Hawai'i Public Health Association's Global Public Health Conferences 2002 and 2003
Californian Journal of Health Promotion
The 2003 Global Public Health Conference: Collaborating for Quality of Life and Health in the Pacific was sponsored by The Hawai'i Public Health Association in partnership with the University of Hawai'i's Globalization Research Center and a number of other local and national organizations. This second consecutive Pacific-based conference posed new funding and staffing challenges. The novelty of the 2002 conference drew substantial sponsorship and a large volunteer base. In 2003, however, many
... 03, however, many sponsors were less willing to fund a second year, and experience with the 2002 volunteer process precipitated restructuring the 2003 planning committee to include only those who could offer time and skills. A part time administrative assistant was also hired. The 2003 abstracts included few submissions in traditional medicine and alternative healing, areas lacking from the previous conference as well. The inappropriate "call for abstracts" process for traditional practitioners was remedied by inviting speakers in these areas. The resulting 2003 conference successfully increased HPHA membership, and provided a nurturing venue for the 100+ presenters to share their public health work. In addition to Hawai'i and the mainland USA, the 350+ conference attendees represented many nations from Fiji to Aotearoa, and even South Africa. Regardless, staffing and funding issues prompted the decision to schedule large conferences every other year, and new ideas for the 2004 annual meeting are being explored. Additionally, other Pacific nations have expressed interest in hosting the event. Lessons learned from two years of international conference planning will better prepare HPHA and other not-for-profit, volunteer organizations for future quality events in public health.