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Section Newsletter
Spring 2008

Message from the Chair


In this time of political and economic uncertainty, I suspect that many of you, like me, have been trying to stay attuned, monitoring the forces that may impede the ability of our profession to meaningfully advance the public’s health. These forces include the growing challenges to funding for both public health generally and epidemiologic work specifically, as well as to our field’s ability to maintain, let alone grow, core capacity for public health work. A conversation I had last year with a former professor, a distinguished epidemiologist, highlights one of these challenges. He explained his dismay about a growing trend away from fully funded, “hard money” epidemiologist positions at universities and public health agencies to “soft money,” grant-driven positions. This trend, in his view, has inevitably led to greater proportions of epidemiologists becoming dependent on external funding for their work. This work then often becomes focused more on answering the questions of external funders than on answering the questions raised locally in terms of practical public health or in terms of the body of work within scientific disciplines themselves.


One might ask: What key public issues are ignored when funding, rather than public health needs in our communities, directs our work?   What important public health interventions are not translated to practice because of the lack of funders’ interest in addressing some specific public health needs?


As chair of one of APHA’s largest and oldest sections, let me challenge you, as members of the Epidemiology Section, to continue watching public health over the next months and years and to consider how this Section might be more effective in advancing our profession and defining its relevance. I welcome your comments as letters to the editor or personal comments to our Section leadership.


As one way to continue the conversation, the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) of the Congress of Epidemiology Societies is hosting an invited session at this year’s Annual Meeting in San Diego about the “Future of Epidemiology” on Monday, Oct. 27. We have invited some leading epidemiologists. Please plan on attending that session. More information will be available as the meeting draws closer. I look forward to the coming Annual Meeting in San Diego — one of the first U.S. west coast meetings in several years!




Current Epi. Section Activities


This spring newsletter is the newsletter that bridges the gap between our Annual Meetings, so it will highlight some of our Section activities and news so far this year and tell you more about what is coming up for the annual meeting Oct. 26-29 in San Diego.  


Update on Abstracts Submitted to the Section


Our Section has had an extraordinary response of submitted abstracts to our call for abstracts for the Annual Meeting. Thank you to all abstract reviewers who reviewed the work of peers and students. As of this writing, the Section program committee, led by Dr. Aaron Mendelsohn, has nearly completed its work, organizing our Section’s Annual Meeting sessions, which cover a wide variety of topics. APHA program organizers have recently sent e-mails to notify authors regarding the status of their submitted abstracts. Also, the committee has organized a great array of invited sessions on important public health topics, including several specifically focused on issues related to the theme of the annual meeting, “Public Health Without Borders.” Information about the Epidemiology Section program will be posted within the next few months on APHA’s Web site.


APHA Epidemiology Section Leadership Elections Glitch


In late May, APHA elections notices were e-mailed to all sections’ members asking members to use unique logins to vote for their choices for new leadership openings for next year (Section Councilor and six Section Governing Councilor positions were open). You may have noticed that about a week or more after the first e-mail, APHA sent another e-mail asking members to vote or re-vote, and the voting deadline was extended to the first week of July since not all candidates who had been nominated were listed on the original Web site.


If you have already voted, thank you. If there is still time to vote by the time you receive this newsletter, please do so. Click this link for more information. It is very important that our Section leadership reflect the support of the majority of our membership! In the coming years, Section elections will occur from May to June. Thank you to all of those who stepped up to run for leadership this year. Those of you interested in finding out more about future leadership opportunities, please contact me or any of the other leaders.


Update on Epi. Section Awards and Award Ceremony Scheduling


The three awards groups (Career, Public Health Practice, and Student Awards) of the Section Awards Committee, led overall by Dr. Claudia A Kozinetz, have also been working, and so far we are excited with both nominees and award winners now being selected. The Public Health Practice Awards group, led by Dr. Kristopher P. Fennie, is extending the call for nominations of these awards until July 20 and requests your help identifying both organizations and early career (less than 10 years) individuals who have used epidemiology to make measurable public health impacts.  Please see below the call for nominations for APHA Epidemiology Section Public Health Practice Awards.


