Section Newsletter
Fall 2011

Message from Chair

Dear Section Members,

This issue of the Section’s Newsletter highlights several of the Epidemiology Section’s sessions and activities planned for the 2011 APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  The John Snow, Abraham Lilienfeld and Public Health Practice Awards and Frost Lecture will be presented during a 2:30 p.m. session on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.  Please come and show your support of our Section’s outstanding public health epidemiologists. During the session that follows, the Section will recognize the Student Abstract Awardees and conduct a career panel.  The panel will include epidemiologists with diverse career paths; come learn how they found their dream professional positions.  These two sessions will culminate with a reception; I hope to see you at the reception enjoying the friendship and support of fellow Section members.  Take the time to familiarize yourself with the scientific and special session schedule before you get to the Annual Meeting.  Those attending the meeting for the first time can find the first step into the convention center a bit daunting.  Listing your schedule in advance will allow time to find the rooms for all of sessions on your record and result in a very fulfilling meeting.

Section leadership wants to see and hear from you.  The most effective way to do this is to attend one or all three of the Section’s membership meetings.  The Section’s leadership (Chair, Chair-elect, Past Chair, Secretary, Section Governing Councilors and Section Councilors, Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs) attends each of these three meetings (Saturday, Oct. 29 from 7-9 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 30 from 6-8:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 7-8 a.m.).  The final arguments for the proposed APHA policies, the APHA election slate, and plans for the Section’s next year will be discussed.  We will also present the results from the Section’s recent membership survey; please participate in this discussion and help guide the Section into the future.

Visit with your colleagues at the Section’s booth in the Exhibition Hall.  The Membership and Communications Committee has some special events planned that you will not want to miss out on.  You can pick up all the information you need: 1) location of the Section’s Social; 2) how to Tweet through the meeting and win a special prize; 3) listing of the Epidemiology sessions and more.  

See you in D.C., and have a wonderful meeting,

Claudia Kozinetz, Chair, Epidemiology Section



Membership Survey

Epidemiology Section Membership Survey


The Epidemiology Section conducted a web survey of current Section members during the months of September and October of 2010.  The purpose of the survey was to find out more about our Section members and to provide information that could be used to plan our future Section activities.  A Data Subcommittee of our Membership and Communications Committee analyzed the responses.  


All section members with working emails were sent an initial email and two follow-up invitations to participate in the survey.  The email invitations contained a link to the survey instrument.  A total of 2,411 current members were listed in APHA Epidemiology Current Membership Excel file as of 9/2010; 122 members had invalid emails and could not be reached, leaving 2,289 possible respondents.  There is a possibility that some responses represent duplicates, since the survey was anonymous and everyone received one initial and two follow-up requests. A total of 1,085 responses were received by Oct. 30, 2010 when the survey was closed. The final response rate was 47.4 percent, excluding those with returned e-mails.



Demographics of Survey Respondents

The largest group of respondents (26 percent) was 30-39 year olds, with over 20 percent in the following two age groups (20-29 yrs. and 50-59 yrs).  The majority of respondents (66.8 percent) were female. A little over 60 percent of respondents were “regular” APHA members and approximately 26 percent were student members.  The length of APHA membership ranged from new members (0 years) to those who had been members for 50 years, with a mean of 8.7 years (N=800 respondents).  The length of Epidemiology Section membership ranged from 0 to 50 years, with a mean of 7.1 years (N=795 respondents).


Employer Support

Section members were asked whether, if requested, their employer would pay for APHA membership and Annual Meeting attendance. 20.6 percent reported that their employer would pay for their membership, 15.4 percent said possibly and 47.1 percent indicated that their employer would not pay for membership. 21.8 percent of respondents reported that their current employer would pay for attendance at the annual meeting. Another 33.7 percent said possibly and only 29.6 percent indicated that their employer would not pay for attendance at the Annual Meeting.


Section Benefits


When asked to indicate their perception of the value of APHA membership benefits by rating specific benefits using a 4 point scale ranging from “not at all valuable” to “extremely valuable”, the three items where the largest proportion of respondents chose “extremely valuable” were access to AJPH (52.8 percent), professional networking (48.8 percent), and making presentations at Annual APHA meeting (45.3 percent).


