Section Newsletter
Fall 2011

Greetings from the Chair

Stephen Gilson, PhD


As the Annual Meeting approaches, I see three major issues that are crucial to the survival, growth and intellectual productivity of our section.


First, we need to support and expand the critical dialog and debate about disability, disability studies and public health. Considering pluralistic definitions of disability, how we approach theory, research and praxis are dependent on our commitment to be current, creative and challenging of the status quo that keeps disability in the shadows of the public health arena.


Second, we are obliged to move beyond simplistic views of access, to insist that APHA espouse complex strategies that advance full participation.  The current euphemism for discrimination is “scarce resources”, and we must join other groups who will not stand for such excuses to truncate social justice and human rights for those who require atypical access measures to obtain information and to engage in APHA activities.


Third, we need to look beyond the boundaries of APHA to promote health and social justice for all people including those who are defined as disabled under pluralistic definitions of disability. While conflict is not comfortable with established public and private public health agencies and entities, such as those which typically fund disability research, we must be willing to engage in debate that may cause dissent in the short run but which have significant promise for cre ating awareness and critically needed sustained social change over time.


I look forward to seeing you all at the Annual Meeting as we plan our work for the coming years.

Section Council Updates

Awards Committee Update by Jeniffer Rowland, PhD, MPH, PT

2011 APHA Disability Section Award Winners Announced

The Disability Section congratulates the 2011 award winners:

  • Rune Simeonsson, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Elena Andresen, Allen Meyers Award
  • Eleanor Smith, Advocacy Award
  • Scott Robertson, Student Award

The award winners will be honored at the APHA Annual Meeting during the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Oct. 1, 2011, from 6:30-9:00 p.m. in Room 101 of the Washington Convention Center. Please join us in congratulating these individuals.

Nomination forms and deadline information for the 2012 awards will be
announced following the Annual Meeting.

Communications Committee Update by Roberta Carlin, MS, JD
Please visit the APHA Disability Section website at  www.apha.org for additional updates on the upcoming Annual Meeting.  The Chairs Forum will be held on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 30, at the Washington Convention Center.   Please check you emails for updates from the APHA Disability Listserv about Chairs Forum details. The Disability Section Business/Reception  Meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.  Please check program for room assignment and time.

Membership Committee, Update by Dot Nary, PhD

Look around you…


Do you have colleagues who are unaware of the Disability Section’s work? Students who might benefit from membership?  Soon each Section member will receive a mailing that includes two print copies of our newly revised brochure.  Please share these brochures with others who would appreciate the work of our section. Tell them why you joined and what you value about your membership. If you would like a supply of brochures to display in your office, post on bulletin boards, or distribute at meetings, please let me know. Or if you need the information in an alternate format, please let me know that as well. The strength of the Disability Section depends on our ability to attract and retain new members who embrace our values and the work that we do. Please help us to identify and reach out to these new members!

Dot Nary, Membership Chair


Policy Committee Update 
Vincent Campbell, PhD, and Barbara Kornblau, PhD

Policy Updates: If you are interested in submitting a policy for consideration for the 2012 APHA Annual Meeting, they will be due after the first of the year, probably in February.  Please refer to the APHA website, under Advocacy and Policy, for instructions and formats.  You will need your Member ID and Password.

The APHA Disability Section is submitting a revised policy on Eliminating Access Barriers in Public Health Meetings (existing policy number Policy Number: 200025; enacted Jan. 1, 2000)) for consideration during the 2012 APHA Annual Meeting (both new and revised policies are now on the same schedule).  This revised policy updates the existing policy by making reference to the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the ICF instead of the ICIDH, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and more recent estimates on the size of the disability population in the United States. 

HHS Announces Development of an Action Plan to End Disabilities Health Disparities

In April, HHS released its plan “HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities A NATION FREE OF DISPARITIES IN HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE.” This plan left out disabilities as a population. Members of the Disability Section of APHA know the people with disabilities experience health disparities in treatment interventions and outcomes compared to people without disabilities. Plus, the Affordable Care Act (health reform law) mentions in detail the need to decrease disability health disparities, improve the quality care, and collect additional health-related data to show the needs of people with disabilities and whether or not they improve over time.
Leaders of the APHA Disability Section were frustrated when they saw this HHS Action Plan. Many had worked on disabilities disparities language to include in the plan, and someone decided not to include that language at the last minute. We expressed our frustration to Henry Claypool Director, HHS Office on Disability, and our contacts in the White House. On July 18, 2011, lead by APHA Disability Section leaders, a group of disabilities disparities stakeholders (self-advocates, researchers, data experts, and disability advocacy group representatives) and the Coalition for Disability Health Equity, met with Dr. Howard Koh, HHS assistant secretary for health, and staff, and  Henry Claypool, director, HHS Office on Disability, and staff. Alison Johnson, of CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Disability, listened on the phone.

