Opening General Session

The Opening General Session will take place on Sunday, November 3 from noon to 2:00 pm at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The Opening General Session is the official kickoff of the Annual Meeting.

Immediately following the Opening General Session all attendees are invited to visit the Grand Opening of the Public Health Expo.

Sarah Weddington
A proven leader in government at the national and state levels, Sarah Weddington, JD is a nationally known attorney and spokesperson on leadership and public issues. In her first book, A Question of Choice, Weddington detailed the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which she successfully argued before the US Supreme Court in 1973 at the age of 27. She is believed to be the youngest person ever to win a case before the US Supreme Court.

Weddington has been the first woman to hold various leadership positions in her field. Elected in 1973 and having served three terms, she was the first woman from Austin in the 150-member Texas House of Representatives. In 1977, she was the first woman to ever hold the position of general counsel of the US Department of Agriculture. From 1978 to 1981, Weddington directed the Carter Administration’s work on women’s issues and leadership outreach. From 1983-1985, Weddington was the first woman director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations.

Weddington is also adjunct professor at The University of Texas in Austin, where she helped shape a new generation of leaders in her classes "Gender-Based Discrimination” and “Leadership in America." She also writes and travels extensively, speaking on the development of leadership skills, and is currently working on her next book on the topic of leadership and self-renewal.

Michael G. Marmot
Internationally acclaimed epidemiologist, Michael Marmot, MD, PhD, MPH, has been at the forefront of research into social and health inequalities for the past 35 years. Marmot is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director of the International Centre for Health and Society at University College London, as well as Adjunct Professor of Health and Social Behavior at the Harvard School of Public Health.  He has led some of the world’s most compelling studies on the social determinants of health including the Whitehall Studies in Britain, which documented important effects of class on health over a 20-40 year span. His studies have looked at everything from life expectancy in Scotland to disease patterns of Japanese migrants in America.

In 2000, Marmot was knighted by Her Majesty, The Queen, for services to Epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities.  Marmot has international recognition as a Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine. He served as President of the British Medical Association (BMA), is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy and Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians. Marmot's work has been widely reported in newspapers, radio and television around the world.

Thomas M. Menino
A national leader on neighborhood issues, Mayor Thomas Menino believes that government is about helping people.  Elected five times as Mayor of Boston and five times as a City Councilor from Hyde Park, he has spent a lifetime building a better Boston for residents and businesses.

Whether it is through innovative public health programs or progressive environmental policy, Menino has put Boston at the national forefront of healthy, livable cities. Through targeted and aggressive outreach, he has fought to reduce ethnic health disparities, combat substance abuse, and promote healthy nutrition for both children and adults.  Having recently been named the 3rd greenest city in America, Boston is a leader in sustainability and environmental awareness. Menino is active in the fight for gun control and co founded, with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Please Note: For security purposes, name badges must be worn to enter the Opening General Session. Program and Badge Holder Pick Up is busiest on Sunday morning, immediately prior to the start of the General Session. To avoid long lines, and to save time, pick up your registration packet on Saturday.