Section Newsletter
Spring 2009

News from APHA

Public Health Career Mart 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. Job Seekers, instead of searching through hundreds of sites looking for the perfect jobs in public health, you will find it all at the Public Health CareerMart, Career Development Center at www.apha.org/about/careers


Employers, instead of being inundated with stacks of unrelated, irrelevant resumes, you’re much more likely to find the 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.



Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Manual


APHA is proud to announce the release of "Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention: A Guide for Public Health Practioners." This manul 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: http://www.apha.org/programs/additional/progaddNHTSI.htm


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 www.generationpublichealth.org — 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?


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 at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?m=53858582nfNS699PLteHvg_3d_3d  We appreciate your input.



New Book On Disability Studies


"Disability and Public Health," published by APHA, will be available in June . The 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 is an increasingly significant interdisciplinary area of study and service domain in public health. Visit the APHA online bookstore at www.aphabookstore.org/. APHA members can also take advantage of a 30 percent member discount whether ordering online or via our toll-free number, (888) 320-2742.


Student Committee Update

Preparations for the Annual Meeting have already begun.  Several students from the DisAbility Section submitted abstracts to present at the Annual Meeting.   There were also students who submitted abstracts to the Student Assembly, as well as those who served as reviewers.  Thanks for all your hard work!  DisAbility Section students will be working with the Section’s Accessibility Chairs to offer additional support during peak hours of the Annual Meeting to facilitate accommodations. 


Working with Component Affairs Assistant Jessica Murray, the Section has an up-to-date e-roster of student members.  A Web-based survey was designed and distributed to students to assess what information they would like to receive from the Section, as well as to identify what types of sessions and information will be most useful to them at the Annual Meeting.  The survey will close at the beginning of May, so that Section Leadership will be able to best serve students.  If you missed the survey, we still want your input, so please e-mail Student Liaison Anjali Truitt at atruit3@uic.edu for the link. 

Program Chair Report

The program for the Annual Meeting, to be held Nov. 8-11 in Philadelphia, is now being finalized.  Of the 159 abstracts submitted to the Disability Section, 44 were chosen for oral presentation and 70 for poster presentation.  Highlights of this year's program include an invited panel on disability issues in health care reform, a session on access to health care jointly organized with the Epidemiology Section of APHA, and a session on the intersection of research, advocacy, and public policy.  Other presentations will focus on health and wellness promotion, social participation, the relationship between mental health and disability, personal assistance services, measurement issues, employment, independent living, and emerging topics in disability research.  Poster sessions will address health promotion, access to care, survey analysis and methods, economic and social participation, and other topics.


Based on the exceptionally high quality of the abstracts received this year and the qualifications of the invited speakers, we are anticipating an outstanding line-up of presentations and discussions.  In addition to the formal program, the Chair's Forum, scheduled for 1 p.m. on Nov. 8, will feature presentations and discussions of papers reflecting work-in-progress on a variety of emerging topics. For further information about the 2009 Disability Section Program, please contact Stephen Kaye at steve.kaye@ucsf.edu

Policy Update

The following letter was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin supporting the signing and ratifying of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (CRPD) initiative. The APHA Disability and International Health Sections Advocacy Committee was extremely appreciative of the leadership and collaborative advocacy effort between APHA’s Disability Section led by Suzanne McDermott and the International Health Section’s advocacy committee led by Jirair Ratevosian combined with the facilitative work of the Association’s governmental relations staff member Nicky Bassford. The Disability and International Health Section Advocacy Committee also appreciated the efforts of Don Lollar of the CDC, past chair of the Disability section, for sharing in their vision to bring this policy issue forward for APHA's action as well as acknowledge Jeff Rosen who provided us with consultation as he works diligently in the CRPD advocacy effort both in the United States and internationally.  


March 31, 2009

Hillary Rodham Clinton


U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20520


Dear Secretary Clinton:


On behalf of the American Public Health Association (APHA), I write in support of signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and clearly stating our commitment to the 54 million Americans and 650 million persons globally who have disabilities affecting their full societal inclusion in education, health care, employment, and public and private life. Founded in 1872, APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals and advocates in the world dedicated to promoting and protecting the health of the public and our communities.

The Convention is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and the U.N. opened the Convention for signatures on March 30, 2007. Since then, 137 nations have signed the treaty indicating their intent to ratify and 50 nations have ratified the treaty. The United Nations estimates that when broadly implemented, the Convention will help one quarter of the world’s population because its benefits will flow to both children and adults with disabilities—the ‘poorest of the poor’— as well as to their families.