We presented Dr. Koh with a huge binder and a CD filled with disability data, including articles and research findings from our section members. At the meeting, Dr. Koh announced his commitment to an action plan to end disabilities disparities. Our group gave input into what we want in the report, including the extensive existing data that shows the disparities we know of, using the same goals to end disparities contained in the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Dr. Koh will give us another opportunity to have additional input into the roadmap for the action plan. There is a short turn around for this report.

In her speech commemorating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, HHS Secretary Sebelius re-affirmed HHS’ commitment as she stated “Recently, our Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Howard Koh, and the Director of our Office on Disability Henry Claypool met with your leadership to discuss health disparities in the disability community. We are committed to confronting these disparities and look forward to working with you on a strategic action plan to guide our efforts going forward.”  Also announced on the anniversary of the ADA, the HHS Advisory Committee on Minority Health released a new report on health equity for minority persons with disabilities, which  can be accessed at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=203

Program Chair Update by Kiyoshi Yamaki, PhD

The 139th APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition is just around the corner. Everything has been finalized, and we are ready to roll!  The following are some highlights of this year’s Disability Section program.


Featured Sessions:

A team of researchers from the Social Security Administration, National Institutes of Health, and Boston University will present their findings from a study that explores a new method to adjudicate disability claims submitted to the Social Security Administration in an oral session tilted, “A New Approach Towards Disability Determination in Social Security Administration (SSA) Programs” (Tuesday, Nov. 1, 10:30 a.m.) (http://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/Session31580.html). 


A session titled “Conceptualizing, Defining and Measuring Disability II: Focus on Children,” will be held on Monday, Oct 30 at 2:30 p.m.  In this session, presenters critically examine existing national and international surveys on children for the variation of disability measurements being used in these surveys (http://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/Session32963.html). 


Another session tilted “Implications of Rehabilitation Research for the Field of Public Health,” will be on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 12:30 p.m. (http://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/Session32964.html).  In this session, representatives from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research will discus their rehabilitation research and its implication on public health as well as a new opportunity for funding for public health researchers. 


Student Orientation/Networking Meeting on Sunday Evening: 

The student session, which the Section initiated last year, will be expanded this year.  The Section recognizes the importance of supporting student members who are interested in the health of persons with disabilities. This meeting, initiated and organized by student members of our Section, is intended to provide a networking opportunity to such students who are currently dispersed across various disciplines and various schools. Disability Section Council members will be present at the meeting to provide guidance about the meeting and the Disability Section.  The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30, the first day of the Annual Meeting. 


Explore sessions organized by other groups:

APHA includes more than 50 Caususes, Forums, Sections and Special Interest Groups. Many sessions sponsored by these groups include papers addressing the health of persons with disabilities similar to those organized by the DIS Section. One such example is “Disability: Inclusivity in Health Education and Promotion,” on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 8:30a.m., a joint session by the Disability Section and the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section (http://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/Session31899.html). If you want to explore disability related presentations from other APHA groups, you can check out the DIS Section online schedule at http://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/DISF.html. Sessions addressing disability related topics, organized by other Sections, SPIGs, Caucuses or Forums, are listed there in italics as “DIS Section Endorsed Sessions.”



Student Section Corner Update

Student Section Corner Update

Vijay Vasudevan, MPH

It is that time of year again, and we wanted to congratulate those students who have graduated and will graduate soon. The Student Council has been hard at work at two main goals: increase the networking opportunities for students and provide a voice for students within the Disability Section and APHA at large. At the APHA Annual Meeting, the Student Council has organized an orientation and networking session on Oct. 30, 2011 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. For students who have never been to APHA, we have arranged an orientation session to help make the Annual Meeting not seem so daunting. This will be followed by a networking session, which will provide students an opportunity to talk with the disability and health leaders directly about topics important to students in the disability field.


The Student Council is here to represent the students of the Disability Section. The student council will be sending out a brief assessment in the near future about what you the student would like to see within the Section and for your future endeavors (ex. networking and publishing opportunities). We look forward to your input.

