Ohio SOPHE Then….and Now

The Ohio Chapter of SOPHE (Society for Public Health Education) was formed in the 1970's.

Prior to 1980, in accord with the early membership requirements of National SOPHE, the Ohio Chapter consisted of health education professionals located at colleges and universities.  The emphasis on research and the membership requirements limited the participation of those individuals in the field.

By the early 1980's, Ohio SOPHE was a blend of health educators at the local level, and health education faculty at colleges and universities.   Over time, more members were practitioners, and fewer members were from academia.

1983 - President, Jody Beck

We received official recognition from the IRS and our tax exempt status.

1984  - Membership remained small, with 61 members.  Annual dues were $8.00.  The bank account (partially funded) through dues and nut sales) contained $725.00.

1986 - President Cheryl Kleiber-Morrisy

Membership remains steady – Cheryl Kleiber-Morrisy presided over 63 members.


1989   President, Janet Bassett

Janet Bassett stepped in to take the role of President mid-year with the goal of getting our membership to coincide with National SOPHE to avoid confusion between the two. OSOPHE members met quarterly at the American Lung Association Office (which was subsequently torn down and rebuilt in the 1990's) OSOPHE Vice President Lana, employed by the Jackson County Health Dept, was unable to serve as President in 1990, so Janet remained president until December 1991.               





1992-1993   President, Carol Gill

Job changes, marriages and moves resulted in a series of temporary presidents and newer members becoming active on the Board.  Routine business and educational programs continued, but the turnover of leadership slowed growth and progress.  Carol was president for two years!




1994 - President, Jane Snider

Membership has grown to 128.  The SOPHE Board held a special meeting to plan for the future, including expanding membership, promoting the profession, and meeting the needs of members.  One recognized need was a closer relationship with the Ohio Association of University Health Educators.


1995 - President, Geri Rousculp

The first $500 student scholarship was given by Ohio SOPHE.  This scholarship would later be named in memory of Karen Evans, previous Director of Health Promotion at the Ohio Dept of Health.  Discussions were held regarding the lack of diversity (including gender) of the SOPHE membership.  SOPHE became the coordinator and fiscal agent for the annual Health Educator Institute (HEI); prior to this time Ohio Dept. of Health coordinated HEI.



1996 - President, Kay Parent 

A big boost for SOPHE was the invitation to participate in the development of the Ohio Public Health Plan, a project initiated by the Director’s Office of ODH.  The president, Kay Parent, served on the Community Needs/Capacity Assessment work group.  Also that year SOPHE conducted an interest survey of the membership.  Members beam with pride as Ohio member Ellen Capwell presides over National SOPHE.  Photo, right - Bonnie Hoppel with Ellen Capwell. 


 1997 - President, Jon Jenney

We were invited to “sit at more tables” – the Combined Public Health Conference planning committee and the board of the Ohio Public Health Association.  The later was accomplished by the creation of an official liason between the two organizations.  SOPHE was being seen as a crucial partner in the enhancement of public health in Ohio.     The newsletter, “News and Views,” received a dramatic face lift; layout and printing are done by a printing company.


1998 - President, Joanne Pearsol  

SOPHE was brought in to the computer age by the development of an ACCESS-based membership database.  A new Policies and Procedures manual was created to assist Board members and to provide consistency from one year to the next.  A third key accomplishment was the representation on the Ohio Public Health Performance Standards workgroup.



 1999 - President, Kristen Hildreth

Membership stands at 167.  Another technological advance was the creation of the Ohio SOPHE website.  A “Shared Vision” was created with the ODH, Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction.  Another partnership was created with the Association of Worksite Health Promotion for the planning of HEI.

2000 - President, Kristy Duritsch

To enhance communication among members, the Web Mistress, Patty Kuun, a Listserv was created.  ODH contracted with SOPHE to organize and conduct the Health Education Principles Course.  The six-day course is designed to those working in health education but do not have academic preparation in health education.   The Ohio Association of University Educators printed a brochure, “The Employers’ Guide to Hiring Health Educator, which promotes Ohio SOPHE.  At mid-year the bank account was a healthy $19, 672.


2001 - President, Patty Kuun

Discussions began to consider hiring a part-time Executive Director/Administrator.  Impetus for the position consideration was learning at the National SOPHE conference how other chapters utilize paid positions. Planning began for Ohio to host National SOPHE Mid-year conference.  OSOPHE was one of the five Ohio public health associations that the initiated the formation of what is now the official 501 (c) 3 organization, Ohio Pubic Health Partnership.

 2002 - President Kathy Heaney

In May 2002 we hosted the National SOPHE Mid-year in Cincinnati in conjunction with National SOPHE.  OSOPHE was well compensated, receiving approximately $5000 from National SOPHE.


2004 - President, Bonnie Hoppel

The first comprehensive OSOPHE Strategic Plan (2005-2008) was developed which included committee-based action plans, tasks and timeline.  Ohio SOPHE was awarded a National SOPHE Chapter Innovation Award.



