeastern Utah that is officially classified as Frontier. I LOVE nursing. I have nursed in the home health, office and clinic and youth in custody settings. Six years were spent with special need adult patients who were tube fed, ventilated, nonverbal and bed-bound with a cognition of very young children. I also nursed patients who lived on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, New Mexico and in Utah. I felt that I had gone to a third world nation and yet I would go home on the weekends to my wonderful life with all my needs and wants readily at hand. I realized very quickly that indoor running water might only be cold water and heat would be via propane. Electricity was extremely expensive to install or not available at all. Many homes had one room that had a cement pad and the rest of the home had dirt floors. Many homes were down long expanses of dirt roads that became impassable when it rained. Newborns that needed additional monitoring, for example, with apnea or needing oxygen couldn’t go home as there wasn’t any electricity. Some children would have to go to boarding schools because there wasn’t a neighborhood school.

My goals for 2019 is a continuing of past-president Christina Dokter’s goals of having an engaged and active membership, increase and enlarge our annual conference offerings, a more interactive membership and Board of Directors using their talents within our pool of membership. 

We need to remember that we serve public health governance and can be the face of public health in our communities. I look forward to serving as your 2019 NALBOH president and hope that you will note on your calendars our Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado August 14-16, 2019. We can’t wait to see you there!