Community Health Planning and Policy Development
Section Newsletter
Spring 2009

Chair's Message: The 'Game' of Member Participation

What does it take for members to become involved with the Community Health Planning and Policy Development (CHPPD) Section? I set out to answer this question last November upon starting my two-year term as Section chair. 


The Section has just completed a process to identify the Section vision and re-worked the mission statement. We had pre-existing committees: Membership (including Newsletter), Policy, Program, and Student. I thought that if we identified issues that members care about as well as members who agreed to take an initiative on these issues, it would get members engaged. The Section members identified the issues of Health Reform, Public Health Information Technology, and Built Communities, and some members agreed to take a lead.


Due to space limitations, I will focus on strategic issues because they are a new initiative. What I learned from working with strategic issues surprised me. 


Strategic Issues - Results


  • About 30 professionals participated in the Role of Community in Health Reform webinar and audio conference organized in February 2009.
  • CHPPD member Tammy Pilisuk, along with Medical Care Section’s Dr. Ellen Shaffer, submitted a proposed policy, “Public Health’s Critical Role in Health Reform.” The paper has received conditional approval from the Joint Policy Council and is being revised as suggested by members.
  • CHPPD Section members Dr. Charles Magruder, Dr. Azzie Young, and I will be presenting on Public Health Perspective on Electronic Medical Records: Real World Experiences at the local, state and federal levels at an invited session organized by the Health Informatics Information Technology (HIIT) Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG).
  • The Built Communities Strategic Team of Dr. Amy Carroll-Scott and Dr. Christiaan Morssink is writing a white paper.

 Lessons Learned


  • Identify an issue, at least two members, and tangible opportunities. We identified issues based on the fact that at least two members would work on each issue. For Health Reform, the tangible opportunities identified were a proposed policy paper and Webinar; for Public Health Information Technology, the opportunity of an invited session from HIIT was presented; and for Built Communities, the team has proposed writing a “white paper.”
  • Teams are small and free-flowing. Two or more people make a team. Which members choose to be on a team is related to the specific project and content, and linked to a need for learning.
  • Watch for opportunities. Tammy sent me a copy of an unsolicited copy of a  health reform paper she had worked on for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and seemed excited to take the lead in writing the paper; I sent the HIIT invitation to Dr. Charley Magruder, and he thought it was an exciting opportunity; I had read a paper on Community Health Centers and their work with Electronic Health Records (EHR), and asked Dr. Azzie Young if she could speak to the Mattapan Community Health Center’s experience with EHRs, and she said she could. In each instance, it was connecting a pre-defined interest with an opportunity and a professional.
  • Dare to take initiative. I do not profess to be an expert on health care, as my work focuses on prevention. Working with Tammy and Ellen on the Health Reform paper helped me understand that I did not need to be an expert. It is part of our lives. 

Recently, I was listening to Jane McGonigal, an alternative games developer with the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., on National Public Radio. She says games make people happy and she's come up with four elements she believes we all need to be happy: satisfying work, the experience of being good at something, time spent with people we like, and the chance to be a part of something bigger. Games, she says, do all of these things. "Games work better than most of reality because they give us clear instructions. We know exactly what we're supposed to do," Dr. McGonigal says. "They give us better feedback; you can't be good at something unless you're getting feedback ... Gamers don't mind criticism."


That’s what we need to remember to get members involved in CHPPD, APHA, and public health in general. Give as clear instructions as possible. Two members from different sides of the globe talking about a common issue is involvement. Hunger for learning about another’s perspective or about an issue is more valuable in getting members engaged than expertise. Sometimes we think that the guidelines are clear, and yet no one seems to want to play. Ask if the instructions are clear, and if necessary, tweak the guidelines so people will play. What if they still don’t? Then play something else. Isn’t that what we tell our children?


By Priti Irani, CHPPD Section Chair,

The CHPPD Student Committee: Building a Community for Future Leaders

In these uncertain economic times, finding a job after graduation has become more difficult than ever. My fellow students who are graduating with their bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees are finding the job market much more selective than in previous years.


A few of my colleagues in PhD programs are frantically searching for jobs, picking through the “open positions” sections of public health Web sites and publications. In searching for public health positions, there is truth in the adage “it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know.” An important addition to this phrase is “it’s not just who you know, it’s who knows you.” One of the goals of the student committee of the CHPPD Section is to help students interested in community health and health policy-related careers network with professionals who are already established in these fields. Over the past three years, the student committee has created relationships, activities, and initiatives that work toward this and many other goals.  