Section Member News

News from American Association on Health and Disability


American Association on Health and Disability Launches New Publication Entitled “Disability and Public Health in the Media”

AAHD has launched a new weekly electronic newsletter entitled Disability and Public Health in the Media.  You may view archived issues at www.aahd.us.  The weekly issue highlights articles related to disability that have been portrayed in the media over the last week.  To receive this free newsletter, please email contact@aahd.us  


American Association on Health and Disability Academic 2011-2012 Scholarships Available

Academic scholarships are available for students with disabilities majoring in a field related to disability. Funds are limited, and scholarships will be competitive. Scholarships will be limited to under $1,000. The AAHD Board of Directors Scholarship Committee will evaluate each of the applicants and make a decision in December of each calendar year. The 2011 AAHD Scholarship Award will be awarded in January 2012.   Please circulate this announcement to your constituents and colleagues.  The application and criteria are available at  www.aahd.us  under Scholarships. 

News from NCMRR

The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research Presents Panel Discussion at 2011 APHA Annual Meeting with Implications for Public Health Researchers in the Area of Disability


The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH will present a panel discussion on the topic of “Implications of Rehabilitation Research for the Field of Public Health” on Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 12:30 – 2 p.m. in the Washington Convention Center, Room 103A.  This meeting is sponsored by the APHA Disability Section.


The purpose of the Panel  Discussion is to explore the implications of rehabilitation research for public health research and programs, especially as they relate to improving the health and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Chairing the Panel is Dr. Michael Weinrich, director of NCMRR, who will speak about “Rehabilitation Research to Inform Public Health.”  Dr. Louis Quatrano, director of the Behavioral Sciences and Rehabilitation Technologies Branch, will discuss, “Rehabilitation Research and Prevention of Disability and Secondary Conditions.” Following Dr. Quatrano’s talk, Dr. Alan Jette of Boston University will discuss “Rehabilitation Outcomes Research and the NCMRR Boston Contemporary Outcome Measurement Network.”  Dr. Katherine Froehlich-Grobe of the University of Texas School of Public Health will speak about a “Community-based Program for Promoting Exercise for Wheelchair Users.” Finally, Dr. Dawn Ehde of the University of Washington will discuss her research on “Efficacy of Telephone Delivered Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain.”  Sufficient time will be allowed for a question and answer period.


This session will be of interest to public health professionals in research and programs for individuals with disabilities.


News From WHO and World Bank- 2011 World Report on Disability

The World Health Organization and the World Bank presented the first World Report on Disability in June 2011. The following is from their news release:


This report provides the first global estimates of persons with disabilities in 40 years and an overview of the status of disability in the world. New research shows that almost one-fifth of the estimated global total of persons living with disabilities, or between 110-190 million, encounter significant difficulties. The report stresses that few countries have adequate mechanisms in place to respond to the needs of people with disabilities.


"Disability is part of the human condition," says WHO Director-General D.r Margaret Chan. "Almost every one of us will be permanently or temporarily disabled at some point in life. We must do more to break the barriers which segregate people with disabilities, in many cases forcing them to the margins of society."


“Addressing the health, education, employment, and other development needs of people living with disabilities is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals," says Robert B. Zoellick, President of The World Bank Group. “We need to help people with disabilities to gain equitable access to opportunities to participate and contribute to their communities. They have much to offer if given a fair chance to do so.”


Regarding health, education and employment, the report shows that people with disabilities are more than twice as likely to find healthcare provider skills inadequate to meet their needs, and nearly three times more likely to report being denied needed health care. In low-income countries people with disabilities are 50 percent more likely to experience catastrophic health expenditure than non-disabled people. Children with disabilities are less likely to start school than nondisabled children and have lower rates of staying in school. In Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, the employment rate of people with disabilities (44 percent) is slightly over half that for people without disabilities (75 percent).


Welcoming the report, renowned theoretical physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking said, "We have a moral duty to remove the barriers to participation for people with disabilities, and to invest sufficient funding and expertise to unlock their vast potential… It is my hope this century will mark a turning point for inclusion of people with disabilities in the lives of their societies." 


Nearly 150 countries and regional organizations have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and 100 have ratified it, committing them to removing barriers so that people with disabilities may participate fully in their societies. The World Report on Disability, developed with contributions from over 380 experts, will be a key resource for countries implementing the CRPD.  


