International Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2011

Message from the Chair

Malcolm Bryant, PhD, E-mail  LinkedIn

Happy New Year to everyone in the IH Section! 


The coming year promises to be both interesting and challenging.  The global health community is making progress towards achieving the MDGs, but it is slow.  Hundreds of millions continue to live in poverty.  Maternal mortality and morbidity rates are unacceptable.  Even areas that are seen as “more successful,” such as child health, reflect millions of preventable deaths.  From the U.S. perspective, the new Global Health Initiative represents an exciting change in the way that U.S. development assistance will be provided, but changes in the political environment cause concerns about whether the Initiative will be fully funded.

These challenges are nothing new to our membership.  We have the skills to respond to issues ranging from infectious diseases to the global human resource crisis, strengthening health systems, and advocating for human rights.  We need to continue to bring our individual skills together effectively so that our combined expertise is brought to bear on our strategic priorities.


The Section will soon complete a five-year strategic plan to provide needed direction.  We will be focusing on three priority areas in the coming year.  Firstly, we will address international health issues with more scientific rigor through our technical working groups and use the evidence base more effectively for advocacy and policy change. Secondly, we will strive to more actively engage our student and young professional members.  Finally, we will explore with our sister sections and state affiliates how to apply our knowledge of health systems and our strategies for improving health in resource poor environments to address the challenges of health reform in domestic settings.


I am looking forward to working with you all in the coming year.

From the Editor

Jessica Keralis, MPH E-mail  LinkedIn  Twitter

It is truly a pleasure for me to present this Winter Issue of the International Health Section Newsletter, my first newsletter as the chair of the Communications Committee.  Eckhard Kleinau nominated me to succeed him the position at the APHA Annual meeting, and, after some reflection, I accepted it.  I look forward to serving you in this capacity and am enthusiastic about the opportunities and challenges that it will present to me for professional growth and development.

We have entered an age in which technology connects people instantly and has made the distance between the sender and receiver of communications irrelevant – these days, it is bandwidth and cell phone reception (and perhaps, to a lesser extent, time zones) that primarily impact conversations.  This also means that there has never been a more exciting time to enter this profession, as mobile technology and social media revolutionize the way we share information and ideas, provide care, and promote health.  However, it is also important to remember that the experience and wisdom of the experts provide a solid foundation upon which to keep building.  New technologies are powerful tools, but the values and the mission remain the same.  I am excited to use these new tools to promote the invaluable information and experiences that our members have to share.


Please feel free to contact me with feedback and responses to the articles that you see here.  Opinions, views, and information published represent the authors and not necessarily APHA or the IH Section or the Editor.


The IH Section and the Student Assembly will elect new officers this spring. Each Section or Student Assembly nominations officer was required to submit a list of candidates to APHA by Feb. 14. In order to be eligible to run for office, the nominee must have been an APHA member as of Feb. 1, 2011. Section elections are usually held via electronic ballot in late spring. Winning candidates will assume their office at the end of the 139th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  More information is available here.  Those interested in running for a Section office should contact Amy Hagopian.  For more information regarding the Student Assembly elections, contact Pooja Bhandari.


The Global Health Expertise Directory is coming!  The Directory Working Group, made up of members from the Global Health Connections Committee, has been working with APHA to create this directory by allowing IH Section members to “opt-in” to have their information included.  Participants will be able to connect with one another to share information and experience and to form mentoring relationships.  Please make sure your APHA profile is up to date!  You can log into your member profile here. Select “Membership Information” from the “About Us” menu at the top left-hand corner of APHA’s website, then scroll down and click on the link that says “Update Member Profile.”


The IH Section has begun hosting topic-focused conference calls every other month.  These calls will provide Section members with an opportunity to listen to a guest speaker or fellow Section member discuss current topics in international health and to ask questions.  Information regarding the call will be posted to the Section website and e-mailed to Section membership.


The APHA Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section is soliciting your best health education, promotion and communication materials for the 21st annual competition. The contest provides a forum to showcase public health materials during the APHA Annual Meeting and recognizes professionals for their hard work.  All winners will be selected by panels of expert judges prior to the 139th APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  A session will be held at the Annual Meeting to recognize winners, during which one representative from the top materials selected in each category will give a presentation about the winning material. Entries will be accepted in three categories: printed materials, electronic materials, and other materials. Entries for the contest are due by March 25, 2011.  Please contact Stephanie Parsons for additional contest entry information.