Student committee Communications Liaison Dawn Alayon and Chair-Elect Amy Carroll-Scott at the 2007 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The CHPPD Student Committee was established in 2006 under the leadership of Amy Carroll-Scott, who is currently the CHPPD chair-elect. Along with networking, the committee serves to create a sustainable role for students in CHPPD governance, to provide leadership and mentoring opportunities for students within CHPPD, and to help students get involved with CHPPD activities.


Much of what we do revolves around preparing for and implementing activities at the APHA Annual Meeting.  Every year, the CHPPD Student Committee takes the lead in soliciting, reviewing, and selecting student abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations. Out of hundreds of submissions, the Student Committee selects two award winners (a doctoral-level and master's-level student award), as well as four other submissions to present at the CHPPD student oral presentation session. Students have also been involved in planning and promoting the CHPPD Social Hour, where all members of CHPPD can meet each other face-to-face in a casual social setting. For the past few years, students have also been in charge of recruiting and scheduling student volunteers to staff the CHPPD information booth during the annual conference. Each year those student volunteers are matched with regular CHPPD members, providing a mentorship opportunity and as a means of introduction to CHPPD (in fact, this is the way I was introduced to CHPPD).


Student Committee members. Back row (from left): Scott Williams (Section membership co-chair), Ashley Wennerstrom, Russell McIntire (Student Committee chair-elect). Front row (from left): Kathryn Eclar, Darrell Triplett, Dawn Alayon, P.T. Lee.

At present, we on the CHPPD Student Committee are eager to continue these successful activities. We have a relatively new team of leaders on the committee this year; only three of us have previous experience with CHPPD, so we’re team-building and trying to get to know each other. New technology will help facilitate our growth as a committee, our involvement in CHPPD initiatives, and in achieving our goals. We are very excited about CHPPD’s adoption of the Collaboration and Insider wiki pages.  These pages will help us access CHPPD news updates, forums, and activities, and give our committee more opportunities to participate in section decisions. Also, the Student Committee has created a Facebook group in order to recruit student members to both the student committee and CHPPD. Facebook gives us more direct (practically instantaneous) communication between Student Committee members. This site will encourage discussions, posting of pictures, and networking, and can be used to promote general CHPPD initiatives such as the photojournalism and t-shirt contests, and Webinars. 


It is through these activities that the CHPPD Student Committee will continue advocating for student interests within the Section. We look forward to continuing to develop mutually beneficial relationships between students and the general membership of CHPPD. Only through communication, cooperation and teamwork can we further the initiatives of CHPPD and APHA; and, ultimately, help build stronger, healthier communities both domestically and abroad.


By Russell K. McIntire, CHPPD Student Committee Chair-Elect,

CHPPD Welcomes Jarrah as Newsletter Co-Editor

Sami Jarrah is the newest co-editor for the CHPPD newsletter.

Sami has worked in higher education for six years but is a relative

newcomer to public health. At the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation since July 2007, Sami serves the office of foundation relations, which manages the university’s proposals to private foundations. In this role, Sami works with biomedical researchers, public health advocates, policy experts and health care providers to craft proposals to private foundations.

In addition to his work at the OHSU Foundation, Sami also serves as a member of the Oregon Women’s Health & Wellness Alliance as well as the chair of the Health Care & Reproductive Rights Task Force for Oregon’s affiliate of the National Organization for Women. A member of Future Leaders in Philanthropy (FLiP), Sami has worked on projects relating to everything from pediatric dental care and neuroscience research to palliative care policy and education models that empower paralyzed air travelers.

In his free time, Sami enjoys exploring Portland, Oregon’s vibrant neighborhoods and great wilderness – mountains and beaches, especially.

Sami earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and Middle Eastern studies from Davidson College in North Carolina. This summer, Sami will begin studying at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health in Seattle, where he will pursue a master’s degree in public health, focusing on health policy. Feel free to contact Sami – with questions or just to say hello – at

Fighting Childhood Obesity Through Local Policy

Every day we hear more devastating news about the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. One in five preschoolers is obese, pediatricians see an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes among obese children, and researchers are finding 10-year-olds with cardiovascular systems that resemble those of 45-year-olds.

