Epidemiology
Section Newsletter
Fall 2007

Letter From The Chair

Stanley H. Weiss, MD, FACP, FACE

 We have an exciting program planned for you at the 2007 Annual Meeting.  Please join us for any and all of our business section meetings, and introduce yourself to the officers.  We also have an off-site social planned for Tuesday evening - tickets available from the Epidemiology Section Booth in the Exhibits area, or from one of the Section officers; there is no cost to attend the social.

The Section has become much more involved in policy issues the last 2 years.  As an outgrowth of the 2006 Congress of Epidemiology, a Society of Epidemiologic Societies has been formed, and a Joint Policy Committee.  That has led to the development of joint surveys, one manuscript so far (on HIPAA issues), and a letter to the NIH Director about the importance of epidemiology in the development of future research initiatives.  The first national symposium by this group is being hosted by our Section at the annual meeting – APHA Session # 4129.0 on Tuesday, November 06, 2007: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM, entitled: “Symposium. Protecting Patients and Participants: Does It Matter Whether It's Research or Public Health Practice? (Organized with the Joint Policy Committee, Societies of Epidemiology).”  Some highly relevant practical issues will be discussed, including HIPAA and FERPA.

My term as your Chair ends at this national meeting.  It has been a pleasure to serve you.  We leave the Section in its best fiscal condition ever, having developed a substantial sum of funds, which will roll-over each year unless used, as a result of our efforts in helping to organize and lead the two International Congresses of Epidemiology, in 2001 and in 2006.

 

Special Sessions at AM 2007

Invited Sessions at Upcoming Annual Meeting You Won’t Want to Miss

 

We have several outstanding presentations at the upcoming meeting, which are described briefly below.  Please leave room on your annual meeting schedule to attend these exciting sessions.

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 2007

8:30 AM-10:00 AM  (3029.0) Invited Session: National HIV Behavioral Surveillance among Heterosexuals at High risk of HIV – Reports from Three Sites

This session will discuss implementation and preliminary results from the latest cycle of the CDC National HIV Behavioral (NHBS) Surveillance project. NHBS is designed to gather HIV risk behavior data from three high risk populations: men who have sex with men, injection drug users, and heterosexuals at high risk of acquiring HIV. We will focus on heterosexuals at high risk of acquiring HIV. Our first dilemma was how to describe “heterosexuals at high risk of acquiring HIV” in a way that would allow us to find and sample this population in multiple sites using different sampling methods. Through initial formative work, the population of interest was defined as: heterosexuals living in areas with high rates of HIV and poverty. Thus, this became a project of high risk areas rather than high risk individuals. We used census tract population data and HIV surveillance data to identify census tracts with high rates of poverty and high rates of HIV. Two recruitment methods were selected: venue-based sampling (VBS) and respondent driven sampling (RDS). For each method, there were unique trials and tribulations. We will report on implementation and give preliminary results from RDS in New Orleans post Katrina and from VBS in Baltimore. In addition, we will present preliminary results from RDS in Houston, and discuss how well we achieved our goal of recruiting within our defined high risk areas.

10:30 AM-12:00 PM (3118.0) Invited Session: Sleep from a Public Health Perspective: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, and Implications for Public Health Policy

Despite increasing evidence that sleep disturbance is a risk factor for depression, cardiovascular disease, injuries, and other medical problems, sleep has been largely ignored by the public health community.  To encourage greater public health interest in sleep, an invited symposium entitled, Sleep from a Public Health Perspective:  Epidemiology, Risk Factors and Implications for Public Health Policy, will be presented at the APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Monday, November 5, 2007 from 10:30 to 12:00.  This symposium will summarize the epidemiology of sleep and sleep disorders and the role of sleep as a medical and psychiatric risk factor across the lifespan.  Sleep disturbances and disorders impact a wide range of public health areas including epidemiology, health promotion, mental health, medical care, and injury control, so anyone interested in expanding their public health efforts to include sleep are encouraged to attend.  Public health policy implications such as the need for greater monitoring and surveillance of sleep in national health surveys, initiation and evaluation of health promotion programs to encourage adequate sleep, improved methods for early detection of sleep problems, and modifications to occupational, transportation, and other governmental policies to reduce sleep-related health risks will also be discussed.     

12:30 PM-2:00 PM  (3215.0) Invited Session: The Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition: Inspiring the Next Generation of Public Health Professionals

Attracting promising students to careers as public health professionals is urgent, yet few students entering college are familiar with the fields of public health or epidemiology. To increase awareness and the numbers of students pursuing careers dedicated to improving the health of the public, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the College Board created the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition.

