Section Newsletter
Winter 2006

Message from the Chair


As your new Section chair, I am pleased to have this first opportunity to formally greet all of you.

The rescheduled APHA Annual Meeting in December 2005 was well attended. The change in venue required considerable work by APHA staff and Section members, but it was pulled off quite successfully. I’d like to personally thank the many volunteers who helped, and in particular those who kept our booth in the Expo Hall so well staffed.

For those of you who made it to the Annual Meeting and whom I met, I hope you will follow up and choose to become active in our Section. You know first hand our Section’s renown for being open and friendly. Our emphasis on increasing student involvement at all levels shall continue. For those who did not attend, or whom I did not get to meet personally – I hope to see you at the Annual Meeting in November 2006 in Boston, if not sooner. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me about how we can improve the Epidemiology Section so that we can serve our members and our profession better.

In 2005, for the first time (or at least first time in the last two decades – as far back as my personal knowledge of Section history takes me) we had a Social off-site. Held at a restaurant very close to the convention center, it was a marvelous opportunity for senior Section leaders to informally meet with students and other Section members. Nearly everyone stayed for a LONG time; the open bar may have contributed. By all accounts, the social was an outstanding success. (A local professional meeting planner helped us organize this seminal event.) Based on the uniformly warm reviews, the Section leadership voted in our January monthly conference call to repeat the off-site social in Boston: please mark Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. on your calendar! (The last Epidemiology Section scientific session on Tuesday ends at 5:30 p.m., so come relax and celebrate.) We are looking for members, and interested students, in the Boston area to work together with the leadership on planning the social. Please contact us if interested in joining this ad hoc committee, or send any ideas and suggestions!

The Awards Session that begins each year on Monday at 4:30 p.m. continues to expand in scope. Our John P. Snow Award remains our official Section award carrying his name, as sanctioned by the John Snow Society in London. The Young Epidemiology Scholars (Y.E.S.) Program has become a regular feature, where we honor the national and regional winners of this high school competition run jointly by the College Board and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Newly inaugurated this year was our Public Health Practice Award; its recipient quickly garnered significant publicity (see http://www.governor.state.nd.us/media/news-releases/2005/12/051223.html).

We remain the second largest APHA section, with about 3,000 members. This also makes us the largest epidemiology organization in North America. (If anyone knows of statistics for organizations outside North America, let us know.)

The Section is actively participating in organizing the June 2006 “Second American Congress of Epidemiology” (see http://www.epicongress2006.org) as one of the three co-equal lead agencies (along with Society for Epidemiologic Research and the American College of Epidemiology). We expect to hold a special mid-year APHA Epidemiology Section business meeting at the 2006 Congress; please check the program and please join us if you are attending the meeting.

Shazia Hussain and Azadeh Tasslimi are our new lead student representatives to the 2006 Congress and the APHA Student Assembly, respectively.

The university that had been hosting our Section Web site recently reorganized its site, and dropped us without notice. Later this year APHA hopes to move all Sections onto a site hosted by the Association. Until that happens, a temporary site is being established by our Section's Immediate Past Chair, Dr. Sarah L. Patrick. One of our new Section Councilors, Dr. Steve Godin, will then be overseeing development of this and future Web sites. A link should exist at <http://www.apha.org/sections/sectwww.htm> by the time you read this.


-Stanley H. Weiss, MD, FACP
Chair, Epidemiology Section
Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health
UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
Department of Qualitative Methods
UMDNJ School of Public Health
(973) 972-4623

2006 Congress of Epidemiology


From June 21 through 24, 2006 in Seattle, the American College of Epidemiology, the American Public Health Association Epidemiology Section and the Society of Epidemiologic Research are jointly sponsoring the 2006 Congress of Epidemiology.  An additional 15 societies are co-sponsoring or supporting this event.  Fourteen societies are presenting symposia highlighting the focus of their expertise, and an additional 23 investigated-initiated symposia will be presented.  Abstracts are being solicited on a wide range of topics for the 23 contributed paper sessions and 1,000 poster presentations.  Thus, the 2006 Congress will truly showcase the breadth of epidemiology.  Special events will include a night at the Seattle Experience Music Project, pre-meeting workshops, a “meet the editor session” and breakfast round tables with leaders in the field.  Please visit the meeting Web site at http://www.epicongress2006.org for the preliminary program, pre-meeting workshops, and to submit abstracts and register for the meeting. 

Important Dates
Feb. 3, 2006       Last date for submission of abstracts
Feb. 17, 2006     Last date for submission of papers for student prize paper
March 17, 2006        Last date for submission of late-breaker abstracts
June 20 -21, 2006      Pre-meeting workshops
June 21-24, 2006       2006 Congress of Epidemiology!

