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Bylaws & Guidelines

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Article I: Name

The name of the organization shall be the National Public Health Information Coalition, Inc., hereinafter referred to as NPHIC.

Article II: Definitions

1. "State" is defined as state or territory of the United States of America;

2. "State health agency" is defined as that component of state government which exercises preeminent responsibility for public health within the state;

3. "State health officer" is defined as the elected or appointed head of the state health agency;

4. "State voting member" is defined as the director of public information/affairs or communications of the state health agency, or equivalent, or another individual designated by the State Health Officer to be the state's one voting member.

5. "Associate government voting member" is defined as a member who works for a state, local, territorial or tribal public health department, but who is not designated as the state voting member.

6. "Executive Board" is the governing body of NPHIC.

Article III: Purposes

A. To serve as a channel for directors of public health information of states and territories to exchange and share methods, techniques and information for the enrichment and improvement of public health programs.

B. To participate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Public Health Service, other federal agencies, professional organizations and private sector partners to promote health and prevent disease through effective communications.

C. To identify methods to improve the quality and process of communications among members, with the media and the public.

D. To elicit the cooperation and coordination of other national public, private, and voluntary agencies in promoting public health programs.

E. To improve communications and coordination among public information officers at state health agencies. To that end, care shall be taken in the filling of all positions (officers, committee chairs, etc.) so that all regions of the country are represented.

F. To provide a forum for continuing education opportunities in public health communications in all mediums and to all audiences.

G. To encourage and promote effective and timely communications to alleviate public health disparities based on age, race, gender or disability.

H. To raise funds for operation of the NPHIC.

Article IV: Members

Section A:

Members

There are five categories of associate membership: Government, Individual, Student, Non-Profit, and Corporate. With the exception of the Corporate and Individual memberships, associate members may serve on committees and participate fully in NPHIC activities.

1. Individuals employed with a state, local, tribal, territorial or federal government agency and who are interested in public health, may join NPHIC as Government Associates.

2. Individuals who are interested in public health communications, including those who are retired from a public health agency, can join NPHIC as Individual Associates.

3. Individuals who are students of schools of public health and/or schools of communication may join NPHIC as Student Associates.

4. Organizations that have non-profit status may join NPHIC as Non-Profit Associate members.

5. Corporations, public relations firms, or any for-profit company that is interested in the field of public health may join NPHIC as Corporate members. Corporate members are not allowed to serve on committees or NPHIC projects/campaigns.

The Executive Board shall review all applications for Non-Profit and Corporate associate memberships to consider potential conflicts of interest and determine eligibility accordingly.

Section B:

Voting Privileges

1. State Voting Members
a. Each state and territorial health agency shall be a member with one vote on all matters before NPHIC. Each member agency shall be represented by an individual (the "state voting member") who shall be the director of public information/affairs or communications of the state health agency, or equivalent, or another individual designated by the State Health Officer to be the state's one voting member.
b. For states or territories where there is no such designation, one state level voting member shall be appointed by the State Health Officer or equivalent.
c. State voting members may vote for all officers, board members, bylaws, and NPHIC business that require general membership approval.

2. Associate Government Voting Members
a. Members working for state, local, territorial and tribal public health departments who are not designated as the state voting member shall be associate government members with specific voting privileges.
b. Associate government voting members may vote on all NPHIC business that requires general membership approval.
c. Associate government voting members may vote for their respective regional Executive Board members.
d. Associate government voting members may be elected or appointed as an at-large Executive Board representative with voting privileges on issues that require NPHIC Executive Board approval.

3. Non-Voting Members
a. Associate members who do not work for a state, tribal, local or territorial health department may serve on committees and participate fully in NPHIC activities, except they shall not have voting privileges.
b. Associate members who represent state, local or territorial health departments may be elected to serve as one of five at large members of the Executive Board with voting privileges on issues that require NPHIC Executive Board approval.

Section C:

Membership fees and dues.

1. Membership fees for member agencies will be fixed and assessed by the Executive Board.

2. Associate members will pay annual dues established by the Executive Board.

Article V: Governance

Section A:

The Coalition shall be governed by an Executive Board made up of one state voting member representative each from the ten geographic regions established by the U.S. Public Health Service, and up to five at-large members:

1. Regional representative board members will be elected by the voting members from the states and territories in their respective regions.