A recent study commissioned by the National Council on Disability found that the aims of the CRPD are consistent with U.S. disability law and several segments of the treaty were inspired by our substantive disability rights movement. Ratification of the CRPD would reaffirm our commitment to fully implementing U.S. disability law and ensuring that children and adults with disabilities receive the health care, education and training, transportation, and other social services needed to live independently in integrated communities and participate fully in all aspects of life. Additionally, signing and ratifying the CRPD is an opportunity for the U.S. to share best practices with the other nations and identify legal frameworks, capacity building, and reforms that could better address the quality of life, supported decisionmaking and high unemployment rate among persons with disabilities nationally and globally.


We strongly urge the U.S. to join the 50 developed and developing nations that have already ratified the CRPD and demonstrate our clear support for the principles of this landmark civil rights treaty. We look forward to working with you on this and other important public health issues this year.




Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (Emeritus)

Executive Director

Membership Update

The Disability Section membership of APHA stands at 248 as of the end of April 2009. We have been able to maintain a fairly constant number ranging between 245 and 260 over the past year. Approximately 76 percent of the membership are regular members, with 14 percent students and about 5 percent retired. This is a particularly important time to belong to APHA as national issues such as health care reform, emergency preparedness and reinvesting in our public health infrastructure and research capacity are discussed in Washington and around the country. These issues directly impact on the quality of life for persons with disabilities, and the Disability Section is committed to serve as a strong voice in the upcoming debates and discussions.


The Section Executive Committee strongly urges those whose professional and personal interests include health and disability to join APHA and the Disability Section. APHA members can now select multiple sections to which they can belong. Membership is particularly affordable for students with a highly subsidized rate of $60. A Disability Section Newsletter, the American Journal of Public Health and The Nation's Health, reduced registration costs to the Annual APHA meeting are some of the benefits. More importantly you will be joining a community that is fully committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities and integrating the needs people with disabilities into this nation’s overall public health agenda.


For more information on joining APHA and the Disability Section go to: http://www.apha.org/about/membership/ and for specific information on the Disability Section go to: http://www.apha.org/membergroups/sections/aphasections/disability/ . If you have specific questions on joining the Section please contact me, Membership Chair George Jesien, at gjesien@aucd.org

Communications Update

The April, 2009 of the Disability and Health Journal (DHJ) was mailed in early April.  APHA members receive a discount on ($100.00 annually) American Association on Health and Disability membership ( www.aahd.us/membership ), which includes an annual subscription to the peer reviewed journal.  Many APHA Disability Section members have had their research published in the DHJ and we encourage members to submit manuscripts for consideration to www.disabilityandhealthjnl.com .  Guidelines for submission are on the Journal website.


The Communications Committee is charged with keeping our members current on matters pertaining to public health and disability.  We use the Disability Section listserve to quickly communicate with our members.  You should be receiving updates frequently.  If you have not been receiving updates, please send an email to Roberta Carlin at rcarlin@aahd.us.


The next issue of the APHA Disability Section newsletter will be published in late August/early September.  Please send items to be inserted in the newsletter to Roberta Carlin at rcarlin@aahd.us by August 15, 2009.

Awards Committee Update

The deadline for this year’s Disability Section Awards nominations is fast-approaching. Do you know someone who has made a significant contribution to the health and quality of life of people with disabilities?  Now is the time to nominate him or her for one of the 2009 Disability Section Awards. The area of public health that addresses issues of people with disabilities, as well as the field of disability studies, have both advanced substantially through the contributions of many people associated with the Disability Section. Join us in honoring those who have made significant contributions to the field of disability within the context of public health.


The following is a list of awards and nomination criteria:


1. Allan Meyers Award: This award is presented to a person who has combined excellence across the areas of research, teaching and advocacy to improve the health and quality of life for people with disabilities. Nominees are required to be members of the Disability Section of APHA.

2.  Lifetime Achievement Award:  This award is presented to a person who, over the course of his or her career, has made a major contribution to the improvement of health and quality of life for people with disabilities in one or more areas of research, teaching, or advocacy. Nominees are not required to be members of the Disability Section of APHA.

3.  APHA DisAbility Section Student Member Award: This award is presented to a student who has conducted promising work to advance the health and quality of life of people with disabilities. Nominees are not required to be members of the Disability Section of APHA. A one-year Disability Section membership will be included as part of the award.


4.  New Investigator Award: This award recognizes a newer investigator who demonstrates evidence of a promising career in public health research in the area of health and wellness for people with disabilities.


New Investigator Award Eligibility Criteria:

The nominee must have been awarded his or her degree within eight calendar years of the nomination. (For example, for a nomination submitted anytime in 2009, the nominee must have been awarded the degree on or after Jan. 1, 2001.) Evidence documenting a nominee’s successful development as a new investigator must be provided. This evidence must include a minimum of one peer-reviewed publication for which the nominee has taken a substantial role. The nominee must be a member of the APHA Disability Section.


Nomination Instructions:

Please provide a brief description of your nominee’s contributions. You may address importance of the contributions, quality of the work, originality of the contribution as an exemplar, and courage involved. Feel free to use a separate page if needed.  Nominators do not need to be members of the Disability Section. See eligibility criteria for each award listed to determine the nominee’s membership requirements associated with each particular award.


For further information and/or to obtain a nomination form, please contact Awards Committee Chair Jennifer Rowland by email at jenrow@uic.edu. Winners will be given their awards at the 2009 APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia during the Disability Section Business and Awards Meeting on Monday night, Nov. 9, 2009. Past award winners are posted on the Disability Section Web site at www.apha.org.


Accessibility Committee Update

The Accessibility Committee has been progressing toward the APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this November.  Tony Cahill and Catherine Leigh Graham will perform a “walk through” of the convention site prior to the start of the meeting so any remaining accessibility issues can be addressed.  APHA distributes a hotel accessibility survey, prior to the conference, so that hotel staff can report back on their level of accessibility in a multitude of areas.  This information is available on the APHA Web site and can be very important for attendees reserving hotel rooms that are accessible and functional for their specific needs. While we have worked to add a couple of additional questions to the accessibility hotel survey that will be distributed beginning with next year’s conference in Denver, we ask all participants to notify us with any additional accessibility information that would be beneficial to have prior to hotel selection.  APHA hotel staff does receive some disability awareness training prior to the conference.


We now have a call to action.  The conference area that we need assistance with is the Accessibility Desk.  This desk is near the main registration area where attendees can come with accessibility questions.  It is normally staffed by a convention center person who may not be very aware of accessibility issues or the particulars of the APHA conference.  We are calling on the Student Assembly and all others to volunteer a piece of their time to assist at this booth.  The main times when assistance is needed is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday during the conference.  Each volunteer would receive the necessary packet of information to answer basic accessibility questions and whom to call for further answers.


Several others have expressed an interest in assisting with the committee’s efforts:  Bill Scott of Abilities Unlimited, Rie Suzuki of University of Michigan-Flint and Anjali Truitt representing the Student Assembly.  We are encouraged by the interest, and look forward to building the capacity of the Accessibility Committee so that all areas of accessibility can be addressed.  If you have any questions, would like to be a part of the Accessibility Committee or would like to volunteer some time at the conference, please call or e-mail Catherine Leigh Graham (803-434-3189/catherine.graham@uscmed.sc.edu) or Tony Cahill (505-272-2990/acahill@salud.unm.edu).

A Time and Place for Disability in Public Health

Within the past year, Disability has been transformed from a small, esoteric group of professionals into a thriving and highly visible Section. Our new status has provided us with a seat at the table of public health, where we now have the opportunity to participate in a much more dynamic and interactive way on major issues related to public policy, human rights, education and health care reform. In our 20-year journey from a special interest group to a Section, we have arrived at a good place.

As one of the elite 25 in APHA (Sections, that is), we’re now closer to the action. We get to hear what other Section leaders are doing to advance their own agendas, and we get to share our agenda with other leaders in public health. This gives us unprecedented breadth and scope to advance the rights of people with disabilities, and to ensure that disability has a place at the table on every major issue that comes out of public health.

What is so interesting about our transformation is that it is happening within an organization that has spent most of its years on prevention; yes, prevention of disease and disability. Terms such as ‘disability-adjusted life years’ (or DALYs) and ‘disability prevention’ are found in every public health textbook and journal from here to eternity. We now know that these terms are counterproductive to promoting health among people with disabilities because it leaves many public health professionals with the impression that disability is not their responsibility; that’s someone else’s job.  But what we have learned from this culture of apathy is that it does great harm to under-served groups by displacing them from their own community.  People with disabilities have very high levels of unemployment, live in complex social and physical environments, and have much poorer health compared to the general population. 

Every section in APHA has a responsibility to bring disability into the mainstream of public health. Medicine must advocate for health care reform that includes assistive technologies for people with disabilities; accessible medical equipment in all hospitals and offices including exam tables and mammograms; and training methods in medical schools that provide physicians with the knowledge and skills to provide better care to their patients with disabilities. Epidemiology must support the inclusion of people with disabilities in more population-based data sets; help create a universal definition of disability; and provide new strategies for analyzing data on small samples. The Environment Section must increase their awareness of the enormous health disparities reported among people with disabilities related to the insurmountable barriers associated with the built environment; develop universally designed instruments that reflect the needs of every member of a community; and help shape national environmental health and protection policies that include people with disabilities.  Public Health Education and Health Promotion should promote training materials in accessible formats (which have been developed by professionals in disability) that are relevant to people with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities; encourage schools of public health to include disability-related content in their curriculums; and engage community service providers in promoting health among all members of their community, including people with disabilities.  Every Section in APHA has a role to play in integrating disability-related issues into their long range plan. 

The Disability Section’s mission is to ensure that all areas of public health represent people with disabilities. We need the help of every Section leader to achieve this goal.