Chair's Blog

By Cathleen Erwin, Ph.D., M.B.A posted 24 days ago


It was a pleasure seeing so many of you at our Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida, on June 4-6th. If you were there, you know that I was a bit under the weather vocally and unable to share my vision for AUPHA as I assumed the role of Chair. So, as I shared at our business meeting in Tampa, I am instead providing my remarks through my inaugural Chair's Blog for the AUPHA Exchange. Hence, the blog post is a bit longer than I would typically write (I promise).

First, I want to thank Reid Oetjen for his leadership as Chair for 2023-2024. Working closely with him throughout the past year has been a pleasure, and I am so happy that he remains on the board as past Chair for the coming year. He is a voice of reason and just a genuinely enjoyable colleague. I also want to thank my fellow AUPHA members for entrusting me with this position. I am humbled and honored to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors for 2024-2025.

I was introduced to AUPHA as a doctoral student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. I'm so thankful that through my experience at UAB, I developed a great appreciation for the importance of being actively involved with AUPHA. AUPHA has helped shape my academic career and has been one of the primary resources for my development as an educator and program administrator. 

Looking around the room at the Annual Meeting, I saw many friends and colleagues with whom I've collaborated, commiserated, and celebrated. I am so grateful for your support and friendship. I look forward to gathering with you each year at AUPHA events, and I leave recharged and re-invigorated because of the incredible community of friends and colleagues.

I'm also very grateful for the exemplary leadership of the men and women who have preceded me in this role, whom I have admired and been so fortunate to call mentors and colleagues. There are too many to mention all, but I want to publicly thank Leigh Cellucci, Mark Diana, Diane Howard, and Dan Gentry for encouraging me over the years to engage in volunteer opportunities and eventually undertake a leadership role at AUPHA.

I also want to acknowledge and thank the incredible AUPHA staff members for their dedication and professionalism. It is such a pleasure working with each of you. I am grateful for all you do to make the organization and its programs run so smoothly and effectively. We are fortunate to have such an incredible team, led by Dan Gentry and Jaime Stephens.

My vision for AUPHA encapsulates both our rich history and an exciting future.

First and foremost, I believe in the power of collaboration. AUPHA is not just an organization; it's an incredible community of passionate individuals dedicated to advancing healthcare education and leadership. My vision for the coming year is to strengthen our partnerships and increase engagement within our membership. By fostering an environment of open communication and cooperation, we can amplify our impact and drive meaningful change in healthcare education and practice.

In the next few months, one of our primary objectives is to engage in strategic planning. This process will be inclusive and comprehensive, seeking input from our membership and other key stakeholders. By harnessing our community's collective wisdom and expertise, we can develop a strategic roadmap that will guide AUPHA's efforts in the years to come, building upon the many successes resulting from our ambitious 2020-2024 strategic plan.  

Secondly, I am committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within AUPHA and throughout the healthcare industry. Diversity is not just a buzzword; it's a fundamental strength that enriches our perspectives and drives innovation. AUPHA is being recognized by its peers as a leader in DEIB endeavors. As Chair, I will work to ensure that the AUPHA remains a welcoming and inclusive space for individuals of all backgrounds. Together, we will strive to dismantle barriers to access and opportunity, fostering a more equitable healthcare system for all.

Furthermore, I believe in the power of innovation to transform healthcare education and practice. The healthcare landscape constantly evolves, and AUPHA must remain at the forefront of these changes. Whether embracing new technologies, exploring innovative teaching methodologies, or adapting our curriculum to address emerging challenges, we must remain agile and forward-thinking. By harnessing the power of innovation, we can equip the next generation of healthcare leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Finally, I am deeply committed to fostering a culture of lifelong learning within AUPHA. Education is not a static process; it's a journey of discovery and growth. As Chair, I will prioritize engaging our members in AUPHA's professional development opportunities that will empower them to continually expand their knowledge and skills. By continuing to invest in lifelong learning, we can ensure that AUPHA remains a vibrant and dynamic community capable of meeting the evolving needs of our stakeholders.

In conclusion, I am incredibly excited about the opportunities for AUPHA in the coming year. Together, we can shape the future of healthcare education and leadership. By embracing collaboration, diversity, innovation, and lifelong learning, we can build a brighter and more equitable future for all. Thank you for being so dedicated to AUPHA, and I look forward to working alongside each of you in the year ahead.

1 comment



Collaboration, commitment, and culture. Well said!