Annual Meeting

Respondents were asked to describe how important specific factors were to them when deciding whether to attend the APHA Annual Meeting, by rating each factor using a 4 point scale ranging from “not at all important” to “extremely important”. The items where the largest proportion of respondents chose “extremely important” were being an author on a presentation/paper (52.4 percent) and employer pays for meeting attendance (49.6 percent).


Only 10.5 percent of respondents (104/991) indicated that, during the past five years, they had attended an Epidemiology Section Business Meeting at the APHA Annual Meeting.  And the majority (84.1 percent) of those who responded to the question about feeling welcome at the meeting (111/132) stated that they felt welcome by the leadership and Section members during these business sessions.  Only 12.1 percent of respondents (124/1029) stated that they attended the Epidemiology Section Social during the past five years. 


Why Renew?

Responses to open-ended questions regarding why members chose to renew their APHA membership and how APHA and the Epidemiology Section could encourage others to join have been analyzed and will be discussed during one of our Epidemiology Section Membership meetings at the Annual Meeting in D.C.  We hope that you will be able to attend our Section Membership Meeting to discuss the results of this survey and to provide us with your ideas about how to encourage greater participation in Section activities. 


Thank you to all who took the time to respond to the survey!


Epi Section Database

Epi Section Database

EPI database 

September 11th

9/11: Ten Years Later

“9/11: Ten Years Later," is the title of an award-winning documentary by brothers Gideon and Jules Naudet, with James Hanlon. First filmed in 2001, the film was updated and aired  on the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 (CBS).  Narrated by actor Robert De Niro, the film follows the firefighters of Engine 7 Ladder 1 located in the TriBeCa area of lower Manhattan as they respond to the attack at the World Trade Center. Ten years later, the documentarians revisit the firehouse and find that some of the firefighters may have either retired or died because of WTC-related illnesses. These heroes  personify the  bravery and selflessness of the estimated 100,000 persons  including first responders, those who searched for the remains of victims, and those who helped to clean up the WTC site known as the "pile." Unfortunately, they also share the illnesses and disabilities that plague other 'first responders,' many of whom are currently subjects of ongoing studies, two of which are briefly described below:

1) While the WTC disaster has been linked to a variety of adverse chronic health sequelae, it has not been determined whether excess mortality has occurred. As such,  Jordan HT, et al, undertook a study {Mortality among survivors of the Sept 11, 2001, World Trade Center disaster, Lancet [2011 Sep 3;378(9794):879-87]}  to determine whether excess mortality had indeed occurred by employing results gleaned from the World Trade Center Health Registry cohort data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). Study participants were categorized as either rescue and recovery workers (including volunteers), or non-rescue and non-recovery participants. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated with New York City rates from 2000-09 as the reference. Within the cohort, proportional hazards were used to examine the relation between a three-tiered WTC-related exposure level (high, intermediate, or low) and total mortality;" 156 deaths were found to have occurred in 13,337  recovery and rescue workers, while there were 634 deaths recorded in 28,593 non-rescue and non-recovery workers. "All-cause SMRs were significantly lower than that expected for rescue and recovery participants  as well as non-rescue and non-recovery participants." However, SMRs for respiratory system, or heart pathology, or hematological malignancies were significantly increased. In non-rescue and non-recovery subjects, both "intermediate and high levels of WTC-related exposure were significantly associated with increased SMRs" v. low exposure.  In contrast, with rescue and recovery study participants, "...the degree of WTC-related exposure was not significantly associated with all-cause mortality." Jordan HT, et al, concluded  their"...study of mortality in a well defined cohort of 9/11 survivors provides a baseline for continued surveillance. Additional follow-up is needed to establish whether these associations persist and whether a similar association over time will occur in rescue and recovery participants."

2) "The New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) is the data collection center for information on deaths of WTC responders, recovery workers and volunteers, regardless of how or why the death occurred." As of June 2010, 836 persons who worked at the WTC site and have subsequently died have been identified; the World Trade Center  Responder Fatality Investigation Program has  collected data for each relevant death comprised of medical records, death certificates, autopsy results, employment records, and WTC exposure information  Confirmed causes of death have been identified in the same manner. At present, the program researchers are analyzing data from the 836 deaths, and comparing these mortality rates  to local and national death rates in order to ascertain whether WTC responders are at greater risk for any specific causes of death.  Conclusions re mortality rates, however, are considered to be "premature" until the study is completed; methodological issues remain regarding the study cohorts.