YES is a scholarship and education program designed to expose high school students to the critical field of epidemiology. The program has already attracted a steady and growing stream of bright, interested high school students who have engaged in epidemiological research. Of those surveyed, 64% indicate that their YES experience had an impact on their career plans, and 10% already intend to pursue a Masters of Public Health.

YES seeks to expand the network of public health professionals who would like to get involved with this program. During this session, a panel of presenters will discuss current programmatic activities and future plans to engage more students in public health fields. A leading epidemiologist, who served as a YES Competition judge, will elaborate on the merits of the scholars' work and the implications of the program. YES Scholars will present their award winning research and discuss the impact the Competition had on their academic and career choices. Learn more about being a part of the expanding YES network of public health professionals and others committed to promoting and connecting young people to the fields of public health and epidemiology.

2:30 PM-4:00 PM  (3317.0) Obesity: Prevalence and Risk Factors (Jointly-organized by the Epidemiology & Food and Nutrition Sections)

This timely session will focus on the prevalence and risk factors for obesity in Canada and the United States. Presentations about the prevalence and risk factors for childhood obesity will be followed by a presentation about the possible relationship between maternal smoking and childhood obesity. Other studies estimated the prevalence of obesity in adults using a variety of data sources and the relationship between dietary patterns and obesity.

2:30 PM-4:00 PM (319.0) Invited Session: How Congressional Staffers Translate Research for Policy Makers  (This session is sponsored by the APHA Epidemiology Section and the APHA Executive Ofice)

The last decade has demonstrated widening disparities in a variety of health outcomes, including infant mortality, birth outcomes, treatment outcomes, cancer mortality, and certain chronic and infectious diseases.  Improvements in health policy and legislation could impact these differences.  Increased interaction between scientists, epidemiologists and public health practitioners on the ‘front lines’ and congressional staff and health advocates could help influence policy decisions.  Information overload of policy makers and conflicting approaches may be stalling the development of effective policies that lead to better health outcomes.  The purpose of this session is to educate scientists and public health practitioners about the process of translating science into effective public policy at the state and federal level, and to provide a venue where non-partisan face-to-face communication can occur in an effort to improve public health.  The format will include 5-minute introductory statements by a panel of 1) congressional staffers on the topic of how research is effectively translated into policy in their respective offices, 2) members of the congressional research service, and 3) executive branch policy experts that must bridge the gap between federal and state policy issues.  Congressional staff, Congressional Research Service scientists and executive branch policy experts will provide insight on how scientists can most effectively communicate scientific results in an effort to improve public health policy decisions.  The audience will have the opportunity to engage the panel in an exciting and thought-provoking dialogue.

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2007

8:30 AM-10:00 AM  (4025.0) Invited Session: Improving Research and Policy on Violent Death Prevention through Public Health Surveillance: Findings from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invites you to attend Improving Research and Policy on Violent Death Prevention through Public Health Surveillance:  National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) at the upcoming APHA annual meeting in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, November 6, 2007. The morning session will provide details about the surveillance system and outline how NVDRS data is informing prevention efforts and policies. Presenters will provide examples of how NVDRS can serve as a model for state and local agencies looking to establish timely violence prevention surveillance systems and data driven prevention strategies. For more information, or to register visit the APHA website at www.apha.org/meetings. 

 

12:30 PM-2:00 PM (4128.0) Invited Session: Using Immunization Information Systems for Vaccination Assessment and Programmatic Policy Development

 

 

12:30 PM-2:00 PM (4129.0) Symposium. Protecting Patients and Participants: Does It Matter Whether It's Research or Public Health Practice? (Organized with the Joint Policy Committee, Societies of Epidemiology)

 

 

2:30 PM-4:00 PM  (4216.0) Career Development In Epidemiology

 

2:30 PM-4:00 (4218.0) Invited Session: Time for Change – Alternative Lyme Disease Surveillance in New York State

 

 

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 07, 2007

 

8:30 AM-10:00 AM (5044.0) Invited Session: Delivery, Organization and Financing of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention Services and Their Impact on Racial Ethnic Disparities in STD Morbidity

A sizable number of interventions to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been proven efficacious through randomized controlled trials. Despite the availability of efficacious interventions STD rates remain high particularly among youth, racial ethnic minorities, low socioeconomic status populations and men who have sex with men. Health system issues interfere with effective implementation and scale-up of efficacious STD prevention interventions. This symposium will focus on the relevant health system parameters; describe their influence on the prevention of specific STD including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis and explore the interaction between health system parameters and racial ethnic disparities in these three sexually transmitted diseases.