Registration is now open for APHA’s Midyear Meeting: Implementing Health Reform — A Public Health Approach. Join public health colleagues and partners in Chicago, June 23-25, to better understand the health reform law and its implications from a public health perspective. Gain the tools needed for implementing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and for improving health outcomes in communities across the country. The early-bird registration deadline is April 15. To register or for more information, click here.

Reports from Membership Committees and Working Groups


2011 is sure to be a defining moment in global health policy.  With shifts in U.S. congressional leadership, an increasingly challenging fiscal environment and calls for cuts to federal government spending, our work to advance effective and robust health policy is more important than ever.


The committee is very active on a variety of global health issues including HIV/AIDS; TB; malaria; maternal, newborn, and child health; family planning and reproductive health; health systems strengthening; and non-communicable diseases. Over the next few months, we’ll be coordinating meetings with legislators in key districts across the country as well as supporting a number of advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C,. and around the world.


Your expertise is needed!  To join our efforts, e-mail Jirair Ratevosian, Chair, Advocacy/Policy Committee.



Progress related to planned activities continues on schedule.  With the invaluable help of IH leadership, we have developed a variety of open and invited session topics.  We have many candidates for invited sessions – they will be notified as soon as possible, probably in mid-February, once the ‘open’ sessions are closed.


As in previous years, our program will comprise:

·         Nine poster sessions (10 posters each = 90 posters)

·         41 paper sessions (4-5 papers each = approx. 175 papers)

·         IH Business meetings, two sub-group working group meetings, one workshop, one social, and one lunch

·         IH film festival (three full sessions)


The details of the sessions, including abstract submission, can be found here.  More information on submitting material for the IH film festival can be accessed here.  The deadline for submitting abstracts was Feb. 11, and the IH Film Festival submission deadline is April 1.  Many thanks to the IH Section members for all their input and support, and we look forward to being in touch during the review process.



We thank all volunteers who kindly provided their valuable time to staff the Welcome Booth for International Attendees at the APHA Annual Meeting in Denver in November 2010. The GHCC also thanks Georges Benjamin, Executive Director, T. J. McCabe, Director, Convention Services, and Vina HuLamm, Global Health Coordinator, for making the Welcome Booth a reality for the second year. The Welcome Booth provided the international attendees and the volunteers an excellent opportunity to network and form new friendships.


A team of GHCC members, headed by Jaya Prakash, is working with APHA to develop a Global Health Expertise Directory.  If you are interested in joining this team, please contact Jaya. 


The purpose of GHCC is to facilitate collaboration between IH Section and other Sections, State Affiliates, SPIGs, Caucuses, Forums and Student Assembly within APHA.  GHCC also collaborates with other units within APHA to facilitate joint sessions at the Annual Meeting.  You are cordially invited to join the GHCC. Please contact Gopal Sankaran or Mini Murthy.

International Health - A One-Way Trip?

Teresa Nwachukwu, MD E-mail  LinkedIn


I knew that the International Health Section of APHA was the right place for me when I saw that one of the burning issues for the Section is the challenge of recruiting hard-earned health workers from poorer countries by richer nations. Having registered for the IH Section, I raced around that colossal conference centre in Denver, trying to locate meeting rooms.  As the meetings progressed, I was dismayed to find that “international health” basically meant America sending health, aid, services, materials, people, or whatever to Africa and other resource-poor continents. It seemed to me that poorer countries had nothing to offer the richer nations. 

International health seemed like a one-way trip to these nations with no return visits. The question I asked myself was, does Africa have anything to offer, or has Africa ever given anything, to Europe or America? If so, have these gifts been widely acknowledged? 

Read the rest of this article on the IH blog.