Healthy mobile vendors, also known as fruteros, in Oakland, California. Photo by Lydia Daniller. Used with permission of NPLAN.
How do we, as public health professionals, reverse these alarming trends? As members of this APHA section, you are certainly aware of the power of policy to improve health. In New York City, a healthy mobile vending policy is promoting access to healthy foods in under-served communities. Towns and cities across the country are adopting Complete Streets policies, which help create streets that are safe for pedestrians and cyclists. These are just some of the ways communities around the country are using public health policy to promote healthy eating and active living and, ultimately, reduce obesity rates.

The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) provides legal technical assistance focused on childhood obesity prevention policy. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as part of its historic $500 million commitment to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015, NPLAN provides communities with the resources to craft solid public health policies.

NPLAN develops free model policies, such as local ordinances and contracts, that communities and schools can adopt in order to improve health. For example, NPLAN has developed model menu labeling ordinances, requiring chain restaurants to post calorie and other nutrition information on menus. We can provide local or state attorneys with legal research that can serve as the foundation for strong public health policies. Our staff attorneys can answer legal questions from advocates, government attorneys, and public health officials about adopting these policies. Finally, while we can provide general legal information about public health policy, we cannot provide legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship.

We are constantly adding new legal and policy resources to our Web site, so check it out.

By Christine R. Fry, MPP, Program Coordinator, Public Health Law & Policy,

Scientists Challenged to Respond to the Health Crisis of the 21st Century

In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) held a Climate Change, Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions conference in Copenhagen attended by more than 2,500 researchers and economists. The conference presented WHO’s research findings on the health impacts of climate change. WHO estimates that about 150,000 deaths per year now occur in low-income countries due to four climate-sensitive health outcomes: crop failure and malnutrition, diarrheal disease, malaria, and flooding. Almost 85% of these excess deaths are in young children. The poor, the geographically vulnerable, the very young, women and the elderly are at greatest risk of climate-related health problems and premature mortality.


The British economist Lord Stern said at the conference that the cost of doing nothing would amount to up to a third of the world’s wealth by 2050. He urged scientists to speak out and tell the politicians what the world would be like if effective measures against global warming were not taken.



Climate change figure, courtesy of WHO


So, where is our own CDC on this critical issue? A good, albeit political, question, and surely one about which we should expect a definitive answer soon!


For more information on climate change and human health, visit the WHO website.



* This article originally appeared in the 1st Quarter 2009 Issue of The American Health Planning Association’s Health Planning TODAY (reprinted with permission).   For an essay supporting a response to this as “the moral equivalent of war,” see the author's 'The Vision of Public Health in the 21st Century: Public Health Without Borders.'


By John Steen,



The Public Health Problem of the Century

A new report,  “Managing the health effects of climate change," published in The Lancet UCL (Vol. 373: 693-733, May 16, 2009) by an interdisciplinary team of academics in the U.K., is now available. Representing a year of research, it finds that the cumulative effects of climate change represent the greatest threat to human health throughout the world. The report is a collaborative effort among research teams from health, anthropology, geography, engineering, political science, economics, law and philosophy. Its lead author, pediatrician Anthony Costello, is a professor of international child health and also director of the Institute for Global Health at University College London.


The challenge is unprecedented, and is one that needs to be seen as the greatest public health and environmental issue.  Their report is written in a strong spirit of moral engagement, too, and raises the issue of intergenerational justice. The authors state that the health community has yet to be heard from on the multiple impacts on human health of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, the extreme geographic and socio-economic disparity of those impacts, and how adaptation to low-carbon lifestyles will reduce obesity, heart and lung disease, diabetes and stress as well as ameliorate those impacts. They call for a new public health movement to deal with climate change, one that makes the general public aware of the benefits of adapting to it as well as the costs to all nations of not doing so. The authors propose that a coalition of health experts set priorities for management, implementation, and monitoring of the health effects of climate change within two years.


related editorial in the The Lancet calls for “a new public health advocacy movement… to usher in an unprecedented era of cooperation between widely divergent, but utterly connected, spheres — disease, food, water and sanitation, shelter and settlements, extreme events, and population and migration.”


The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse


Described in the Bible’s Book of Revelation as Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death, they also symbolize exactly what is to be expected from unmitigated climate change. It is estimated that by the year 2000 — the most recent year the calculation was made — the world’s population had lost 5.5 million years of life due to premature death and quality of life reductions by disability.  These include deaths caused by heart disease, diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition, and injury from coastal flooding and landslides, all attributable to climate change. Identifying where those effects disproportionately occurred further highlights the “massive inequality in health systems.” For example, the loss of healthy life-years as a result of climate change is predicted to be 500 times higher in Africa, a continent that makes minimal contributions to exacerbate climate change, than in European nations.