APHA Abstracts: Deadline Approaching and Reviewers Needed

Plans are well under way for the 134th APHA Annual Meeting to be held in Boston, Nov. 4 – 8, 2006. The meeting will be held in the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, which will allow all scientific sessions to be housed under the same roof! The theme for this year’s meeting is “Public Health and Human Rights.” Please make plans now to attend this year’s meeting.


Abstract submissions are now being accepted online (http://apha.org/meetings). Our Section’s abstract submission deadline is midnight Feb. 17, 2006.

Do you have an abstract that might be considered “technology dependent”? This would go above and beyond the need for an LCD projector to include such things as:
• Showing a film, video, DVD requiring special equipment.
• Having a special application that requires demonstrating something interactively such as a database or GIS system or special software application (e.g., a nutrition program that helps people determine their daily intake of fat, calories, etc.).
• Demonstrating a Web site where the speaker needs to go online to demonstrate it.

If you do have a “technology dependent” abstract, you will still submit your abstract to our Section; however, you must indicate so during your abstract submission. For more information on this innovative use of technology at the meeting, click here:

Calling all reviewers

To provide a quality program, we need reviewers to help select the best abstracts for the program. Due to our large volume of submissions, our Section needs approximately 100 reviewers – please consider volunteering your time for this worthwhile endeavor. Abstracts will be available for review around March 1, 2006, at which time you will have two to three weeks to complete your reviews. If you can help, please e-mail me at <apha_epi@yahoo.com> and indicate your area(s) of expertise so we can more closely match abstracts to your areas. Thank you!

News from the APHA Student Assembly

The APHA – Student Assembly would like to announce the new Student Assembly Section Liaison, Azadeh Tasslimi from UMDNJ. She joined the section liaison program at the Annual Meeting in December 2005.

The APHA – SA is dedicated to enhancing students' professional development by providing resources, fostering diversity and promoting opportunities. We encourage the Epidemiology Section to assist us in accomplishing this mission by reaching out to students and providing us with information that students may not receive otherwise. Most recently, the Epidemiology Section gave us information about the 2006 Congress of Epidemiology, which we are publicizing to all students.

Epidemiology Section members are also needed as mentors for the National Mentoring Program (NMP). Online registration for NMP is now available! Students and regular members can go to the APHA Web site (members only section) to sign up at <http://www.apha.org/ppp/mentoring/>.

The goals of this program are to:
• improve the relevance of the academic training that public health students receive;
• increase the professional success and productivity of public health students and professionals; and
• help strengthen the field of public health through the retention and growth of strong and committed members.

National Mentoring Program in Public Health

Registration is open year round. NMP matches mentors and mentees based on the following criteria:
• general area of interest
• specific area of interest
• three rank-ordered mentoring objectives
• vision of an ideal match

Matched participants will be notified as soon as an appropriate match is made and will be invited to participate in the program for one calendar year.

APHA Will Urge Americans to Build Healthier Communities and Raise Healthier Kids During National Public Health Week 2006

The American Public Health Association and hundreds of partner organizations will explore ways that Americans can build healthier communities and healthier kids during National Public Health Week, April 3-9, 2006.

As part of the weeklong observance, communities across the country will consider how buildings, roads, sidewalks and neighborhood design are affecting the health of children. For example, children who live close enough to school to walk often do not because they have no sidewalks to walk on. Air pollution has contributed to higher rates of childhood asthma, and the lack of access to fresh foods and avenues for activity in some neighborhoods has contributed to rising rates of childhood obesity.

During the eleventh annual event, APHA will reach out to policy-makers, public health officials and partner groups across the country to empower them to assess the status of the built environment and children’s health in their communities, identify areas for improvement and implement model programs. APHA will work with select partners to develop a Community Report Card that may be used to evaluate the current state and impact of the built environment on children. The report card will include evaluation of the built environment as it relates to the specific issues of access and equity, physical activity, injury prevention and asthma.

Last year’s National Public Health Week focused on identifying and reducing the barriers that keep older Americans from getting the health care and information they need. More information on National Public Health Week 2005 may be found at <http://www.nphw.org>.

Competencies for Applied Epidemiology: Local, State and Federal Public Health Epidemiologists

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists recognize the critical role of epidemiologists at all levels of public health practice. In January 2004, CDC and CSTE hosted a work force summit to address work force issues affecting public health epidemiologists. Leaders in applied epidemiology were invited to discuss the key work force issues in this field.

Participants strongly supported the need for establishing core competencies for applied epidemiologists. The stated purposes for developing these competencies were: 1) to more clearly define the field of applied epidemiology and provide guidance to practitioners regarding expected competencies; 2) to inform supervisory and personnel systems in governmental public health agencies of expected competencies for staff hiring and to assist in establishing civil service job titles and in the development of “career ladders” for advancement for epidemiologists; and 3) to inform educators and academic institutions of the expected competencies. This competency development process was subsequently identified as a priority for CDC and CSTE.

