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|Posted on November 27, 2011 at 9:15 AM|
Why I think it is important to be a member of the Ethiopians Health Professionals Association (EHPA)
By: Admassu Mitiku, PhD
Dallas, Texas, November, 2011
Wikipedia.org defines a professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) as a non-profit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest.
There are countless professional associations or organizations in the world that are launched to advance the professional interests of individual members and the health care of the public at large. The main objective of the Ethiopians Health Professionals Association (EHPA) is not different from this. It was with this noble idea that EHPA was established more than a year ago to serve Ethiopians in Dallas/Fort Worth and vicinity. Furthermore, the mission statement stipulates, “To improve the flow of health/medical information; educate the Ethiopian community how to take action regarding their health and promote health activities and seek funding opportunities for health promotion that addresses the Ethiopian Community and its neighbors”. With this in mind and congruent with the statement, I want firstly to bring the essence of the goals and purposes of EHPA to the attention of Ethiopian health professionals in Dallas and Fort Worth areas and secondly query the simple questions: Why is it important to be a member of EHPA and what are its benefits?
To begin with, an association without members is unthinkable. It can be likened to an organism with vital body systems missing. It is members that allow the association to undertake what is to be done. For instance, it is members’ contributions that provide the necessary funding and member volunteers that provide the guidance and expertise to move the profession forward. It is also clear that being an active member of an association is much beyond paying monthly or annual membership dues. Membership is about an active involvement in the existence of the association. When we are members and involve ourselves actively, we basically represent ourselves, our profession, colleagues and the community on the whole. Thus, members can make a big difference in the existence of our association, the wellness of fellow Ethiopians and the health care system in general.
Having mentioned the importance of being membership let me raise a few points on some of the benefits individuals could get out of their involvement and participation as members. To remain in the mainstream of our profession, I believe, being a member of our health association will be one valuable career tool available to us. It gives us a prime opportunity to be in control of our professional destiny. By becoming more involved in broader activities of the association, we are showcasing our professional talents, knowledge and expertise. Furthermore, as members we can benefit by networking to exchange ideas and collaborate on issues and challenges facing our profession. Additionally, we can be heard and seen by conducting workshops, seminars or conferences and encourage those around us to join by publishing association newsletters, booklets with invaluable information on up-to-date issues and developments and posting useful information on the association’s website. In the long term, the association could also provide training and professional development opportunities to individuals through scholarships and monetary assistance in collaboration with other relevant organizations.
In closing, as Harold R. McAlindon, one of America’s top CEOs once said, “The quality of an organization can never exceed the quality of the minds that make it”. Members in an association may appear non-obvious, but in reality they are the main movers and shakers of an association. As members, we can make crucial decisions on matters that could greatly affect our profession and the wellbeing of Ethiopians within our reach. Simply put, the much desired and needed change and the betterment of health care provision and the awareness of fellow Ethiopians to their health can be realized through our consistent effort and qualitative and quantitative inputs and involvements. To this effect, I believe joining the association in due course is not only desirable and worthy, but essential.