Welcome to SOPHE 2021dX


As we began to plan SOPHE’s 72nd Annual Conference, I was excited about welcoming everyone to my home city of St. Louis. We were optimistic that the pandemic would be under control and we could all be together in April 2021.

It only took us a few short months to realize we would be in no position to travel. Therefore, our focus turned to how we could provide a high-quality and engaging conference in a digital format. Thankfully, SOPHE staff led by Maricela Arias-Cantu, had quickly and effectively morphed the 2020 annual conference into a digital format – featuring SOPHE 2021dX.

Based on previous conference feedback and the expertise of the planning committee, we identified five themes around leadership, systems thinking, social justice, school health and health literacy & digital communication that helped guide the development and content of the program.

Those themes drove the call for abstracts, and the presenters developed relevant sessions that address some of the most pressing issues about the pandemic and innovative communication). We believe we created a program that is interesting, relevant, and of exceptional quality. We look forward to seeing what you think about this as you participate in the digital experience

Now that we are in a digital format, we can bring a flavor of St. Louis to you. We will introduce you to our leaders in public health and health care, including Dr. Alex Garza and Laura Kaiser, plus share what Catina O’Leary and Chris Casey are doing in their community organizations. You will still get to meet them online!

Historically, SOPHE’s Annual Conferences engage participants to create dialog among peers and to use skills they gain from workshops for their professional development.

This year will be no different. We challenged presenters to help attendees walk away from the conference with new skills and strategies. In addition, speakers will present their work in stimulating ways and in various formats to include, PechaKucha, Walk and Learn sessions, poster presentations via YouTube video, Rock Your Flock micro-mentoring sessions, and more!

In the all-new digital experience, you can still network with colleagues and presenters in a variety of ways. We will have a student networking lounge using Icebreaker and you can participate in a range of communities of practice conversations.

And be sure to download the conference mobile app, so you can engage in our Click Game, see who is attending, explore the sessions, send a message, post photos, and more. And, when visiting you earn points and bragging rights. Or, if you are not into games, just go to the attendee’s button to find folks you want to meet and connect.

As they say, the show must go on!  We will present awards as usual during sessions and at the awards ceremony. And, you will be able to interact with our exhibitors and sponsors in the SOPHE Marketplace!

Finally, the 72nd SOPHE Annual Conference does not end on the April 9. Be sure to tune in on Tuesdays and Thursdays through May 11 to participate in sessions in our five themes. In addition, all sessions will be available on demand for one year.  Mark your calendars and take advantage of these bonus events.


Darcy Scharff