APHA Announcements

PHACT: Call for Federal Public Health Funds at Work in Your State

In addition to attending town hall meetings this year, APHA would like for you to share a story about why public health funding is important in your community or state. Preferably, the funding would come from one of these three sources:


1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2.  Health Resources and Services Administration

3.  Prevention and Public Health Fund 


Examples can provide: 

    • An approximate estimate of the amount of the funding received
    • Location of the program (city, state)
    • A summary of the program/intervention (PH issue and intervention being used)
    • Any examples of positive outcomes to date

Make all submission to http://www.apha.org/advocacy/tips/stories.htm or email us at phact@apha.org.


Thanks for taking action to protect public health!

Check out APHA’s Advocacy Track at This Year’s Annual Meeting

APHA will host a one-day advocacy track of sessions during the 2011 Annual Meeting in D.C. on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011, and all APHA members are encouraged to attend to sharpen their public health advocacy skills. For more detailed information regarding the particular sessions, refer to the 2011 online program (http://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/start.html ) and enter the session number to see the list of planned speakers and topics to be covered. Attendees will be eligible for CE credit.


·         “Nailing your policy: Creating APHA’s policy buddy system,” Session 3007.0, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.

·         “Media Advocacy: Breaking through the crowded news cycle,” Session 3119.0, 10:30 a.m.

·         “The Who, What & How of Advocacy,” Session 3216.0, 12:30-2 p.m.

·         “Mobilizing a public health campaign,” Session 3318.0, 2:30-4 p.m.

·         “The Role of Social Media in Public Health,” Session 3417.0, 4:30 p.m.


Online Education

APHA is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Drexel University Online. Under this program, APHA members and their families are eligible for special tuition discounts of up to 25 percent when they enroll in any of Drexel’s online courses.  Drexel University Online offers a wide range of courses in a flexible online format, including CEPH-accredited programs in biostatistics and epidemiology. Please see the APHA partnership page for more details (http://www.drexel.com/APHA ).

Any agreement entered into between Drexel University Online and an APHA member, employee or family member, is with Drexel University Online and not with APHA.  APHA does not endorse any products or services displayed or referred to in conjunction with this partnership and is not responsible for the actual content of Drexel University Online programs.


Let APHA Host Your Public Health Career Day at the Annual Meeting.

Employers, this is your opportunity to meet thousands of public health professionals and qualified candidates for hire. Job seekers, here is your chance to market your resume, meet recruiters and sign up for a professional career coaching session, either an individual or group session. Advance your public health career and find new prospects with APHA’s Public Health CareerMart. Find out more  http://www.apha.org/about/careers/am_careers2011.htm.


APHA’s Public Health Buyer’s Guide Links Users to Industry Products
http://publichealthbuyersguide.com  is designed specifically for public health professionals, allowing easy search of vendors from a link on the APHA website’s home page, www.apha.org. Within the Public Health Buyer's Guide, public health professionals will be able to easily locate products and services unique to our industry without the clutter of general Internet search engine results.


Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation

APHA has recently released a list of 10 Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation (http://www.apha.org/advocacy/priorities/issues/transportation/transport_principles.htm ). These policies recognize the various impacts that transportation policies can have on public health — they can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, asthma, obesity and mental health disorders — especially on vulnerable populations, including the elderly, the poor and individuals with disabilities. We believe that if transportation policies are reviewed and evaluated with these principles in mind, we will be better able to ensure that health and equity are well-represented. By holding transportation policies to a stated set of standards, we can encourage a transportation system that supports health, and direct funds to programs that improve health, equity and well-being. It is essential that other organizations — at the national, state and local level — demonstrate their support for these principles by joining us as signatories. Please sign on here: (http://www.apha.org/advocacy/priorities/issues/transportation/form_principles.htm ) to show your organization’s support for these essential principles.



APHA Annual Meeting

From Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, 2011 join us in Washington, DC for the APHA 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition. Our section will have a strong presence at the meeting. View the sessions sponsored by our section by visiting the interactive Online Program (http://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/start.html ). Search the program using keyword, author name or date. Don’t forget to stop by our new Section and SPIG Pavilion (Booth 3073) in the Public Health Expo next to Everything APHA. For more information about the Annual Meeting visit www.apha.org/meetings/AnnualMeeting 


Win a free Annual Meeting registration!
Forward the contact information for new companies or organizations that you would like to see included as exhibitors at the Annual Meeting to Priya Bose, Meetings and Exhibits Coordinator, at priya.bose@apha.org. Anyone submitting a qualified lead for potential new exhibitors will be entered into a drawing for a free full registration. Get to know our exhibitors before the meeting on our Virtual Expo (http://www.expocadweb.com/11apha/ec/forms/attendee/indexTab.aspx )!