President and CEO's Blog

By Daniel Gentry, PhD, MHA posted 09-28-2022 13:59

Gratitude and Pride

AUPHA colleagues:

At the beginning of this new academic year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and pride. Gratitude for the many organizations and individuals that are passionate about healthcare management and leadership and health policy education and practice. Pride not in but for the achievements of AUPHA and our incredible community of university member faculty and staff, practitioner scholars, individual members, the AUPHA Board and staff, and our valued partner organizations.

Gratitude to All

If you’re reading this column, it’s very likely that I am grateful to you. I am grateful to the AUPHA Board for their commitment, loyalty, hard work, and strong support of me and the AUPHA staff. I am grateful to the smart, talented, hard-working, and kind AUPHA staff, each of whom are deeply committed to their roles and passionate about AUPHA’s mission. I am grateful for our partners in academia, practice, and the association world for the critically important work we are engaged in together to move the fields of healthcare management and health policy forward; with extremely complementary well-aligned missions, we share the goals of excellence in healthcare management and health policy education and practice, and a vision for improved healthcare and health for all.

Pride for the AUPHA Community

I am proud for the growth and development we’ve experienced over the past two and a half years during the worst worldwide pandemic in a century. AUPHA has had the fastest growth in the shortest period of time in the Association’s history, with a 20% increase in university program membership across 2020 and 2021. In spite of the pandemic, we exceeded our goals of membership retention: 95% in 2020, 96% in 2021, and 97% in 2022. We have experienced an increase in demand for undergraduate certification, with a record 12 programs certified or re-certified during the 2021-2022 cycle.

There have clearly been silver linings to the pandemic for AUPHA: more continuous engagement with AUPHA member programs, through monthly webinar and Town Hall meetings; systematic collection and distribution of resources such as comprehensive case studies; 10% and 5% dues discounts for all membership categories in 2021 and 2022; complimentary Academic Program and Practitioner Workshop and Annual Meeting registration in 2020 for all AUPHA members; and overall satisfaction of 4.85 and above on a 5 .0 point scale for all four virtual major AUPHA events in 2020 and 2021.

Other enhanced member benefits include increased allotments of Foster G. McGaw Scholarship for all AUPHA full member undergraduate and masters programs; a set of four new doctoral program and student initiatives for academic year 2022-2023; and, as we returned to face-to-face meetings in 2022, an AUPHA Annual Meeting registration fee that was maintained at the 2019 rate, making the meeting as affordable and accessible as possible for AUPHA members.

I am proud of our continuing progress as we implement AUPHA’s bold 2020-2023 Strategic Plan - a plan that includes 11 overall initiatives across four major areas: improvement for academic programs and professional development opportunities for individuals; enhancing AUPHA’s role as the voice of the profession; more effective communication with membership, partners, and the public; and governance and management best practices. From the implementation of the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, we have already realized additional recognition of AUPHA faculty excellence, with the new Quint Studer Gratitude Prize for Teaching Excellence and three of nine planned new awards for faculty teaching excellence. And in January 2022, AUPHA produced its first ever Environmental Scan and Trends Report.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic’s challenges, and at the same time the AUPHA Board has made significant monetary investments in the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, AUPHA’s finances have improved each year. Our financial prosperity has included an average increase of over half a million dollars in total assets each of the past three years; successful application and full forgiveness of PPP-1 and PPP-2 pandemic-related federal SBA loans; solid performance of AUPHA restricted endowed funds up until the beginning of 2022; surpassed AUPHA Annual Meeting program sponsorship goals for 2020, 2021, and 2022, setting new records each year - revenue which helps AUPHA keep registration rates more affordable for all.

I am proud for our partnerships, sponsorships, and other collaborative efforts. Over the past three years, we have transitioned to a partnership model where AUPHA and our formal Corporate Partners identify priorities for collaborative work together each year. The financial support is important and appreciated, but the purpose is about the substantive work we can do together that is aligned with our and others’ missions and visions. With this change in approach and focus on action, we have doubled the number of formal AUPHA Corporate Partners from 5 to 10 (11 as of September 2022) since the beginning of the pandemic.

I encourage all of you to look closely at the 2021-2022 AUPHA Annual Report, which details AUPHA’s strategic priorities and tactics, events and other activities, efforts to recognize excellence in programs and individuals, and all of AUPHA’s highly valued member benefits.

Warmest regards,