In April, Oxfam issued a report, The Right to Survive: The humanitarian challenge for the 21st century, stating that 250 million people a year are currently adversely affected by climate change-related disasters, and predicting that the number would rise to 375 million by 2015.  


For our own Environmental Protection Agency’s take on this important issue, visit

By John Steen,

Medpedia: Free New Public Health Resource

Interested in a new way to access up-to-date health information and connect with other public health professionals in the field of community health planning and policy development? Medpedia is a new Web site for openly -- and freely -- sharing and advancing medical knowledge that includes the knowledge of doctors and medical professionals as well as patients, caregivers and those looking to stay well.

Medpedia includes three interrelated services: a collaborative knowledge base (like the Wikipedia of health and medicine); a professional network and directory for health professionals and organizations; and a communities of interest section in which medical professionals and non-professionals can share information about conditions, treatments and lifestyle choices.

Medpedia sample profile, screenshot courtesy of Medpedia Inc.
Content on Medpedia includes a Public Health portal, with relevant indexed articles, including growing information on swine flu. Every public health professional has the ability to suggest changes and edits to the content on the site, while those with MD's and PhD's are able to confirm edits. Contributors and users of the site include public health professionals, medical schools, research institutes, for-profit and non-profit organizations, expert patients, policy-makers and students, among others.

Every public health official can benefit from creating a free customizable professional profile in Medpedia that ranks highly in Google. Get recognized for your areas of expertise and connect with other public health professionals. Create a free professional profile on Medpedia to get connected!

By Angie DiLaura, Community Manager, Medpedia,

Help Make America the Healthiest Nation in One Generation

Let’s face it – as a nation we’re not nearly as healthy as we should be. Compared to other developed nations, we’re lagging far behind. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With your help, we can make America the healthiest nation in just one generation.


As a central component of this year’s National Public Health Week (NPHW) observance, APHA launched an exciting, new viral video campaign. The Healthiest Nation in One Generation video tells the story of the many ways that public health touches our lives. Nearly 25,000 people have already viewed the video online, and the numbers continue to grow each day. If you haven’t checked out the video, watch it today and be sure to share it with your colleagues, family and friends. And stay informed by visiting – NPHW 2009 is over, but our campaign to make America the healthiest nation in one generation is just beginning…


We all have to do our part. What will you do?

Online Version of Communicable Diseases Manual

APHA wants to know your opinion on whether you would use an online version of the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. Help us by taking a survey.  We appreciate your input.


Symposium on Quality Improvement to Prevent Prematurity

In response to the rising rates of preterm births, its impact on perinatal outcomes, and health care costs, this symposium will explore quality improvement initiatives to prevent preterm birth and develop an agenda for action to decrease the rate of those preterm births that are not inevitable or medically necessary.  


When: Oct. 8 and 9, 2009

Where: Arlington, Va.

Registration Deadline: Oct. 2 (early bird registration discount until Sept. 11)

Audience: health care practitioners, health insurers, policy-makers, health purchasers, regulators, concerned citizens


Organized by March of Dimes in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsAmerican Academy of PediatricsAmerican College of Nurse Midwives and Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.



Visit the Web site to register or get more information.

New Book on Disability Studies

Disability and Public Health, published by APHA, is available now. This publication is an important and overdue contribution to the core curriculum of disability studies in public health education. It is a particularly timely book because, as our nation ages, disability will become an increasingly significant interdisciplinary area of study and service domain in public health.

Visit the APHA online bookstore to order your copy today. APHA members can take advantage of a 30 percent member discount whether ordering online or via the toll-free number, (888) 320-2742.

Alcohol Screening & Brief Intervention Manual

APHA is proud to annouce the release of Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention: A Guide for Public Health Practitioners. This manual provides public health professionals with information, skills and tools needed to conduct screening and brief intervention (SBI) to help at-risk drinkers reduce their alcohol use. Download the manual for free online.

A Resource in Public Health CareerMart

Public Health CareerMart has over 1,000 jobs listed!

APHA has created the Public Health CareerMart to be the online career resource center in the field of public health. Here, you’ll find only qualified, industry professionals. Instead of searching through hundreds of sites looking for the perfect jobs in public health, job seekers will find it all at Public Health CareerMart's career development center.