CDC and CSTE convened an expert panel to define competencies for applied epidemiology for local, state and federal public health epidemiologists. This panel has representation from state and local health agencies, academia, private industry, and from across CDC. The panel, convened by Denise Koo, MD, MPH, from the Office of Workforce and Career Development at CDC, and Matt Boulton, MD, MPH, from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan (Michigan State Epidemiologist representing CSTE at the time), first met October 2004. Gus Birkhead, MD, MPH, of the New York State Department of Health and Kathleen Miner, PhD, MPH, CHES, from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University co-chair the expert panel.

Draft competencies for frontline ("tier 1"), mid-level ("tier 2"), and senior ("tier 3") epidemiologists will be available for comment during February and March 2006.  Competencies on the tier 2 competencies received during the Summer 2005 comment period were considered during development of tier 1 and tier 3 competencies, but final revisions to tier 2 competencies will not be made until after the Winter 2006 comment phase.  Practicing epidemiologists may review the competencies and submit comments through March 31, 2006 at http://www.cste.org.  Individuals and organizations employing applied epidemiologists may submit comments to <competencies@cste.org>>.  All epidemiologists are encouraged to participate, regardless of experience.  Following the review and comment period, the expert panel will consider all information received and revise the competencies for publication.  Questions regarding the competencies or the development process may be submitted to CSTE at .

Get your own copy of the new “E is for Epi” training resource!


E is for Epi: Epidemiology basics for non-epidemiologists is a five-part training series developed by the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness. The CD-ROM and Facilitator’s Guide includes 10 PowerPoint™ presentations with detailed speaker’s notes and guided discussion questions that can be used as a face-to-face training tool, for lunch and learn seminars, or in-service trainings. E is for Epi can also be used for computer-based self-study, allowing learners to earn free continuing education credits from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To request a copy of this FREE resource, contact the NCCPHP via phone at: (919) 843-5561 or e-mail nccphp@unc.edu.

Campylobacter Outbreak from Raw Milk - Larimer County

From the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
Hot Topics In Epidemiology
Jan. 17, 2006 Vol. 6, No. 3

Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) and CDPHE are investigating an outbreak of Campylobacter infections that are probably associated with consumption of raw milk obtained through a cow-share program.

LCDHE noted an unusual number of Campylobacter cases reported during the first week of January 2006. Upon interview, four of five cases reported consuming unpasteurized milk from a Larimer County raw milk dairy. The fifth case's parent denied that the case drinks raw milk, although the family is listed as a shareholder at the dairy.

LCDHE and CDPHE are in the process of contacting all of the dairy's shareholders to identify additional cases and determine potential risk factors. CDPHE and LCHD visited the dairy on Friday, Jan. 13, 2006 and collected milk specimens for testing at the state laboratory.

Confirmed or probable cases have been identified among members of at least seven households to date, although interviewing is ongoing. This represents 26 percent of the 27 households with shares in the dairy. The five lab-confirmed cases range in age from 7 - 44 years; four are female. No cases have been hospitalized. Onset dates range from Dec. 23, 2005 to Jan. 4, 2006, although the case with the latest onset date was a household contact of another case and may be due to secondary transmission.

The sale of raw or unpasteurized milk is not permitted in Colorado, however, cow-share programs are legal. Shareholders purchase a share in a dairy herd and in exchange receive unpasteurized milk. The dairy must register with CPDHE, however, CDPHE does not inspect or regulate these facilities.

109th Congressional Calendar: Second Session

Since 1934, the first session of a Congress convenes on January 3 of odd-numbered years and adjourns on January 3 the following odd-numbered year. For your convenience, use the link provided below to access the 109th Congressional Calendar

Related Files:
2006 Congressional Calendar: 109th Congress

Rema Lapouse Award

Nominations are sought for the 2006 Rema Lapouse Award. Sponsored by APHA’s Mental Health, Epidemiology, and Statistics Sections, this award is granted to an outstanding psychiatric epidemiologist in recognition of “significant contributions to the scientific understanding of the epidemiology and control of mental disorders.” Nominating letters and curriculum vitae may be submitted via e-mail to the Award Committee contact person, Anthony Kouzis, at <akouzis@jhsph.edu>, by March 1, 2006.

University of Minnesota Reception: 2006 Congress of Epidemiology


The Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota (http://www.epi.umn.edu) will host a reception at the North American Congress of Epidemiology in Seattle, WA June 21-25, 2006. Faculty, students, graduates, and individuals interested in the epidemiology research and training programs at the University of Minnesota are encouraged to attend.