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APHA's 135th annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Nov. 3-7.

While politics and health are common topics on Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill, hundreds of discussions on the issues will take place in a slightly more northwest area of the city this month, when APHA's 135th Annual Meeting kicks off at the Washington Convention Center.

With a theme of "Politics, Policy and Public Health," this year's Annual Meeting will be right at home in Washington, D.C. The meeting, which will be held Nov. 3-7, will focus on the ways the political process, policy development and public health intersect--and occasionally conflict. Speakers and sessions will explore public health policy through the political lens, examining everything from nutrition policies and occupational health standards to women's health services and access to care.

"As public health workers, it is important that we work to create policies that benefit the health of our communities, but that also means we must know how to work with our political leaders," said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP. "As our elected leaders struggle on Capitol Hill to pass a State Children's Health Insurance Program bill that would improve the health and lives of millions of kids, the site and theme of this year's Annual Meeting could not be more relevant."

The meeting, which is expected to attract 14,000 people, will feature hundreds of scientific and educational sessions--including roundtables, poster sessions and panel discussions--and thousands of scientific papers on the latest public health issues. The meeting will also include networking and continuing education opportunities.

The Annual Meeting will include the latest information on public health from leaders such as Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gerberding, who also serves as the administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, will be one of the keynote speakers at the meeting's opening session on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Gerberding will be joined at the opening session by former journalist Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. Garrett, winner of the Peabody, Polk and Pulitzer prizes, is the best-selling author of books focusing on emerging diseases and global public health. (See Q&A with Garrett, Page 11.)

The meeting's closing session, to be held Wednesday, Nov. 7, will feature another award-winning journalist, Sanjay Gupta, MD. Gupta, a neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN, is known for both his news coverage of topics such as AIDS and avian flu and his public health work on issues such as obesity and preventive health.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was scheduled to appear at the closing session, will instead deliver a personalized videotaped message to Annual Meeting attendees. Armstrong will be unable to personally attend the meeting because of work on legislation in Texas that would fund cancer prevention and research.

Meeting events begin Sunday at noon

The Annual Meeting events will officially kick off Sunday at noon with the opening general session at the Washington Convention Center, followed by the opening of the APHA Public Health Expo, which will feature about 750 public health exhibits.

The Annual Meeting's hundreds of scientific and educational sessions will begin on Monday, Nov. 5, at 8:30 a.m. and continue through Wednesday. Although many sessions will focus on the Annual Meeting theme, others will cover the public health spectrum, addressing everything from community health campaigns and preventive screenings to health funding and work force development. APHA's Sections, Special Primary Interest Groups, Caucuses, Forums and Student Assembly will host scientific sessions, business meetings, exhibit booths and poster sessions.

On Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to noon, APHA will sponsor special concurrent sessions on topics such as child health, public health research, climate change and universal health care.

Many of the meeting's scientific sessions will also focus on APHA's top three priority areas: public health infrastructure, disparities and access to care. Meeting participants can look up sessions by topic via the online program on the APHA Web site at www.apha.org/meetings.

Annual Meeting registrants who visit the Web site now can also take advantage of the free online personal scheduler. Users can browse the meeting program, select which events they want to attend and save them in a personalized, password-protected scheduler.

For the first time ever, the APHA meeting will also feature blog coverage by the Association. The APHA Annual Meeting Blog, online at http://aphaannualmeeting.blogspot.com, will feature reviews, articles and discussions on sessions and events. Produced through APHA's Communications Department, the blog will be accessible to health workers at the meeting as well as those back home.

Continuing education, APHA business held

The Annual Meeting will also feature about 20 preconvention Learning Institutes on Nov. 3-4, through which eligible participants can earn continuing education credits. The institutes will cover topics such as geographic information systems, community-based research, emergency response and health monitoring. Registration is open online now for the institutes, which are open to both meeting attendees and the public.

Annual Meeting registrants can also earn continuing education credits in conjunction with meeting scientific sessions. For only $50, meeting registrants will be able to earn up to 37.5 continuing education credit hours by attending and evaluating certain scientific sessions. A list of sessions that are available for credits will be printed in the Annual Meeting final program. More information on credits will be available at the continuing education booth at the Washington Convention Center.

People who attend the Annual Meeting but who want to take in sessions they missed or review a session they attended will be able to listen to them online once they return home. APHA's E-ssentialLearning program allows meeting participants to hear audio from scientific sessions and watch PowerPoint presentations from their own computers after the meeting ends. More information on the program, which requires a registration fee, is available online at www.apha.org/meetings/sessions/recordedpresentations.htm. Registration for the E-ssentialLearning program will be available at the convention center in D.C.