Annual Meeting

From Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, 2011 join us in Washington, D.C., 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!

Governing Council Opportunities



Epidemiology Section Governing Councilor Development Program

2011 Annual Meeting


Are you interested in learning more about APHA governance and the Governing Council?  Now is your chance! The Governing Council is a Congress-like body composed of elected members from APHA sections, SPIGs and affiliate public health organizations.   Governing Councilors have a vote in the direction and governance of APHA. 


Planning on attending the Annual Meeting?  The Epidemiology Section Governing Councilor Development Program provides the opportunity for interested Section members to actively engage in APHA Governing Council activities during the Annual Meeting.  The Epidemiology Section has 13 Governing Councilors elected by the section membership to serve 2-year terms.   


As part of the Epidemiology Section GC Development Program, members will serve as a Governing Councilor proxy at the APHA Annual Meeting.  No long term commitment needed!  This is a great opportunity to learn more about APHA and the Governing Council, actively participate in the Annual Meeting, and network with some of your fellow epidemiology section members.


As a proxy, you are required to attend Governing Council activities at the Annual Meeting.  This does require a significant time commitment including: 1) a Governing Councilor introductory session Saturday morning; 2) a GC session Saturday afternoon; 3)  a GC brainstorming session Sunday morning, 4) a policy open forum Sunday afternoon; 5) an all-day GC session Tuesday; and 6) optional (strongly encouraged) attendance at the Epidemiology Section business meetings and the Leadership dinner.


Want to learn more?  If you are interested in serving as a GC proxy this year please contact Christine Arcari by email (cmarcari@utmb.edu) and include your contact information, APHA membership number and current CV.


This opportunity comes around only once a year – don’t pass it up!



Epidemiology Section Governing Councilor Shadow Program

2012 Annual Meeting


Attention all student members, the Epidemiology Section GC has something special for you, too, the Epidemiology Section GC Shadow program.  The Epidemiology Section Governing Council Student Shadow program provides the opportunity for students to participate in the translation of epidemiology to public health policy; learn more about APHA governance; and engage with the APHA Epidemiology section.

APHA influences policies and sets priorities on a broad set of issues, including children's health, access to care, environmental health, managed care, public health infrastructure, disease control, health disparities, bioterrorism, international health and tobacco control.



As part of the Epidemiology Section GC Shadow program, students will be actively involved in the APHA policy review and approval process.  Students will be expected to:  1) choose one of four (or more) policy areas (February 2012);  2) read the APHA Public Policy Development Process guidelines (February 2012); 3) discuss the proposed policies and reviews with an assigned Epidemiology Section Governing Councilor (March-April 2012); 4) participate in the Epidemiology Section Leadership conference call during which the proposed policies are discussed (March-April);  5) participate at the Annual Meeting in the public hearings to explore, discuss and debate the proposed policies (Annual Meeting 2012);  6) be present at the policy approval process during the Governing Council (Annual Meeting 2012); and 7) attend the Epidemiology Section meetings and Leadership dinner (Annual Meeting 2012). 


Applications for the Epidemiology Section GC Shadow program are due by Jan. 15, 2012 and students will be notified of acceptance in to the program by February 15, 2012.  Annual Meeting registration will be covered for students accepted in to the Shadow program.


To apply for the Epidemiology Section GC Student Shadow program, please send the following information to Christine Arcari (cmarcari@utmb.edu) :


  1. Name, e-mail address and telephone number
  2. School
  3. Degree program and degree sought
  4. Expected graduation date
  5. APHA membership number
  6. Brief statement (1 page) describing your interest in the GC Shadow program
  7. Letter of support from your advisor
  8. Letter of reference from someone other than your advisor
  9. Current resume or CV





Epi Section and Social Media

Follow the Epidemiology Section on Twitter and Facebook!

The Epidemiology Section has recently developed a Twitter account as another means to keep Section members informed of activities throughout the year, including events during the annual meetings.  For the upcoming 2011 meeting, we plan to tweet about special sessions and activities. To get ready, load up your Twitter phone apps and follow us on Twitter!  Just click on the following command and you will be alerted as we tweet. Come follow us at: http://twitter.com/#!/APHA_Epi  

If you are a first time user of Twitter, you will need to sign up for a free account.  Simply select a user name and password and then confirm the account when prompted.  Afterwards, you may sign into Twitter, click on the abovementioned command to follow the APHA Epidemiology Section, and you are ready to tweet and view the tweets of others.