This year we are planning on highlighting those winning these distinguished awards in two separate sessions. On Monday, Oct. 27, from 2:30 – 4 p.m., we will have the Career Awards Ceremony, featuring the Wade Hampton Frost Lecture and shorter lectures from other winners. On Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., we will have a combined Student Awards Ceremony and Career Session.  We are hoping that students and our professional colleagues will continue discussions from both sessions by networking and celebrating with Section leadership at the Section Social Tuesday evening (more details coming)!





Looking Ahead


Student Involvement


I want to start with a special plug for students who are interested in getting involved with our Section. In this issue, Section student leaders introduce themselves and tell you how you can get more involved as student members. Please read more below and contact these student leaders!



Upcoming Epi. Section Meetings


For those of you coming to San Diego, please plan on attending one or more Epidemiology Section meetings on Saturday night, Oct. 25; Sunday night, Oct. 26; or bright and early Tuesday morning before the first 8:30 a.m. session. Details about specific times and locations will be available on APHA’s Web site, in our fall newsletter, and at the Section’s Booth in the exhibit area at the conference.


A Change in Scheduling of Awards Ceremonies


I have mentioned this change above already, but want to underline it. Look for two ceremonies this year: (1) Monday, Oct. 27, from 2:30 – 4 p.m.: the Career Awards Ceremony, featuring the Wade Hampton Frost Lecture and shorter lectures from other winners, and (2) Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 10:30 a.m. –12 p.m.: a combined Student Awards Ceremony and Career Session.  So professional colleagues and students, let’s celebrate at both ceremonies — and continue the celebrating and networking at the Tuesday evening Section Social.


Invitation to Contribute to our Newsletter


We are looking for your ideas and contributions for our quarterly newsletter.  If you have an important announcement or would like to briefly highlight some important epidemiologic findings, please contact Mr. Oscar Alleyne.  The next deadline for newsletter items is Sept. 15.

Invitation to Join our Section


If you are not a member of the Section and wish to be, don’t forget, APHA now allows multiple section memberships.  We welcome any colleagues from other sections to also join the Epidemiology Section!


I remain excited about the participation of Section members and leaders, including students, and professional partners from other sections and epidemiology societies, in advancing the mission of our Section.  Looking forward to a great year for the APHA Epidemiology Section!  


Yours truly,

Dr. Jim Gaudino

Chair, Epidemiology Section



Contacts Information for several other section leaders:

(Please check our Web site for a complete list of contacts for Section leaders):


Mr. Elquemedo Oscar Alleyne

Section Secretary and Newsletter Editor


Dr. Kristopher P. Fennie,

Chair, Public Health Practice Award Sub-Committee


Dr. Sonja S. Hutchins,

Chair, Section Policy Committee


Dr. Claudia A Kozinetz,

Chair-Elect, Epidemiology Section and Chair, Section Awards Committee


Dr. Aaron Mendelsohn,

Section Program Chair and Chair, Student Awards Sub-Committee



Dr. Howell C. Sasser,

Governing Counil Whip, Epidemiology Section


Dr. Stanley H. Weiss

Immediate Past Chair, Epidemiology Section  and


For more information about the section, please visit the APHA Epidemiology Section Web page at:


Section newsletters, from Fall 2003 on, are archived & accessible by members at:


2008 Annual Meeting Late Breaker Call for Abstracts

The Epidemiology Section invites the submission of late breaker abstracts related to epidemiology for the 136th APHA Annual Meeting, Oct. 25-29, 2008 in San Diego.  

All abstracts may be submitted through the APHA Web site beginning June 1, 2008.  Please follow the directions on the site.  Abstracts must describe studies completed after the general February 2008 abstract deadline to be considered for presentation.  In addition, abstracts must be 250 words or less with the standard background, methods, results, and discussion sections.  Abstracts submitted without results will not be reviewed.  Studies that are specific to the theme of the conference, “Public Health Without Borders,” will receive highest priority.

Individuals should submit material only if they, or a designee, are committed to presenting the paper or poster.  Preferences for oral versus poster presentation will be considered, but the program committee will make the final determination.  The deadline for late breakers is Friday, July 11, 2008. Decisions will be sent to abstract submitters in mid-August.  If you have any questions, please contact Section Program Planner Aaron Mendelsohn at

There Is Still Time to Vote On Section Elections

Dear APHA Epidemiology Section members,


If you have not voted or re-voted for Epi Section leaders, please do so ASAP.  Please cast your ballot by Thursday, July 3 by 11:59 p.m. EDT -- the extended deadline.


More background:   Because not all candidates for APHA Epidemiology Section leadership were listed on the APHA Election Web site when the election began, corrections were made to the Web site and the deadline extended for our section. 


On May 27, the APHA Elections contractors sent a second e-mail notice to members asking ALL members to vote or re-vote.  You may find this e-mail dated May 27, 2008 in your e-mail in boxes from this source: "Election Services Corporation for APHA".


You will need this e-mail, which will contain the correct Weblink and your unique login information before you can cast your votes.


If you need assistance, please call (866) 720-4357 to speak with an Election Services Co. customer service representative.  In case you need additional assistance, you may contact Fran Atkinson from APHA at: (202) 777-2483


Those of you who voted before May 27 were asked to re-vote because the ballots you used were incomplete.  Thank you.


Yours truly,

Dr. Jim Gaudino

Chair, APHA Epidemiology Section

This Is Public Health

Most people don't realize the impact that public health has on their lives, but there are examples all around you. There are factors that determine your health that you can control, and there are factors that you cannot. It's public health that fights both of those battles. Public health isn't something that matters to someone else – public health is your health.

The "This Is Public Health" campaign is a way for public health students to demonstrate all the ways in which public health improves our lives.

Take a look:


Call for Nominations for Public Health Practice Award

We are seeking nominations for the APHA Epidemiology Section Public Health Practice Award.  There are two awards: One for an individual who is within 10 years of his or her terminal degree, and one for an organization.  To nominate a person or organization, one needs to complete the attached form, and return it to by July 20, 2008, 5:00 pm.

This is an important award that gives the Epidemiology Section a chance to recognize important accomplishments of a person or program with respect to the practice of public health grounded in epidemiologic tradition and soundness.  We  strongly encourage you to think about your colleagues and their work, and nominate those whom you feel are appropriate for this award.


Following is an overview of the Public Health Practice Award:


"The Public Health Practice Award has been designed by the Epidemiology Section in order to recognize the use of epidemiologic methods in an innovative and creative public health program or project.


The award committee will consider both individuals and/or organizations for the award. An individual investigator must be within 10 years of their terminal degree. An organization may have been in existence for any amount of time. Examples of projects that may merit such an award include the improvement of disease surveillance, creative pre- and post-intervention assessments, innovative ways of improving study participation, and/or communication of epidemiologic measures to the participating community.

Projects may also be national in scope, but all projects must demonstrate measurable relevance to improving public health. Awardees will receive a nominal monetary award and an engraved clock.


Our winner of the 2007 Epidemiology Section Public Health Practice Award was the Bureau of Tobacco Control at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Beginning in 2003, the Bureau distributed free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches and provided follow-up counseling to increase rates of smoking cessation. Evaluation results from the first year demonstrated that 87 percednt of those who received NRT attempted to stop smoking after requesting the patch, and about one-third (33 percent) of those reached six months after the giveaway had quit smoking. The project utilized epidemiologic and other outcome measures which allowed them to target efforts to specific populations."


Please feel free to contact Kristopher Fennie by telephone at (203) 785-2057 or by e-mail at if you have questions or concerns.   

Student Leadership Corner

Welcome, students! The Epidemiology Section would like to extend a special welcome to students interested in epidemiology! 


We are excited to serve as your student representatives to the Epidemiology Section this year.  By communicating and advocating for student interests and concerns, we hope to integrate student input and innovation in the development and expansion of the Epidemiology Section.  Here’s is a brief summary about each of your new student representatives as well information about how you can get involved in the Section.