APHA leaders and members will also be busy conducting business during the Annual Meeting. Among those that will be at work include the Governing Council, APHA's body of member-elected representatives. Besides its two business sessions, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 3, and Tuesday, Nov. 6, the council will have a public APHA candidates' forum on Saturday at 6 p.m. APHA members are welcome to attend both the business sessions and the forum, which will have seating for the public.

During its meetings, the Governing Council will be considering about 20 proposed APHA policies, which if adopted will serve as the Association's official stances on public health issues. Open public hearings on the proposed policies, which address issues such as trans fat, physical activity and smoke-free schools, will be held Sunday, Nov. 4, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Members who are planning to submit late-breaker policy proposals are required to present them in completed form no later than 6 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Nov. 3, via e-mail to policy@apha.org or in electronic format at the receptionist's desk at APHA headquarters, 800 I Street N.W., Washington, D.C.

APHA members who want to know more about writing and proposing Association policies can attend session 3007.1, "How to Write a Good Policy," which will be led by members of APHA's Joint Policy Committee at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.

Other business gatherings include the Committee on Affiliates Leadership Day and Intersectional Council meeting, both on Saturday. APHA members who want to attend the business meetings of their Section, SPIG, Caucus, Forum or Assembly can search by their group's title in the online program to find dates and times.

Other Annual Meeting highlights include:

* Public Health CareerMart at the Public Health Expo, where job seekers can browse public health employment openings;

* the APHA Public Health Awards Reception and Ceremony, which will take place on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.;

* the APHA Film Festival, which will feature international public health videos on Monday and U.S. films on Tuesday in the APHA Film and Technology Theater;

* a reception for the photo exhibit, "Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq," on Monday at 6 p.m.;

* a booth at the Public Health Expo with information on APHA's 53 affiliated state and regional public health associations, where participants can join up to be part of an Affiliate in their home state; and

* the Everything APHA exhibit area at the expo, with meeting merchandise and APHA books as well as information on the Association and member services.

The Annual Meeting's events will be centered at the Washington Convention Center. Shuttle service will be offered for official Annual Meeting hotels, except for those that are within walking distance of the convention center.

Participants can register on-site for the Annual Meeting at the Washington Convention Center. Registrants will receive a printed copy of the final meeting program with session locations when they check in at the convention center.

For more information on APHA's 135th Annual Meeting, visit www.apha.org/meetings, e-mail comments@apha.org or call (202) 777-2742.

Three Annual Meeting sessions to be available online via webcast

APHA members who can't make it to Washington, D.C., for the Annual Meeting will later be able to watch three sessions in full online.

On Monday, Nov. 5, the World Federation of Public Health Associations will host two sessions on global health issues that will later be available via webcast. Session 3098, at 10:30 a.m., will address international public health education and highlight lessons learned while setting up public health programs in Uganda, Bangladesh and southern India. Session 3293, at 2:30 p.m., will look at politics, policy and health disparities in both developed and developing countries. Both sessions will feature international guest speakers.

Also on Monday, a session on the National Public Health Performance Standards Program will be recorded for webcast. Session 3200, at 12:30 p.m., will showcase the standards program, which allows health professionals to gauge how well their health systems are performing and improve their services. A second session on the National Public Health Performance Standards Program, session 3298, at 2:30 p.m., will explore new tools that have been released for the program, but that session will not be available via webcast.

The webcast sessions will be available to view online via the Alabama Public Health Training Network's Web site, www.adph.org/alphtn, after the meeting ends.

Annual Meeting participants can also take in the webcast sessions in person in Washington, D.C. Check the Annual Meeting final program for room locations.

For more on the webcast sessions, e-mail mighty.fine@apha.org or call (202) 777-2493.

Advocate for public health while in D.C. for the APHA Annual Meeting

In keeping with the Annual Meeting theme of "Politics, Policy and Public Health," APHA is calling on meeting attendees to take time out for public health advocacy while in D.C.

"Legislators are hard at work right now on many issues of key importance to public health, such as funding, and your voice can make a difference," said Don Hoppert, APHA's director of government relations. "As a member of their district, your elected officials want to talk to you and hear what you have to say."

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Hoppert advised Annual Meeting attendees to contact their congressional offices now and schedule meetings with their elected officials. Even if legislators themselves are not available, schedule a meeting with their congressional staff, Hoppert advised.

Among the issues APHA is asking its members to advocate on are health disparities and nutrition policies under the U.S. farm bill, legislation on both of which are currently pending in Congress. Fact sheets on both issues are available from APHA.

The APHA Web site features advocacy tips, a form letter requesting a meeting with elected officials, talking points and other materials online at www.apha.org/advocacy/tips/annualmeetingadvocacy.htm. For more information on advocacy, call (202) 777-2513 or e-mail nicky.bassford@apha.org.
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Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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