2. At-large members will be nominated by any member and elected by a vote of the general membership.

3. At-large members may be associate government voting members representing state, local, tribal or territorial health departments.

4. The terms on the Board are three years to begin January 1 following their election.

5. To ensure all NPHIC members have an opportunity to serve on the Board, Board members shall be limited to two consecutive three-year terms with the following guidelines:
a. After serving for two consecutive three-year terms, the Board member must rotate off the Board for at least one year before serving on the Board again.

b. EXCEPTIONS:
  • Board members serving someone else's uncompleted term of less than 18 months may run for the Board for two full terms.
  • The Board and staff will work to ensure all Board positions are filled. However, if there is not an eligible non-federal public health member willing to run for a Regional or At-Large Board position, the incumbent Board member may run for an additional three-year term.
6. Board members have the responsibility of attending to board business (i.e. calls, meetings, votes). Members who are unable to participate in the majority of board meetings/calls may be removed from the Board, Office, and/or committee

Section B:

The offices of president, vice president and treasurer shall be chosen from among state voting members of the Executive Board by members of the Board and ratified by a vote of state voting members.

Section C:

The Executive Board shall:

1. Determine and approve plans for the annual meeting of NPHIC.

2. Meet during the annual meeting and at least bimonthly to consider NPHIC business.

3. Establish dues.

4. Recommend, guide and oversee operations and projects of NPHIC and authorize collections and expenditures of funds for such operations and projects.

5. Execute the powers listed under Article X of these bylaws.

6. In the event a member of the Executive Board resigns or ceases to serve, the president, with the majority approval of the board, may appoint a voting member from the appropriate public health region, if possible, to fill the unexpired term.

Article VI: Officers

Section A:

The (elected) officers of NPHIC shall be:

1. President

2. Vice president

3. Treasurer

4. Immediate past president

5. Pre-requisites for serving as an Officer on the Board:
a. Be a designated state voting member
b. Active and participative service on a committee/subcommittee/project.
c. Dues must be current (unless extenuating circumstances have been approved by the Board).
d. Should a Board Officer be unable to fulfill the requirements of the position, the President will appoint a current board member to the vacated Officer position for the remainder of the year.

Section B:

At least four months prior to the annual meeting the president, with the approval of the Board, shall appoint a Nominating Committee of state voting members.

Section C:

The Nominating Committee shall oversee a process to elect Board members at the annual meeting.

Section D:

Officers shall begin their duties January 1st and continue service for one year.

1. There shall be no automatic succession in office with the exception of the vice president, who automatically assumes the position of president, then immediate past president.

2. The vice president shall preside in the president's absence and in the event that the president's office becomes vacant.

3. No officer except treasurer shall serve more than one full term in succession in any one office.

4. In the event there is no annual meeting, election of the Executive Board and officers shall be conducted by mail, email, internet or fax.

Section E:

Duties of Officers.

1. The president shall chair all Executive Board meetings, call meetings of that group, appoint chairs of standing committees, and provide other leadership as indicated in the bylaws and outlined in Robert's Rules of Order.

2. The vice president shall fill in for the president as necessary and perform such other duties as defined by the president and/or Executive Board.

3. The treasurer shall oversee management of NPHIC's funds and prepare an annual financial report for presentation to the Executive Board.

4. The immediate past president shall perform such duties as assigned by the president.

5. In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, the vice president shall automatically succeed to the office of president.

6. If an officer resigns, ceases to serve or serves in another capacity, the president, with majority approval of the Executive Board may appoint a board member to fill the unexpired term.

Article VII: Meetings

Section A:

The annual business meeting of the membership shall be held at a time and place to be designated by the Executive Board.

Section B:

All business meetings of NPHIC, including Executive Board meetings, shall be conducted according to parliamentary procedures set forth in Robert's Rules of Order.

Section C:

1. A quorum of the Executive Board shall be not fewer than 50% and must include either the president or vice president.

2. Executive Board meetings may be held in person, by telephone conference call, or for the purpose of voting, via mail, email, internet or facsimile.

Section D:

1. A quorum of NPHIC shall not be fewer than 30% of the voting members, two of whom must be officers.

2. In the absence of a national meeting, a NPHIC "meeting" for the purpose of voting on changes to the bylaws and other matters may be held via mail, email, internet or facsimile provided appropriate voting members represented constitute a quorum as defined above.

Article VIII: Committees

Section A:

The standing committees of NPHIC shall be: Bylaws, Marketing, Meetings and Program, Membership, Marketing, and Professional Development. Additional committees and subcommittees may be organized and dissolved as necessary to implement the functions of NPHIC.

Section B: (Amended 12/6/06)

The president, with the approval of the Executive Board, shall appoint all committee chairs. The committee chairs shall be voting or non-voting members of NPHIC, but need not be members of the Executive Board.

Section C:

Committee chairs shall appoint all subcommittee chairs.

Section D:

All standing committees shall make an annual report to the general membership.

Article IX: Amendments

Section A:

Members may submit proposed amendments to the Bylaws Committee. Proposed changes will then be submitted to the Executive Board for review before they are presented for a vote of approval by state voting members.

Section B:

Passage of an amendment to the bylaws requires approval of 66% of state voting members present for the vote.

Article X: Dissolving of Organizations

If NPHIC is dissolved at any time, no part of its funds or property shall be distributed to or among its members. After payment of all indebtedness, its surplus funds and properties shall be used in such legal manner as the Executive Board may determine.

GUIDELINES FOR ACCEPTANCE OF GRANTS OR FUNDS

Following are guidelines for interaction/collaboration between the National Public Health Information Coalition and public or private entities:

1. NPHIC shall not solicit or accept funds from an entity where doing so would call into question the objectivity of NPHIC, create an appearance of an impropriety, or directly benefit an individual member of NPHIC. Each application will be reviewed individually by the executive board of NPHIC as to the appropriateness for involvement by the organization.

2. No grants or funds will be accepted from companies or entities in conflict with the mission or purposes of NPHIC. Funds received by NPHIC shall be used in a manner consistent with, or in support of, the purposes of the organization as stated in the bylaws:

a. To serve as a channel through which directors of public health information of states and territories of the United States may exchange and share methods, techniques, and information for the enrichment and improvement of public health programs.
b. To participate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other U.S. Public Health Service operating agencies in providing public information to promote health and prevent disease.
c. To identify methods to improve the quality and process of communication among members.
d. To elicit the cooperation and coordination of other national, public, private, and voluntary agencies in promoting public health programs.
e. To improve communications and coordination among public information officers at state health agencies. To that end, care shall be taken to fill all positions (officers, committee chairs, etc.) so that all regions of the country are represented, as appropriate.
f. To provide a forum for continuing education opportunities in public health communications, in particular communications with and through the news media.

3. NPHIC will decline any offer by private industry to participate in activities that would specifically promote that particular company's products or where such promotion is incompatible with NPHIC's mission. For example, NPHIC staff will not participate in any activities that involve discussions about how a company can better market its products, enhance its competitiveness in the marketplace, or gain access to health officials.

4. The prohibitions outlined above in number 3 should not be construed to prohibit collaboration on activities that may have the support of a private company, but that clearly are intended to improve public or professional education about public health issues.

5. When collaboration involves publication of documents or other materials that will be presented to the public, such publications must not appear to create a NPHIC endorsement of the collaborating company or of its particular product. Generally, brand names should not be used, except where necessary and when accompanied by a disclaimer of endorsement.

6. No member of NPHIC or its staff may solicit or accept an honorarium or payment of any kind for personal use from any entity involved or under consideration for involvement in a partnership with NPHIC.

7. NPHIC, as an organization, may accept grants, gifts or donations from entities it is collaborating to further the purposes of NPHIC. This may include, but is not limited to administrative support.

8. NPHIC will require final approval of materials bearing the NPHIC logo and prior approval of any statement by a collaborating entity that is intended for publication or broadcast that refers to NPHIC.

9. NPHIC will impartially consider public-health collaborations with entities that may be in competition with existing partners. Any organization with an interest in furthering any public health goal is free to approach NPHIC regarding a potential collaboration.

10. NPHIC retains the right to end a partnership or collaboration at any time.
The National Public Health Information Coalition

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