Employers, instead of being inundated with stacks of unrelated, irrelevant resumes, you’re much more likely to find candidates with the skills and experience you’re looking for — and spend less time doing it! After all, where better to find the best public health professionals than the association that represents them? 

Public Health CareerMart  is a member of the National Healthcare Career Network.

Come To Philadelphia for the 2009 Annual Meeting!

From Nov. 7 to 11, 2009, thousands of public health professionals will convene in Philadelphia for the APHA 137th Annual Meeting and Exposition. More than 1,000 cutting-edge scientific sessions will be presented by public health researchers, academicians, policy-makers and practitioners on the most current public health issues facing the nation today.

To ensure that no public health professional misses this opportunity, this year’s Annual Meeting will be more affordable than ever. Hotel rates have been slashed so that no rates are higher than $195. Eleven of the 15 contracted hotels are offering rates between $149 and $179. Registration and Housing open June 1. Save up to $115 on registration fees by registering before August 28. Take advantage of these discounts and join your colleagues in a meeting you won’t want to miss.

For more information about the Annual Meeting and CHPPD's role in making it a success, visit! We’re on Twitter, too!

Expect Another Wonderful Program in Philadelphia This Year

A very special thanks to the many volunteers who reviewed the 350 abstracts that were submitted to the CHPPD Section for presentation at this year’s Annual Meeting! It was an enormous task that required great dedication to ensure that each proposal received a fair and thorough review. 


To guarantee the best possible CHPPD program in Philadelphia, three reviewers were assigned to rate each proposal. By far, the most popular topic was “Collaborative Community Health, Planning, and Policy Development.”  Other popular topic areas were “Community Health Assessment, Public Health Informatics, and Surveillance Data Sets,” and “Evaluation and Community-Based Participatory Projects.” 


We look forward to the many excellent presentations that were selected for the 2009 Meeting, and we hope to see you in November!


Kind Regards,


Danielle Greene, DrPH

Program Chair, CHPPD Section

(212) 442-3051


Ijeoma Nwachuku, PhD

Program Co-Chair, CHPPD Section

(626) 574-2486 

Serve CHPPD as a Proxy at the APHA Annual Meeting!

Would you be interested in serving as proxy at the APHA Annual Meeting?

Each year at the Annual Meeting, we need to identify proxies -- members able to participate in meetings for Section officers who are unable to attend. We usually need proxies or representatives for Governing Council meetings, the Action Board, the membership meeting, or the policy hearings. We will not know the date, time, or event until September. If you indicate an interest in serving as a proxy or representative, we will put you on the list of members to contact. Please send an e-mail to Priti Irani if you are interested in serving as a Section proxy or representative.

Tracing CHPPD History

In celebration of CHPPD’s 40th Anniversary, CHPPD Student Chair Aneesah Latise Akbar-Uqdah and I are researching the Section’s history.  We hope to learn a little about the story behind the Section, and illustrate it through a digital photo journal.  We know that we will just be “scratching the surface,” but it is a start.


Some of the questions we are hoping to answer are:

1.      How did CHPPD begin?

2.      Who were some of the founders?  We know their names, but what events in the community led them to start the Section?

3.      What are some key events that have shaped the Section in the past four decades?

4.      What has remained the same about CHPPD, and what has changed?


To help us in our research, we are looking at past newsletters, back issues of the American Journal of Public Health and The Nation’s Health, the APHA archives, history written by other sections, The First One Hundred Years, a book about APHA’s history, and are also busy talking to members.  If you have questions about the Section’s history or topics of interest that you would like us to include in our search, please e-mail Aneesah at, or me at


By Priti Irani, CHPPD Section Chair,

CHPPD Business Meetings and Celebration at the 2009 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia

It was 40 years ago, at the 1969 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, that the Community Health Planning and Policy Development (CHPPD) Section was born.  Members are invited to all business meetings and CHPPD’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.


Sunday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Focus: Strategic Issues in Community Health Planning and Policy Development


Sunday, Nov. 8, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Focus: New member orientation and Student Committee Meetings.

The time overlaps with policy hearings that are from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. CHPPD Section with the Medical Care Section is supporting Proposed Policy C6: Public Health Critical Role in Health Reform.


Sunday, Nov. 8, 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

CHPPD Section 40th Anniversary Celebration dinner at

The Imperial Inn, Phildelphia. Register by Oct. 14, 2009 for the CHPPD Celebration.  Donation of $5 for CHPPD Section members and $10 for non-members. Celebration details will be available by July 31, 2009.