American Public Health Association
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For Immediate Release
Contact: Media Relations, (202) 777-2509

APHA Announces New Staff Leadership

Washington, D.C., January 16, 2009 – The American Public Health Association (APHA) is pleased to announce the addition of a new chief of staff and two directors to the Association staff. Joining the organization as chief of staff is Richard Proctor, as director of the Public Health Policy Center is Susan Abramson, MHS, and as director of publications is Nina Tristani.


“We are delighted to welcome these talented individuals to the Association,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “They each bring with them unique experiences and skills that will be indispensable as our organization continues to strive to protect and promote health in our nation.”


Proctor brings with him to APHA almost 30 years of experience with the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. His previous positions have included chief of staff to four secretaries, special assistant to the deputy for operations, department executive officer, as well as executive director of the Office of Public Relations and Governmental Affairs. Proctor’s previous experience also includes serving as the interim director of both the Board of Physician Quality Assurance and the Board of Dental Examiners. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Health Education from Towson State University and graduate coursework in public administration.


“I look forward to using my extensive working knowledge of state government to help lead the Association as we explore new ways to approach public health challenges,” Proctor said.


Abramson comes to APHA from the School of Public Health and Health Services at the George Washington University (GWU) where she served as a lead researcher and project manager for efforts to strengthen delivery of Medicaid services in the District of Columbia. Her previous experience also includes starting a non-profit organization to create and manage a community health center in Alexandria, Va., working on Capitol Hill as a health legislative assistant and a decade of working in international health planning, project development, evaluation and health financing in the countries of Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Kenya, for the World Bank, USAID and UNICEF. Abramson’s education includes a Masters degree in Health Planning and Administration from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and doctoral training in health policy at GWU.


“It is a great time to be involved in public health.” Abramson said. “I look forward to expanding the scope of work of the policy center in support of APHA’s mission.


Tristani has over 20 years of experience in marketing and publishing. Her previous positions have included assistant director of news, books and special publications at the American Geophysical Union; director of publications and communications at the National Science Resources Center of the Smithsonian Institution; and deputy director of marketing and product development at Heldref Publications. She currently serves on the Education Committee for the Society of Scholarly Publishers and has coordinated seminars for the organization. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh and has studied toward an MBA at George Washington University.


“I am excited to be a part of APHA and lead the way as the field of publications continues to evolve in the coming years,” Tristani said.


APHA’s chief of staff serves as principal staff advisor to the executive director on all administrative matters and provides leadership to the organization’s departments. The director of the Public Health Policy Center provides guidance and coordination for the center and supports the other executive staff in their policy needs. The publications director is responsible for stimulating, planning and directing Association publishing activities for the American Journal of Public Health and APHA Press.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at