The Utah Public Health Association (UPHA) was organized and held its first annual meeting May 1916 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The first President of UPHA was a prominent businessman and President of a bank. Members of the Board of Directors included the director of the State Health Department, the bishop of the Salt Lake Diocese of the Catholic Church, three members of the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a state senator, three physicians, and one city mayor. Honorary vice-presidents included the Governor of Utah and a US Senator.
Since its inception, UPHA has always focused on promoting quality public health programming, advocating for sound public health policy, and collaborating with community partners to protect the health of the citizens and the environment. For example, during the first years of the UPHA, business and community activities were spent in a combined effort with the American Red Cross and National Tuberculosis Association fighting the TB epidemic. In July of 1917, the association was prominent in fighting against an epidemic of Typhoid Fever in Salt Lake County.
In May 1927, the first full week of the month was dedicated to promoting and conducting public health activities throughout the State. Could this have been the first “Public Health Week” held in the country?
In 1964, the UPHA Articles of Incorporation were written and approved and the Association was declared a non-profit association recognized by the State of Utah. The stated purpose in the Articles is “…an organization for the purpose of aiding in the promotion and protection of the health of the people, to extend and develop health services for the people of the State of Utah, and to provide for scientific advancement.”
Today UPHA is a leader in public health advocacy, improving public health practice, and providing professional development opportunities for its members and the public health community. UPHA is a 501 (c)(3) led by a 19-member Board of Directors and one full-time staff member. Additionally, we have an active UPHA Student Assembly and many committees, sections, and special interest groups, all working hard to carry out the organization’s mission. Together we are committed to continuing the legacy that is ours, to make UPHA a strong, effective, and independent voice for public health throughout the State of Utah.
UPHA is an affiliated association of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Since 1918, we have collaborated with APHA to grow stronger as organizations, to share expertise, influence, and resources, and to advocate for common priorities at the local, state, and federal levels. APHA is the national voice of public health and champions the health of all people and all communities. They are the only organization that combines a 140- plus year perspective, the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health, and a member community from all public health disciplines and over 40 countries. Learn more about APHA.