12:30 PM-2:00 PM (5109.0) Invited Session: Future of Epidemiology - Epidemiology Education in Grades 6-12 – The Epi Ed Movement

Based on the participation in our roundtable discussion at the 2006 APHA Meeting (The Epidemiology Education Movement), this session will focus on the status of epidemiology education in grades 6-12. To do so, a panel of presenters, who have developed epidemiology education curricula and / or programs for grades 6-12, will review the pedagogical rationale, format, content, and students’ responses to their work and engage attendees in portions of selected lessons. These presentations will be followed by a discussion, among the panelists and attendees, of the challenges of infusing epidemiology education into an already packed school curriculum at a time when standardized testing is of increasing importance. Panelists and attendees also will discuss the role of the public health community in pursuing the goals of the Epidemiology Education Movement: The session will conclude by asking attendees to consider working towards achieving these goals.

 

 

 

Epi Societies Working Together

                                                     

 

Working Together for Epidemiology

 

Did you know that a group of the major epidemiology associations have begun to work together?  The APHA Epidemiology Section, the American College of Epidemiology, the Society for Epidemiologic Research, and numerous specialty societies have come together to advance issues that are of importance to all of us.  Among the things that have been on the agenda this year:

 

  • A survey of the members of the major epidemiology societies about the impact of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on their research activities.  The results have been written up as a manuscript, to be published shortly.

 

  • A letter to Dr Elias Zerhouni, Director of the National Institutes of Health, asking that greater attention be given to the inclusion of epidemiologists on grant review panels whenever their presence would be helpful.

 

  • Establishment of a joint policy committee to coordinate a united front on key issues.

 

  • Planning for the 2011 Congress of Epidemiology.

 

  • Initiatives to attract young people into the profession and into the professional societies.

 

If you have an interest in working on joint projects, please contact the Section Chair (Stan Weiss) or Chair-Elect (Jim Gaudino).

Epi Section Social 2007

Epi Section Social

 

Food!

 

Networking!

 

Your future spouse?!!!?!  (What were the odds?)

 

 

Please plan to attend the Epidemiology Section’s social hour at this years APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.  The Social will be on Tuesday, November 6th, from 6:30 to 9:00 PM at La Tasca Tapas Bar and Restaurant.  Food and soft drinks will be provided free of charge, and other beverages can be purchased at a reasonable cost.  So come and spend some time renewing old friendships and maybe make some new ones.  You never know who you’ll meet.

 

For details and directions, check with the Section’s booth in the exhibition hall.

Epi Section Business Meetings at the 2007 Annual Meeting

Epidemiology Section Business Meetings and Awards Ceremony Information for Upcoming Annual Meeting

 

All business meetings, poster sessions, scientific sessions and roundtables will be held in the Washington DC Convention Center.  The business meetings provide an opportunity for you as a section member to have input in Section affairs.  Please try and attend at least one business meeting while you are in Washington.  As an added incentive, we’ll feed you at most of them! 

 

Also, your Awards Committee has worked very hard to put together the awards ceremony which will be held late Monday afternoon.  Please come and honor your fellow epidemiologists.

 

Sat November 3

7-10pm Business meeting   

WCC Room 155

 

Sunday November 4

2-3:15pm Business meeting

WCC Room 155

 

Sunday November 4

7:30-10pm Business meeting

WCC Room 149B

 

Tuesday November 6

0630-0800 Business Meeting

WCC 155

 

Monday November 5

4:30-6:30pm Awards Ceremony

WCC 145A

Call for APHA Members' Advocacy

APHA Members’ Action Needed

 

Do you know who your Representative and Senators are?

 

Have you let them know how you feel about public health issues?

 

If you answered no to either of these questions, now is the time to get involved.  The APHA Action Board encourages APHA members to contact their Members of Congress to let them know that their constituents care about public health and keep track of how they vote on important legislation.  There is usually something relevant to public health working its way through Congress, but even if there isn’t, it is worth the time to get to know the member or members of your Congressperson’s or Senator’s staff who focus on health issues.  Let them know you’re interested, and later, when something major comes up, the groundwork will have been laid. [A note to public employees:  As you probably already know, its important to make sure that your contacts are compliant with the policies governing lobbying.  Check with your agency for full details.]

 

Not sure who to call?  Try this:

 

Surf to www.lwv.org (the website of the League of Women Voters); then

Click on “Take Action”; then

Click on “Find Your Representative”.

 

Thank you for helping to keep public health a public priority!

Call for 2008 Program Planning Help

Looking for a way to get more involved in the Epidemiology Section?  Here could be your chance:

 

Epidemiology Section Program Planning Committee

 

Are you interested in helping plan the Epidemiology Section's sessions for the 2008 APHA meeting in San Diego, CA?  If so, the Epidemiology Program Planning Committee needs you!  Please contact Aaron Mendelsohn at apha_epi@yahoo.com to express your interest and for further details.