Politicizing our National Health Security

Samir Banoob, MD, DM, DP., PhD E-mail


In 1994, after the Republicans paralyzed the Clinton health reform proposal, I published an article in the Florida Journal of Public Health titled “Reforming health care in the U.S. and Europe: Why we fail and they succeed.” It explained why health reforms succeed in other Western countries with policies of universal access and user-friendly systems. In our case, the Republicans sacrificed health security of all citizens to play the political game of “Repeal the Obama Affordable Health Care Act,” responding to lobbyists and funding from interest groups.  Members of Congress who voted to repeal the law come from the same category of irresponsible politicians who represent special interests that opposed Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for short political gains.


Read the rest of this article on the IH blog.

Cuba Disaster Preparedness: Lessons Learned

Joseph Vargas, MPH E-mail


The California Disaster Medical Services Association, in conjunction with the Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC), provided an opportunity for 17 health care professionals to be part of an exciting research team to examine Cuba's acclaimed public health system, including its renowned disaster preparedness and medical response systems. The research group traveled to Havana, Cuba, in December 2010 for nine full days of lectures, educational presentations and interchange with Cuban medical professionals and public health response teams. Although the United States has not had diplomatic relations with Cuba and travel is restricted, the group was allowed permission under the U.S. Treasury's general license for professional research that includes full-time health and emergency response professionals doing research in Cuba.


Read the rest of this article on the IH blog.

IH Section Archives: Documenting Our History

Ray Martin, PhD E-mail


APHA encourages Sections to document their history and offers some limited support and facilities for Sections wanting to archive their Section histories. The IH Section has recognized the importance of remembering and celebrating its history.


The most notable output of this commitment is the 2003 publication of the manuscript “Growth of International Health - An Analysis and History,” which documents the first 25 years of the IH Section story. This volume, which has been described by APHA leaders as one of the best Section histories, if not the very best, was initiated by Ray Martin, who was IH Section Chair from 2002 to 2004.  It is available on the IH Section website here (PDF document).

At the November 2010 Annual Meeting, Ray was appointed as the Section's official archivist. He will be the Section's liaison to the broader APHA actions to document APHA's history, led by Jay Glasser, and will also be the Section's point person for ensuring that important documents, record, and resources are preserved and archived for future reference and for documenting our Section story.


Our Section has not had an archivist in the past, so we do not have a tradition defining Section policy and strategy for preserving its history. Ray welcomes your thoughts and suggestions. Section leaders and committee leaders with records and documents worth preserving, in hard copy or electronic form, should contact Ray. Between now and the fall APHA Annual Meeting, the Section should develop a formal archiving policy and guidelines. Ray can be reached by e-mail or telephone (703-556-0123).

Evaluation Conference in Mexico

David Fitch, PhD E-mail


“When Will We Ever Learn? Improving Lives through Impact Evaluation” is a 2006 report of the Evaluation Gap Working Group, assembled by the Center for Global Development.  The three-person Evaluation Gap Working Group included Ruth Levine, the current person in charge of evaluation at USAID.  The advisory group included Raj Shah, now USAID administrator.  The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) grew out of this report.  It seeks to improve the lives of poor people in developing nations by summarizing evidence of what works, when, why and for how much.  They, with others, are sponsoring a Conference "Mind the Gap: From Evidence to Policy Impact," in Cuernavaca, Mexico, from June 15 -17, 2011.  More information on 3ie and the conference can be found here.  I would be pleased to communicate with others interested in evaluation.

Member Publications


Rights Based Approaches to Public Health provides a new perspective on addressing public health problems. It is an evidence based and cutting edge approach that provides important insights into solving ethical dilemmas. It is essential reading for anyone interested in ensuring health equity and justice.  Proceeds from the sale of the text go towards the APHA Paul Hunt Scholarship to support student attendance at the APHA Annual Meeting.  More information can be found here.


Beracochea, E., Weinstein, C., & Evans, D. (Eds.). (2010). Rights Based Approaches to Public Health. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.




Keralis, Jessica. November 2010. “Beyond the silence: sexual violence in eastern DRC.” Forced Migration Review 36. English French Audio (English)

Social Media Corner

Many IH Section members share information on international health and related topics through Twitter, blogging and other social media.  Below is a select list of Section members whose blogs or Twitter handles you might find interesting.