If you have any questions, please contact Marcia Castano directly on the section’s Facebook page at: Epidemiology Section - APHA. facebook.com.


For Active APHA Members

Proposed Test for Inside Public Health e-newsletter to active APHA members :
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.

Public Health Buyer's Guide

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

Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation

APHA has recently released a list of 10 Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation. 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 to show your organization’s support for these essential principles.

Call for Federal Public Health Funds at Work in Your State

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!

APHA Advocacy Track

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 hone 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Public Health Career Day

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 Midyear Meeting

APHA Midyear Meeting on Implementing Health Reform:  A Public Health Approach, Chicago, June 23-25, 2011


If you’re interested in more information than is contained in this very brief report (including breakout sessions), I encourage you to read the full report at ?? and/or and view videos and slides available at http://apha.confex.com/apha/mid2011/webprogram/start.html


I attended the first APHA midyear meeting as the Epidemiology Section representative and attended all plenary sessions as well as several breakout sessions.  The meeting opened with a rousing session on The Public Health Context of Health Care Reform with speakers on health care reform and how it will relate to prevention.  Celinda Lake (Lake Research Partners) gave a fascinating overview of opinions on health care reform and public health. The public is strongly supportive of prevention and thinks it should be a higher priority. However, the public is divided about personal responsibility for health vs. community responsibility. They like incentives for healthy living but not punishment and had little idea of what constitutes community prevention


Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm was, in my opinion, the most exciting speaker of the conference. She led us through her education in health care. Her take is that vested interests are part of the problem but it’s also that we’re so afraid of government.  This is a uniquely American problem as other countries don’t have this weird aversion to government helping people. We go overseas to fight to install democracy in other countries, but we seem to hate the product of democracy, which is government. We need a heavy dose of citizen activism to prevent damaging cuts to the ACA and to keep Medicare intact. She ended by stating that public health is a form of political, social and economic justice


Seeking Common Ground:  Various Approaches to Improving Population Health consisted of talks with varying viewpoints. Some of the comments were that public health is not the principle target of opposition to ACA but it is in the middle of the bullseye regarding the role of government.  The fate of ACA will be decided on Nov 6, 2012. All agreed that public health and population health is critical and the role of communities is important.  Common ground is not news worthy and while individuals could work out differences, the parties are playing to their respective bases. The public doesn't know the facts and thinks the U.S. health care system is great.


The Friday general session was entitled Putting It All in Perspective:  Public Health, Health Care, and Quality.  Public health is now part of CMS daily conversations, and ACA means they can now hold insurance companies accountable.  CMS wants feedback on what they propose to do which is a three pronged approach - better care for individuals, better health for the population, and reducing costs through improvements, not through withholding care. 


The final plenary, “Where do we go from here?” featured Lawrence Wallack, from Portland State University with an inspiring talk on our challenges. There are more people in poverty than any time since data has been collected. It’s easier to raise strong children than repair broken men. The country is divided into Yoyos (You are on your own) who feel your health is a consequence of your choices and government is just in the way. Then there are the WITTS (We are in this together). WITTS, who have been losing ground since the '70s, think that government provides the basic glue for society and controls market excesses. However, the unintended consequence may be unanticipated dependence on government.  How will we balance individual responsibility with that of state – this is the basic struggle of public health. We believe facts will save the day, but now finding facts matter less than we think, and like an underpowered antibiotic, facts can make situation worse.  We need to make the argument about who we are as a people and why it matters. Our profession is being tested, but we can make a difference!


We ended with a joint luncheon session between the section reps and the state affiliates. There was consensus among the attendees that smaller, regional meetings would be ideal and to keep the same theme of health care reform. There will be a Joint ICS/Affiliates meeting on Oct. 30 at the APHA Annual Meeting to continue the dialogue.


Final thoughts:  It is important that we as epidemiologists follow what’s happening with ACA as initiatives such as meaningful use, comparative effectiveness research, and health outcomes will need our expertise. We can have a major role in designing and evaluating studies, collecting data, interpreting results and in general making sure that the science of public health is included in any decisions made. Thank you for the opportunity to represent the Epidemiology Section.