Hello, my name is Xiaoxing (Stella) He, a Section liaison to the APHA Student Assembly. I am really passionate about research and teaching in the area of obesity, cancer control, aging, chronic illness prevention, or health promotion, particularly among women, minorities, and under-served populations. Currently, I am actively involved in worldwide epidemiology studies on cancer and chronic diseases to evaluate the state of treatment and health outcomes. Please feel free to contact me so that we can begin to network and share ideas. My e-mail addresses are: and


Hi, my name is Lisa Oakley. I am getting my MPH in international public health at Oregon State University. I am really excited to have the opportunity to volunteer as a student liaison to the Epidemiology Section. My research has focused mostly sexual health, HIV/AIDS, and STIs in Latinos and older adults. However, I have also been involved in a research project using pet dogs as sentinels for respiratory health as related to air pollution. My perspective to the Epidemiology Section is unique in that I am not focusing my graduate training in epidemiology. Rather, I recognize the value of the information used by this field in all aspects of public health and the importance for students of any track to build epidemiological skills. I am really interested in highlighting the success of students in epidemiology and plan to soon begin a "student snapshot" in the newsletter to highlight student achievements. If you or a fellow student has made a contribution to the field (on any scale) or if you have any questions about the section, please feel free to send me an e-mail at


Hello, my name is Heidi Mortensen. I am currently working toward an MPH via the online program at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to volunteer as a student liaison
for the Epidemiology Section. I am especially looking forward to volunteering with Governing Council work on policy reviews and in the planning of Epi Section activities such as the social event at this year's APHA Annual Meeting.


I'm Hannah Yang, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins.  I received my ScM in epidemiology from Hopkins in 2003, before I participated in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Emerging Leader Program. For my dissertation, I am working on hormones and endometrial cancer, but I am interested in various topics such as women’s health, health care policy, and community health issues. I'd like to promote initiatives that improve student activities within our Section and epidemiology student voices within APHA. I look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions and working with you to promote student involvement in the Section! Please free to e-mail me at

One of our current goals is to create a system of regular communication and response between students in the Epidemiology Section and the Epidemiology Section as well as routine communication between Epidemiology Section students and students in other APHA sections.


How you can get involved:


·      Communicate with your Epidemiology student representatives. Please e-mail us with any questions about the Section or APHA, suggestions for student activities within our Section, and issues you believe need to be addressed within the Section or the Student Assembly.


·      Contribute to the Epidemiology Section's newsletter. Please e-mail us if you have an article idea for the Student Corner. 


·      Volunteer for Section activities. Students are more than welcome to respond to announcements that are sent through the listserv seeking volunteers; these announcements are NOT just reserved for senior level members.


·      Serve as a student shadow to our Governing Councilors. Please see the article in this issue of the Epi Newsletter for details.


·      Attend the Epidemiology Section related events at the APHA 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego:

-          Section business meetings. You maybe introduced to a new mentor and receive great ideas and insights from senior epidemiologists.

-          Combined Student Awards Ceremony and Career Session on Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. We are hoping that students and our professional colleagues will continue discussions by networking and celebrating with Section leadership at the Section Social Tuesday evening (more details coming).

-          Section Social.  A primary purpose of the Section Social is for students to meet and speak with senior epidemiologists in an informal setting. It also serves as a great networking opportunity with your mentor.


We encourage the participation of all students in APHA's Epidemiology Section and ask that you check out the Epidemiology Section Web site at The Epidemiology Section is great opportunity to enhance your educational and professional experiences by exploring the various concentrations in epidemiology, extending your involvement in the APHA-Student Assembly, and meeting and working with epidemiologists in the field of public health.


Welcome, and please feel free to contact any of us!

Submitted by Student Assembly Section Liaisons:
Xiaoxing (Stella) He   

Lisa Oakley                    

Heidi Mortensen          

Hannah Yang                  

Epi Section Solicits Student Participation in GC Shadow Program

Do you want to see public health and epidemiology in action? Do you want to participate in the translation of epidemiology to public health policy? Do you want to learn more about APHA governance? Do you want to get involved with the APHA Epidemiology Section? If so, participation in the APHA Epidemiology Section’s Student “Shadow” program may be for you.


Students selected to participate will “shadow” an Epidemiology Section Governing Council member at the 2008 Council and Epidemiology Section business meetings during the APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego. The Epidemiology Section will cover registration costs for the meeting.

Saturday, October 25th, 3:00-6:00 (election candidates' forum)
Sunday, October 26th, 3:30-6:00 (policy hearings)
Tuesday, October 28th, 9:00-5:00 (policy debate and elections)


What is the APHA Governing Council?

