Hello dear friends,
I’m writing to share perhaps the biggest news in my tenure as president and CEO of the American Social Health Association (ASHA). As of January 2013, ASHA formally became the American Sexual Health Association.
ASHA began its work as the American Social Hygiene Association during the World War I era, and in the 1950’s updated the name, swapping “Hygiene” for “Health.” Why change again?
We strongly believe a critical part of our mission is to make discussions around sexual health normal and natural. Our nation’s overall health is negatively impacted by our lack of comfort in talking about sexual health. Whether we’re talking about the relationship between health professionals and patients, parents and teens, or partners, ASHA continues to offer resources to reduce stigma and encourage effective, respectful communication.
The move also reflects the way America is evolving as it moves from a focus on “diseases” to a more positive sexual health model. The change is a bold one – some might even say scary as we push and pull Americans into talking about their sexual health- but it’s necessary as we fulfill our mission of reaching out to all Americans about the value of sexual health. The challenge is great, but so is our passion for sexual health. To that end, ASHA’s projects of the last few years include work in diverse areas such as healthy relationships, unplanned pregnancy, health disparities among racial and sexual minorities, and a slate of resources to promote sexual health across the lifespan.
Gandhi said “Action expresses priorities.” ASHA’s new name is an important step, but ultimately is only a reflection of the spirit that drives us. We are grateful to all the colleagues, friends, and partners who have supported and enhanced our work over our nearly 100 years of existence. We will continue our efforts, and we look especially forward to doing so alongside you.
My best always,
ASHA President and CEO