CELEBRATING 100 YEARS: 1959 Annual Convention in Milwaukee

April 30, 2020

Currently WHA holds annual events for the membership to gather, learn and advocate — Advocacy Day, the Physician Leadership Development Conference and the Wisconsin Rural Health Conference. For many years WHA also held an annual convention that included the entire membership and often partnered with allied groups. 
During convention, the annual business meeting was held, in addition to education and awards. Members had a chance to meet and collaborate. A banquet was held, with formal dress in the early years. These conventions were held for over 90 years.
In 1959, the annual convention was held at the Hotel Schroeder in Milwaukee in conjunction with the State Hospital Auxiliaries (now known as the Partners of WHA). There was separate programming for WHA and the auxilians. However, they came together for lunch. In that 1959 brochure the auxilians were given the instruction, “Now Stop! Don’t Leave and Shop!” Auxilians have operated successful and profitable gift shops in hospitals for many years so they couldn’t be faulted for wanting to find a bargain while in Milwaukee – perhaps to take home for their local gift shops?
In those early meetings and through the 1960s there was also a session entitled the “Small Hospital Seminar,” suitable for the small hospitals in WHA’s membership. In 1977, sensitive to special constituencies with the membership, WHA developed the first annual conference solely for executives and trustees of small and rural hospitals.
During that convention in 1959, they also “adopted a program of increased dues for the purpose of setting up a full-time state office with staff.” A committee was appointed to study location and selection.
See the brochure from the 1959 Convention.
Next week: In 1960 WHA opened its first dedicated office space in Madison and hired its first full-time staff member.

This story originally appeared in the April 30, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter