American Public Health Association
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Section Newsletter
Fall 2006

Message from the Chair


2006 Congress of Epidemiology in Seattle

The Congress was a thorough success, as those of you who were able to attend know first hand.  Plans are in development for another Congress in about five years, and your leadership has committed our Section to once again be one of the primary sponsors. 

Part of the profits from the Congress is being used to support our expanded student support and new awards (see below for details).


National Epidemiology Policy

A new outcome of the Congress is the development of a nascent process to help coordinate policies among the leading organizations which affect us professionally, or where our field needs to weigh in. 

In addition, APHA is now looking for active involvement from its Sections on evolving matters.

We are forming a committee to advance these efforts. If interested, please write to E. Oscar Alleyne, MPH, at, who has agreed to coordinate our efforts in consultation with other members of our Section leadership.  (Please cc me as well.)  Mention particular areas of expertise and of interest.


Annual Meeting - November 2006

We hope to see you at the APHA Annual Meeting. Please introduce yourself!

Most members are familiar with the scientific sessions:  Our Section Program Committee has developed an exciting combination of invited sessions, contributed papers, an expanded set of Poster sessions, and late-breakers.  Please stop by our booth (#117) and pick up a mini-program listing all of our sessions and some special “give-aways.”

We encourage all members to join us at any or all of our Section Business Meetings.  We will have refreshments, and you will discover we are friendly and welcome new and old members to actively participate.  Speak with any of our leadership about your interests, and we will work with you to find ways to contribute to our section and the organization that are mutually beneficial.  If you wish to run for Section office – contact me directly, as I chair our Nominations Committee.  Similarly, if you are interested in representing the Section on any of APHA’s numerous boards and committees (see, contact me so we can discuss putting you forward with Section support. (You can also self-nominate yourself for a leadership position.)

On Monday from 4:30 - 6:00 we have an increasingly expanded Awards Session, where we have special recognitions ranging from our most senior members, the 40- and 50-year members, to the high school students who were the national winners of the Young Epidemiology Scholars program, culminating in a stimulating award lecture (see article for full details).

Save the Date: We are planning a Social for early Tuesday evening, probably 6-8 p.m.  It is being especially geared towards informal interaction in a pleasant session.  It’s a great way to socialize with your peers, meet new friends, get informal advice, and for students a way to get to know some junior and senior epidemiologists at other institutions.  Expect an open bar and food!  Details on the exact time and location (and advance sign-up sheets, as attendance will be limited) will be available at our Section Booth and at our Business Meetings.  Students are warmly encouraged to attend.  By the way, most who came last year (which was the first time we held a social outside of the convention center!) enjoyed it enough to stay the entire time.

Our Section is very active in APHA policy development.  Several of us are currently active members of the Science Board, Action Board, Education Board, and Joint Policy Committee – each of which has key roles in the processes.  In addition, the Section itself and our Governing Councilors in particular establish polices for APHA and for guidance of the Executive Board and the officers.


2006 Public Policy Development Process Overview

The APHA is an effective advocacy organization and scientific resource on policy-related public health issues. Policy at APHA serves as the basis for APHA positions and actions. The Association strives to produce relevant position papers and resolutions that are up-to-date and science/evidence based. Because APHA members are the nation's leading scientific and programmatic experts in public health, membership participation in the policy development process through constituent groups, including Sections is strongly encouraged. (See: for related background information.  You will first need to log in as an APHA member to access these “private” sections of the APHA Web site.) As exponents of the science behind public health, for the last decade members of our Section have been very active participants in the process.  (You may wish to read some of our past Epidemiology Section newsletters – see our archives at:

The best way to begin your participation in the process is to visit, where the latest version of all of the 2006 proposed policy statements are posted. 

The Epidemiology Section has its own coordinated process of review.  Our Governing Council whip, Dr. Howell Sasser, coordinates our Section’s efforts and can be reached via e-mail at:  Specific Epidemiology Section Governing Councilors have been assigned to each of the policies to review them and integrate all comments from Section members.  The Section will discuss these viewpoints on our regular monthly section leadership conference calls and then in person at the APHA Annual Meeting at our Section Business Meeting on Saturday evening.  Finally, written summaries will be presented on behalf of the entire Section at the Open Hearings, held on Sunday afternoon of the Annual Meeting. 

We welcome participation in this process by all APHA members.  If you are a member of the Epidemiology Section, and if you can present well-reasoned arguments, preferably backed by current references, to modify a proposed policy (to improve or change it) or perhaps why it should be rejected, we want to hear your views.  It is much more likely that changes will be accepted by the Joint Policy Committee if recommendations come with documentation and Section support.  Contacting Dr. Sasser in advance is preferred, but, we also welcome you to come and join in our lively discussion and debate at our business meetings.  After the Open Hearings, our Governing Councilors will highlight remaining issues at our other business meetings - and discuss any “late breakers” with the Section, to solicit advice before the Governing Council itself debates.  Generally, our Governing Councilors will then vote en bloc on specific policies; as the second largest Section, our active presence on the Governing Council floor combined with en bloc voting leads to significant impact on the process.  

If you are considering developing and submitting a “late breaker” policy proposal, we strongly encourage you to contact Dr. Sasser in advance of the meeting and to involve our Section.


2006 Consent Calendar for Archiving

In 2003, the Governing Council decided to undertake an annual review of existing APHA policy statements. This year, the Action Board solicited input from all Sections, Affiliates, SPIGs, and Caucuses. A total of 183 policies from 1950-2004 were reviewed ,and 26 have been recommended for archiving.  The history and further details are described at and the policies proposed for archiving are listed therein.  Please take a look.  You may find a policy that you feel strongly about – and if your view differs from the suggested action, please contact Dr. Sasser.



We are actively involved in helping to set policies, such as the issue of credentials for epidemiologists that identify our special skills within the context of various types of roles.   As a result, APHA will be a co-signatory of the draft guidelines that will be issued shortly.  In addition to the Young Epidemiology Scholars Program, we are actively working toward providing mentorship opportunities to students at levels ranging from high school through graduate school, and in stimulating the expansion of the teaching of epidemiologic principles at the junior high and high school levels.  See our last newsletter (Spring 2006) for some of the details.  Please contact Dr. Robin Taylor Wilson at if you wish more information or wish to get involved.

APHA has special educational sessions just prior to the Annual Meeting, organized by the APHA Education Board. If there are sessions you wish to help develop for the 2007 meeting, given the very long lead time needed, NOW is the appropriate time to contact our representative for Continuing Education, Dr. John S. Neuberger, via e-mail at


2006 Epidemiology Section Election Results

APHA has notified us that the following members have won:

Epidemiology - Section Council
Sonja Hutchins, MD, MPH, DrPH
Polly A. Marchbanks, PhD

Governing Council Representatives
Elizabeth Armstrong Bancroft, MD, ScM
Jon Mark Hirshon, MD, MPH
Victor A. Ilegbodu, MPH, PhD, MD
Resa M. Jones, MPH, PhD
Karin A. Rosenblatt, MPH, PhD
Pauline Thomas, MD

Congratulations!  We look forward to your leadership!



·       Dr. Resa M. Jones, our current section secretary and newsletter editor, has won election to the Governing Council. 

·       Effective after this year’s APHA Annual Meeting, Dr. Howell Sasser will become our next section secretary and newsletter editor.

·       Dr. Linda Hazlett will continue as our program planning chair for the 2007 annual meeting

·       Dr. Robin Taylor Wilson is our Governing Council Whip-elect and will serve as our whip for next year.

·       E. Oscar Alleyne, MPH, one of our Section Councilors, is organizing our Section Booth for the 2006 APHA Annual Meeting. Volunteers to help staff the booth are needed (see article later in the newsletter).  You may sign-up in advance or see us at one of our Business Meetings.



APHA Annual Meeting: Section Business Meetings and Social

Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006

Session 126.0       7:00 – 10:00 p.m. 
Epidemiology Section Business Meeting #1

Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006

Session 289.0       6:00 – 9:00 p.m.   
Epidemiology Section Business Meeting #2             

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006

Session 402.0       6:30 – 8:00 a.m.   
Epidemiology Section Business Meeting #3

Section Social      6:00 – 8:00 p.m.   

Epidemiology Social: Get tickets at Booth #117 in Expo Hall


Section Awards Session at APHA Annual Meeting

Help the Epidemiology Section honor its award recipients at the Epidemiology Section Awards Session (Session 3401.0) on Monday, Nov. 6 from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

The John Snow Award recognizes an outstanding epidemiologist for excellence in epidemiologic practice or research and will be presented to José F. Cordero, MD, MPH, newly appointed Dean of the University of Puerto Rico School of Public Health and formerly director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Abraham Lilienfeld Award recognizes excellence in the teaching of epidemiology during the course of a career and will be given to David G. Kleinbaum, PhD, p
rofessor of epidemiology at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health.

The Wade Hampton Frost Lectureship recognizes a person who has made a significant contribution to addressing a public health issue of major importance by applying epidemiologic methods.  This year's Frost Lecture will be delivered by Hugh H. Tilson MD, DrPH, clinical professor of public health leadership and adjunct professor of epidemiology and health policy at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Public Health.


The Ethics, Politics, and Science of Pharmacoepidemiology in a New Era
Pharmacoepidemiology applies the scholarly approaches of epidemiology to the challenges posed by the pharmaceutical and therapeutics sector. This year's Frost lecture will address some of these challenges. The science of pharmacoepidemiology must adapt epidemiologic approaches to comprehend the subtleties of drug exposure and the associated public health issues relating to the outcomes of such exposures, including rare but unacceptable adverse outcomes and the management of risks. Recent controversies resulting from withdrawal of cox-2 inhibiting anti-inflammatory drugs have resulted in calls for reform of the system for monitoring of drug experience including changes in industry, regulatory authority, and clinical medicine. Protecting the integrity of the process is critical for trustworthy application of our science and a subject worthy of Professor Frost.

The Public Health Practice Award for Outstanding Early Career Work and the APHA Student Travel Awards will also be announced at the Awards Session.  Additionally, the National Young Epidemiology Scholar (YES) finalists, Natalia Nazarewicz and Aman Prasad, will be recognized.

Going to Boston? Volunteer at the Section Booth!


Yes! It's that time of year again!

We are looking for Section members who want to experience one of the most exciting moments at the Annual Meeting.  That's right! There is absolutely nothing more rewarding than the adrenaline (non-synthetic of course) and euphoria you will feel from offering your time to act as liaisons and representatives at our Epidemiology Section Booth at this year's APHA meeting in Boston. 


The booth is an important window on the Section and its activities and provides APHA members and non-members alike the opportunity to meet with members of our Section. In addition to recruiting and enticing new members to participate in APHA, we can promote our wondrous field.  We are also looking to repeat the call for the donation of books that we will be able to raffle.

One-hour slots are open for volunteers from:

  • 2:00 – 7:00 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 5
  • 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 6
  • 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7
  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8

Please contact Section Booth Outreach Coordinator Oscar Alleyne via e-mail at and let him know what times will work for you. We are going to galvanize this booth as the hub of epi-vescence and epi-glee and prove to all that this is more than a cohort follow-up folks!

Thanks for all of your support.  See you in Boston!

APHA Annual Meeting Held During Election Day

Remember to register to vote for the upcoming 2006 Election Day this November.  In some states it takes 30 days for your registration to take effect, so please act now before it is too late.  Register for absentee voting if you plan to attend the APHA Annual Meeting in November.  For more information on voting in your state, please visit

Coming Soon: Epidemiology Section Listserv!

As part of the planned upgrade of information technology support to Sections and Special Primary Interest Groups (SPIGs), APHA has begun to contact Section leaders about the availability of APHA-sponsored and -maintained listservs for each Section and SPIG. These listservs will allow members of each Section or SPIG to send messages to other enrollees, post materials on a bulletin board and decide whether they receive notification of new postings as they occur or on a regular schedule.

This upgrade will not only help facilitate timely communication from the Epidemiology Section leadership to members, but it will also enable interaction between Section members.  Section leadership will receive instructions from APHA by the beginning of October 2006.  Stay tuned to your e-mail for more information!

The Quick Guide to Health Literacy

We are pleased to present you with an exciting new resource for public health professionals: The Quick Guide to Health Literacy.  The Quick Guide is produced by the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and is written for health professionals at the national, state, and local levels.  It contains:

  • A basic overview of key health literacy concepts.
  • Techniques for improving health literacy through communication, navigation, knowledge-building, and advocacy.
  • Examples of health literacy best practices.
  • Suggestions for addressing health literacy in your organization.

If you are new to health literacy, the Quick Guide will give you the information you need to become an effective advocate for improved health literacy.  If you are already familiar with the topic, you will find user-friendly, action-oriented materials that can be easily referenced, reproduced, and shared with colleagues.

The Quick Guide to Health Literacy and other tools for improving health literacy can be found at  If you would like to request a hard copy of this resource, or if you have any questions, please contact Stacy Robison at (240) 453-8271 or via e-mail at

Submitted by:

Stacy Robison, MPH, CHES
Health Literacy Fellow
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Department of Health and Human Services
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite LL100
Rockville, MD 20852


Student Opportunity in Environmental Public Health

The Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs, as a lead in the coordinating committee, is happy to present the following opportunity:

National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2006 National Environmental Public Health Conference, Dec. 4-6, 2006

Recognizing Students as Emerging Leaders in Environmental Public Health
Poster Competition


·       Showcase the research accomplishments of outstanding graduate and undergraduate students in the field of environmental public health.

·       Provide networking opportunities for career enhancement.

·       Participate in a state of the art national conference on environmental public health .


·       Electronic submission (e-mail) of an abstract (up to 500 words) that describes the applicant's involvement in a special research project with an explanation of its value toward advancing the field of environmental public health.  The title of the abstract should be limited to 25 words.  The abstract should describe the purpose of the research, the methodology, the analysis, and summarize the results. 

·       Electronic submission (e-mail) of an essay (up to 500 words) that describes the applicant's career aspirations. Submissions must be received by close of business, Friday, Sept. 29, 2006.

·       Applicants will be notified of selections by Oct. 20, 2006. 

·       Submissions must include: the student's name, school and class (e.g., junior, senior, graduate student), anticipated date of graduation and degree, and contact information, including address, telephone number, e-mail address, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty preceptor or mentor (a scanned copy with a signature is acceptable).

·       All entries should be submitted electronically to the attention of Jerry Hershovitz via e-mail at:


·       Professional and Scientific Associates, Inc., a CDC contractor, will contact successful applicants to provide them with information relevant to their poster displays and their travel scholarship. Successful applicants will receive travel and lodging support to attend the conference based on federal travel allowances. 

·       Selections will be made by an application review subcommittee of the NCEH/ATSDR Partners' Conference Planning Committee. 

·       Up to 15 applications will be approved for poster presentations.

·       Selections will be based on the following criteria: originality; quality of the science; relative importance of the research to the field of environmental public health; and judgment of the best essays on career aspirations.

·       Selected students will be required to present their posters and respond to inquiries during designated poster display times.

Alejandra Tres

Executive Director
2632 SE 25th Avenue
, Suite D
Portland, Oregon 97202


Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs


National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council

Call for Proposals - Assuring the Future of Public Health Systems Research

The University of Kentucky College of Public Health has issued a Call for Proposals: "Assuring the Future of Public Health Systems Research."  Ten mini-grants in the amount of $5,000 each will be awarded to junior faculty or individuals within three years of their terminal degree.  Proposed projects must be secondary data analysis using a dataset found in the PHSR subset of the National Library of Medicine’s Health Services and Sciences Research Resources ( and must be completed in 12 months. Proposals must be submitted no later than Friday, Oct. 6, 2006, by 5:00 p.m. EST. For links to the Call for Proposal and the Proposal Application and Instructions, please go to 

If you have any questions, please contact:

Nikki Lawhorn, MPP
Research Assistant
UK College of Public Health
121 Washington St, Rm 101A
Lexington, KY 40536-0003
Phone: (859) 257-5678 ext. 82018
Fax: (859) 257-2821

Global Disease Surveillance Platform Prototype

The occurrence of a seemingly isolated outbreak of an emerging infectious disease in one country can quickly turn into the next pandemic. In the event of a pandemic, we must have a detailed response strategy involving the public and private sectors with appropriate and timely information. Currently, information needed to support early disease detection, disease monitoring, evaluation of control measures, and appropriate response and mitigation is scattered over a wide array of disparate sources and is not shared in a timely manner.

Northrop Grumman has initiated a Global Disease Surveillance Platform (GDSP™) prototype. This platform prototype facilitates rapid communication of information across national and global organizations in order to minimize life-threatening effects of diseases, such as a pandemic influenza. The concept of this platform was initiated in early 2005, and the development is well under way.

We have designed the GDSP™ platform prototype to provide globally responding organizations with real-time access to critical information. Our operational concept demonstrates how interaction could occur in a pandemic flu scenario. The platform combines public health functions and takes into account the life cycle of a disease at the individual, community, regional, and global levels. This is the first global platform that integrates disparate public health information systems. We also have incorporated a visualization process, which provides situational awareness and makes possible real-time analysis and response by enabling users to trace the global movement of disease outbreaks.


The platform will allow for: 

  • Early warning identification within the first 24-48 hours of an outbreak event -- notification necessary to prevent and contain crises;
  • Tracking the spread of a disease outbreak, contact tracing and risk analysis;
  • Making accessible information to coordinators and responders in a unified way to facilitate a coordinated emergency response;
  • Enabling the public health infrastructure at all levels (individual, community,  regional, global) to make recommendations and quickly initiate a response to emergencies of national and global concern.











Submitted by:

Taha A. Kass-Hout, MD, MS

Northrop Grumman Corporation
3375 Northeast EXPY NE
Koger Center/
Harvard Building

Atlanta, GA 30341
(678) 530-3568


Hilary A. Oliphant, MPH
Northrop Grumman Corporation
(770) 488-8193

Massimo Mirabito, MBA
Northrop Grumman Corporation
(678) 538-1746

Sharon Burks, MA
Northrop Grumman Corporation
(678) 538-1749

Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition

Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered by the College Board, the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Program hosts a scholarship competition for high school juniors and seniors and has also developed twenty-six, free, epidemiological teaching units for classroom usage.

The Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition seeks outstanding student research projects that apply epidemiological methods of analysis to health-related issues. Each year, 120 students share as much as $456,000 in college scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.

Students named as finalists at the 2005-06 competition chose research projects focusing on an array of public health topics, including deliberate self-harm among adolescents, exercise and mood, post-traumatic stress disorder and exposure to Hurricane Katrina, underage alcohol consumption and parent perceptions, gum disease in youth, sports-related injuries in female athletes, and hearing loss in high school populations.

The YES Competition has had a significant impact on students’ academic and career plans and many students have inquired about pursuing internships in public health. Approaching its fourth competition year, YES is responding to student inquiries by working on strategies to retain students’ focus and interest in epidemiological studies well after the actual competition. The program seeks to provide information on specific internship opportunities with individuals and organizations across the country. If you are in the field of epidemiology and are interested in having a YES student work for your organization, please contact YES Program Manager Nisha Harinath via e-mail at  <>.

For more information on the YES Program, including the annual competition and the epidemiological teaching units, please visit <>.

Cleaner Diesel Means Cleaner Air

When it comes to conserving energy and improving public health, newer clean diesel technology is helping to make a difference.

Clean diesel is a combination of cleaner fuel, new engines and emissions control technologies.  Likened by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to being as important a public health measure as taking lead out of gasoline, clean diesel will play a leading role in helping cities and states meet new national ambient air quality standards for ozone and particulate matter. Ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, which is 97 percent cleaner than current diesel fuel, arrived in California Sept. 1 and will be available nationwide Oct.15.  New 2007 diesel-powered trucks and buses are the first class of equipment deploying the full clean diesel system. While today’s trucks and buses already produce only one-eighth the tailpipe exhaust compared to those built in 1990, new engines will be even cleaner. A 2007 clean diesel truck will have about 1/60th the level of emissions of one 1988 model truck.

The EPA predicts the change will reduce emissions of smog-forming gases by 2.6 million tons each year and cut soot emissions by 110,000 tons annually trucks once they fully replace the existing fleet.

While clean diesel will first arrive on new trucks and buses in 2007, many other diesel vehicles and equipment will soon benefit as well.

By 2009, both gasoline and diesel cars, pickups and SUVs – regardless of fuel type and engine size – must meet the same stringent emissions standards. In the coming years, consumers can expect to see more diesel options in showrooms and will ultimately benefit from diesel’s greater fuel efficiency (typically 20 to 40 percent more miles per gallon than a comparable gasoline version).

Emissions reductions, on the same magnitude as those occurring for trucks and buses in 2007, will begin for off-road construction and agricultural equipment later this decade.

Many of the same clean diesel technologies developed for new engines can be applied to some older vehicles and equipment. The nationwide availability of clean diesel fuel will help expand opportunities for these clean diesel retrofits.  Simply using the new cleaner fuel in existing diesel engines reduces particulate emissions by about 10 percent (sulfur emitted as sulfate, an aerosol counted as particulate matter).

New clean diesel technology will benefit our environment and improve air quality, which is a critical part of public health and welfare. That’s why groups such as Clean Air Watch, Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council are joining with the diesel community to support the clean diesel revolution.

Find out more information, and references, at

Submitted by:

Allen Schaeffer, MHS
Executive Director
Diesel Technology Forum

Blood Lead Standard — Changes Needed

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention decided against lowering its blood lead “level of concern” standard, which is currently set at ³ 10 mg/dL.  This blood lead “level of concern” is the blood lead level (BLL) at which the CDC recommends intervention actions be taken. However, several recent studies have shown a lead related decline in children’s IQ below this “level of concern.”  One recent longitudinal study concluded that children loose an average of 7.4 IQ points as BLL rise from 1 to 10 mg/dL.  In addition, a large meta-analysis has found lead related intellectual deficits among children with BLL < 7.5 mg/dL.  Finally, the CDC’s own Work Group to the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention concluded in 2004 that the weight of the scientific evidence favored a causal association between blood lead levels below the CDC’s blood lead “level of concern” standard and the loss of IQ in children.  This loss of IQ appears to be irreversible.  

A childhood loss of 7.4 IQ points is a substantial toxic effect.  Substantial toxic effects should not be occurring at BLL below the CDC’s blood lead “level of concern” standard.  The rationale the CDC uses for failing to lower its blood lead “level of concern” lacks merit because: 1) It is not justified from a public health perspective; 2) It is inconsistent with the CDC’s mission statement; 3) It is inconsistent with prior acts of the CDC, and; 4) It misleads health officials by implying that elevated blood lead levels below the CDC blood lead “level of concern” standard are safe for children.  The CDC should substantially lower its current blood lead “level of concern” standard.  Continuing to study this issue while failing to take action, when the weight of the scientific evidence warrants it, is a failure on the part of the CDC to protect young children, who are the most susceptible to lead poisoning and who are the most vulnerable in our population.

Submitted by:

Bryan Wagner, JD, MPH, REHS

Colleen Hughes, RN, PhD

Robert Sobsey, BS, REHS