The Governing Council (GC) is a "Congress-like" body composed of elected, volunteer members from APHA Sections, SPIGS and affiliate public health organizations that meets once a year at the APHA Annual Meeting. The GC debates and enacts policy resolutions that guide the development of APHA policy activities during the year, and elects APHA Executive Board members and other volunteer leaders of the organization including the APHA President. During the year, the Executive Board provides more direct oversight of the work of the Executive Director and other APHA staff.


What is it like to be a Governing Council Member?

James A. Gaudino, MD, MS, MPH, summed up his feelings this way, “As a former Governing Council member from the Epidemiology Section (and now Section Chair), a physician and a scientist, I saw my and my fellow councilors' responsibility to make sure that final APHA policies are based on the best scientific evidence available and are ethically sound.” Sarah L. Patrick, MPH, PhD, former Chair for the Epidemiology Section said that, “serving on the Governing Council is a tremendous learning opportunity, plus you can insert epidemiologic evidence into the policies of the organization."


Application Requirements

If you are interested, please send to Howell Sasser via e-mail at or fax (704) 355-1880) the following information by July 15, 2008:

Name, e-mail address and telephone number


Degree program and degree sought

Expected graduation date

APHA Membership Number

A brief statement (No more than 250 words) describing yourself and why you are interested in the program

A letter of support from your graduate advisor

A letter of reference from someone other than your graduate advisor


Selected students will be notified via email no later than Aug. 1, 2008.  A maximum of three students will be selected.


If you would like more information, please contact Howell Sasser via e-mail


Howell Sasser PhD

Update on North American Epidemiology Congress 2011

The APHA Epidemiology Section will be one of the sponsors, along with the American College of Epidemiology and the Society for Epidemiologic Research, of the upcoming 2011 North American Congress of Epidemiology. The third North American Congress will be held June 21-24, 2011 at the Le Centre Sheraton Montreal in Montréal, Québec. This meeting will provide a venue for epidemiologists from all substantive areas to meet together.

Recently, Jonine Bernstein, PhD, and Leslie Bernstein, PhD, were selected as program co-chairs for the 2011 Congress.  Jonine Bernstein is an associate attending epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y., and Leslie Bernstein is director, Department of Cancer Etiology in the Division of Population Sciences at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.

The APHA Epidemiology Section currently has four representatives on the 2011 Congress committee: Jim Gaudino,, Claudia Kozinetz,, John Vena, and Stan Weiss  They will need your input and ideas, and eventually your help, to make this Congress a reality.

Epi Section's Legislative Corner

APHA has expanded the opportunities for all Section members to be informed on pending public health legislation and to be more active as good citizens.  In partnership with CDC Coalition and Friends of HRSA, this year there are five priorities at APHA for congressional attention:

1) FY 09 CDC funding at $7.4 billion;
2) FY 09 HRSA funding at $7.9 billion;
3) Increased focus on prevention in FDA regulation of tobacco;
4) Mental health parity in HR 1424;
5) Increased attention to public health aspects of climate change, e.g., heat stress for vulnerable people and disease rate changes for both infectious vector borne disease and chronic diseases, e.g., asthma, heart and respiratory diseases.

APHA Legislative Affairs staff (202-777-2513) have packets and will make appointments for Hill visits, or you can make an appointment and do home office visits while your members of Congress are on recess.  APHA urges all interested Section membership to make appointments and visits in July and August. Check for details.

Misc. Announcements

Here are a few notable items:


From the International Journal of Epidemiology, an important contribution relating to privacy legislation and its negative impacts on epidemiological research:


Associate Director of Epidemiology opportunity with MedImmune:

  • Will be developing/maintaining  epidemiological data resources for research and projects;
  • Evaluating technical/data component of epidemiology and Phase IV research proposals and provide leadership to clinicians, project teams and other customers;
  • Responsible for evaluating external technical contracts and vendors;
  • Designs database studies with various methodologies and designs employed in Phase IV and epidemiological research;
  • Provide expertise on database resources available for Phase IV and epidemiological research/studies and liaison with parent company (AstraZeneca) as necessary;
  • MS or PhD, looking for about five years Pharma/biotech industry experience.

The position is located at Gaithersburg, Md., facility and does include relocation assistance.