Photo, right: of OSOPHE members accepting National SOPHE Chapter Innovation Award, From left to right, Ellen Capwell, Amy Bernard, Randy Cottrell, Kay Parent,  David Ramsey (Georgia Chapter) Geri Rousculp, and Pat Navin.





2007- President, Pat Navin    



2008- President, Ruth Dudding 


2009 - President, Melissa Thomas

We hired the first paid staff person for Ohio SOPHE.  Patty Kuun, a long-time Ohio SOPHE member, lent her expertise as a part-time administrator for Ohio SOPHE.  Her major job responsibilities focus are to support the OSOPHE board, support the annual Health Educator Institute (HEI)  conference, day-to-day book-keeping, oversee the updated OSOPHE website, and work with committees to assist and coordinate their goals and responsibilities.  She also helped facilitate the updated strategic plan.



 2010 - President, Nichole Hodges

 A downturn in the economy led Ohio SOPHE Board members to the decision that an administrator was not possible this year for Ohio SOPHE.  Tasks were divided among board members, and Patty graciously agreed to remain as  member/volunteer co-chair of the technology committee.  We applied for and received chapter redesignation from National SOPHE. We applied for 501 c 3 status, thanks to Treasurer Ann Mehl. A five-year strategic plan was created and approved by the membership (2010-2014).  


Photo, right, 2010 OSOPHE Board: 1st row from left to right, Ann Mehl, Nichole Hodges, Jaime Love, Kherry DiLorenzo. Back row, Carol Gill, Tori Sinclair, Janet Bassett, Kathy Luhn, Melissa Thomas, Jen Morel



 2011 - President, Jaime Love

We  received designation as a 501 c3, thanks in large part to treasurer, Ann Mehl. During 2011, we had our first successful partnership with ODH in hosting HEI in collaboration with the Rural Health Conference.  Jaime Love, photo, left, is pictured with a Chapter Recognition Award from National OSOPHE, which was awarded this year as well.



2012 - President, Jen Morel

The Ohio Public Health Council (PHC) was at serious risk of being eliminated.  Oversimplified, the PHC acts as an unofficial Board of Health to the Ohio Department of Health and made recommendations during their rule-making process.  The five associations of public health (SOPHE, OPHA, OEHA, AOHC, OABH) worked with ODH to create a new Public Health Advisory Board.  The  newly-created PHAB functions more efficiently preserved the body that serves as a voice for the public during ODH’s rule making process. This presents a great opportunity for Ohio SOPHE, as the guidelines call for an Ohio SOPHE member  to serve a 2 year term to the PHAB.  SOPHE involvement brings exposure of Health Education issues to a long-standing state-wide Public Health Committee; its decisions affect the lives of Ohioians every day.  Photo of 2012 Board, from left to right:  Rob Braun, Marietta Orlowski, Amy Bernard, Ann Mehl, Jen Morel, Sarah Krygowski, Sheronda Whittaker, Megan Amaya, Jaime Love, Elizabeth Kress, Kristen Frame.  Not pictured: Troy Chapin, Sara Warner, Mary Chace


2013 - President, Amy Bernard

We made some great strides in the goals the Board set for 2013.  The area where we have had the greatest success this year has been in reaching out to Ohio Health Education students.  We have increased student membership and we had a whopping 48 students attend HEI.  We have also moved forward with our advocacy efforts.  The newly formed Advocacy Committee decided to promote existing advocacy events rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.  Advocacy days in March and November were promoted to members and several representatives from OSOPHE were in attendance.  The primary advocacy focus this year was on state health education standards and tobacco-free college campuses.  Another newly formed committee, the Marketing Committee also hit the ground running and did a lot of work on our logo and created four OSOPHE display boards which are held by each district representative for use at events throughout the state.  These accomplishments would not have been possible without the hard work and passion of our 2013 Board members and our active members who serve on committees.


2014 - President, Megan Amaya

2014 brought with it our chapter’s re-designation, a new annual report, as outlined by National SOPHE, and a rebalancing of our chapter budget. More students than ever attended HEI and signed up for chapter memberships, the advocacy committee really stepped up and outlined important issues for Ohio SOPHE to focus on, and the rest of the committees contributed greatly to success of another year of Ohio SOPHE. 







Ohio SOPHE Presidents

Dan Davis 2016

Robert Braun 2015

Megan Amaya 2014

Amy Bernard 2013

Jen Morel 2012

Jaime Love 2011

Nichole Hodges 2010

Melissa Thomas 2009

Ruth Dudding 2008

Pat Navin 2007

Laura Rooney 2006

Kirk Decker 2005

Bonnie Hoppel 2004

Stacy Wegley 2003

Kathy Heaney  2002

Patty Kuun 2001 

Kristy Duritsch 2000

Kristin Hildreth 1999

Joanne Pearsol 1998

Jon Jenney 1997

Kay Parent  1996

Geri Rousculp 1995

Jane Snider

Susan McGovern

Janet Bassett

Carol Gill

Jan Fuchs

Kathy Stenfors

Cheryl Kleiber-Morrisy 1987

Peggy Marshall 1985

Jody Beck 1983


This information is a work in progress. If you have information or edits to add to our historical summary, please send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.