§  Health Global, a blog by Gonzalo Bacigalupe

§  An Ounce’s Worth, a public health and prevention blog on Medscape by Jessica Keralis

§  Public Health Portraits in the New Millenium: Mini’s Musings, a  public health blog on Medscape by Padmini Murthy



@jessicakeralis @jratevosian @bacigalupe @ehealthglobalhealth @publichealth (APHA) @globalhealthorg (Global Health Council) @who (World Health Organization)

Opportunities for Students and New Professionals

Below are some fellowship (both in the United States and abroad) and internship opportunities that may be of interest to international health students and entry-level professionals. If you know of any additional programs, please feel free to contact the editor.




§  Allan Rosenfield Global Health Fellowship (CDC): One-year fellowship with the CDC working in international health. Applications are accepted in February and March. Applicants are notified of status in mid-June. Fellowships begin mid-September.  U.S. citizens or permanent residents only.

§  Global Health Fellows Program: Two-year fellowship (with possible extension for to four years) with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Fellowships are in the Global Health Bureau at USAID or in one of the overseas missions. They are at various levels and are announced on an as needed basis. U.S. citizens or permanent residents only.




§  APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government: One-year fellowship with APHA in Washington, D.C. Applications are due April 4, and the fellowship lasts from January to December 2012.  U.S. citizens or permanent residents only.

§  NIH Administrative Fellowship: Two-year fellowship with the NIH in Bethesda, Md. Applications are accepted during the month of March. Phone interviews are conducted in May and June.

§  ASPH Graduate Fellowship Programs: One-year fellowships (with possible extension for a second year) with various federal agencies including the CDC, NHTSA, EPA, and Congress. CDC fellowships are primarily based in Atlanta; NHTSA, EPA, and Public Policy fellowships are in Washington, D.C.  Application periods vary. Fellows for programs are notified in April and May, and most programs begin in the fall.  U.S. citizens or permanent residents only.




§  Doctors Without Borders: Spring, summer, and fall internships offered in New York City. Duration is three months working 20 hours per week at $10/hour. No citizenship requirements, but international candidates must secure their own work permit.

§Global Health Council: Internships offered at various points throughout the year in Washington, D.C. Minimum time commitment is 20 hours per week. A $400/month stipend is offered.  Must be authorized to work in the United States.

§ U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants: Spring, summer, and fall internships offered in Crystal City-Arlington, Va. Minimum commitment is 10 weeks. An $80/month stipend is offered for interns working up to 30 hours/week; $100/month is offered to those who work full-time.

§  Population Services International:  Internships offered at various points throughout the year in Washington, D.C. Positions are paid, but interns generally must work at least 25 hours/week. 

§  Spectrum Communications: Spring, summer and fall internships offered in Washington, D.C. Part-time and full-time paid positions available. 

Get Involved

We would love to see you get involved in the IH Section!  Much of our networking and organization happens during APHA’s Annual Meeting.  Attendance at that meeting is an ideal way to meet Section members and get connected with activities that interest you.  We also encourage you to participate in activities led by committees or working groups.  The best way to learn about these opportunities is to attend the section business meetings at the Annual Meeting, or our mid-year meeting during the NCIH meeting in June in D.C. (registration for NCIH not required to attend). You may also contact the chair of your committee of interest to let that person know that you would like to participate.


Section Officers are elected each year in a Section-wide ballot. Positions include the Section chair, secretary, Section Council members, and Governing Council members.  The Section chair oversees section activities and presides over section meetings.  The secretary records meeting and conference call minutes, disseminates meeting information to leadership.  Section Council members provide input and guidance into Section activities and serve as voting members of the Section Council, along with the chair and secretary.  Governing Councilor members participate and vote in the APHA Governing Council.  All officers participate in Section activities and provide input on Section priorities and goals and are generally members who have been involved for some time in other capacities. Elections are held around May of each year. If you are interested in running for office, please contact Nominations Chair Amy Hagopian.

About the Newsletter

The IH Section Newsletter is published three times per year. Submissions should be about 500 words. You are invited and strongly encouraged to submit material for inclusion in the next issues of the newsletter.  We welcome pieces on your ideas, reflections, experiences, and lessons learned.


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