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Social Work
Section Newsletter
Spring 2009

A Message From the Chair

JeanneDear Section Members and Friends,

Summer is here!  That means two things:  it’s time for a vacation, and the Annual Meeting will be here soon. In fact, today in the mail I received the Advanced Program and Registration materials.  Thanks to Rob Keefe, our program planner, all of you who submitted an abstract and to the reviewers who reviewed them for getting this part of our program developed.  I think we will have a number of great presentations at our sessions in Philadelphia.  There is more information about the Annual Program later in this newsletter. 

This summer we will be planning the receptions/awards session for the Annual Meeting.  In the past, we have funded these events with donations from individuals, schools of social work, agencies and/or organizations.  Donations are needed!  Please see the article later in this newsletter about details on how to make a donation to the Social Work Section Enrichment Account

This edition of the Newsletter also introduces some of the newest leaders of the Section, and provides some Notes from the Field from a public health social worker.  In addition there is information about joining E-communities to share information among our members. 

As always, we are interested in your suggestions for the fall edition of the Newsletter and the Section’s Web site. 

Warm wishes for a relaxing and joyful summer.


Jeanne Saunders, PhD, MSSW, LISW
Chair, SW Section
Associate Professor and MSW Program Director
University of Iowa School of Social Work
308 North Hall
Iowa City, IA  52242

A Message from the Chair Elect

We should be very proud of ourselves as a Section! For the first time in years, we have a strong slate of candidates seeking leadership roles. I encourage you to join me in thanking our candidates for their willingness to serve! You may read our candidates bio-sketches online.

The window for voting will close on June 20.  Reference a May 15 e-mail sent to you from APHA for access to the voting site online. If you have not received the aforementioned e-mail or are having problems accessing the voting site, either telephone (866) 720–4357 or e-mail with access issues. Theora

Your VOTE is important!

Have a great summer!
Theora Evans, PhD, MPH, MSW
APHA Social Work Section
Nomination Chair

Program Planning Update

Hello fellow Social Work Section members.  I am pleased to say that despite the many fiscal problems we are facing in this country, many Section members submitted abstracts for this year’s conference.  Our team of abstract reviewers has once again done a fine job reviewing the many abstracts, and I believe we will again have many fine paper and poster presentations this year.    
RobAs you all know, this year’s conference has been scheduled for Nov. 7–11.  These dates overlap somewhat with the Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education scheduled for Nov. 6  9 in San Antonio.  The APHA central office has been very flexible in allowing our section to schedule sessions, business meetings, and social gatherings for the end of the conference so that presenters and other attendees who need to be in San Antonio can attend both conferences. 
At some time during this summer I will contact Section members whose abstracts have been accepted for presentation to inform them of the date of their presentation and to be sure that the date will not overlap with any commitments they may have to the APM of CSWE.  
We had a very good turnout for last year’s conference in San Diego and I hope the same this year in Philadelphia.  The Philadelphia Marriott will be the host hotel for the Social Work Section.  Your attendance and participation in the annual conference are vital to helping us build a strong and vibrant Section.
I look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia.
With warm regards,
Rob Keefe, Program Planner

News from the Membership Chair

Unfortunately, the economic downturn threatens membership across all organizations. In response, APHA held a conference call for the Committee on Membership (CoM) on April 24, 2009 to get input from Sections on their efforts to promote membership and also to make Membership and Section chairs aware of new membership campaigns APHA has recently launched. The one-hour agenda covered three areas: Kim1) capturing lapsed members and retaining current members; 2) multiple membership option; and 3) creating a membership/marketing toolbox for section leaders and volunteers. A number of creative ideas were discussed. During the 2008 APHA Annual Meeting, a number of attendees visited the Social Work Section booth. Individual e-mail letters were sent to each of them giving them detailed information about the Section and inviting them to become members. Thankfully the Social Work Section membership has remained pretty constant at about 235 members (95 percent of the minimum). We still have much work to do to make sure that the Social Work Section membership increases during this challenging time.

Kim D. Jaffee, PhD

Introducing Our New Student Liaison

AmandaAmanda Horowitz, MSW, is the newest APHA Social Work Section student liaison to the APHA Student Assembly. Currently a student of Boston University's School of Public Health, where she will receive her MPH in January 2010, Amanda is project director for the Center for Addictions Research and Services (CARS) at BU School of Social Work. At CARS Amanda manages evaluation activities for grants funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration and contributes to research on evidence-based practice implemented in community-based, substance abuse treatment organizations. She supervises a team of qualitative interviewers, conducts training for outreach staff, analyzes large data sets and contributes as co-author on published reports, journal articles, and national presentations.  
Prior to coming to Boston, Amanda taught English as a second language in Costa Rica, spent time as case manager for a non-profit alternative day school, and worked on a helpline for a national child sexual abuse prevention organization.  Together, these experiences led her to seek further training in the specific arena of public health social work.  
During her second year internship at BU, Amanda lobbied legislators and advocated for public funding for both family planning and HIV/AIDS services. Her work with the Massachusetts Family Planning Association and Project ABLE (AIDS Budget Legislative Effort) had an immeasurable influence on her career aspirations and helped to synthesize her chosen niche within her two fields of interest - public health and social work.  
Amanda has been a member of APHA since 2006 and at the recent 136th Annual Meeting in San Diego, she presented both a poster on suicide education and training as well as an oral presentation on health provider use among men who have sex with men. Upon completion of her MPH next winter, Amanda plans to further her work and commitment to the field by taking a position combating social inequities with the tools of prevention and health promotion.  

Action Board News

The Bction board is charged with the facilitation and implementation of APHA policies and positions. The mid-year meeting of the Action Board was held May 18-19. The agenda was packed with activities, including orientation of new members, visits to Capitol Hill, committee meeting, and an inspiring overview of APHA priorities by Executive Director Dr. George Benjamin.  The priorities for 2009 are:  

  • Health Care Reform,
  • FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products
  • Increased Funding for Public Health
  • Global Climate Change Legislation
  • Transportation

APHA maintains a comprehensive review of these issues on its Web site.  This is exciting time for social workers to become proactive in advocating for universal health care. Dr. Benjamin emphasized the importance of promoting not only universal coverage but also a mandate to focus on prevention programs. Supporting population-based services that improve health are vital concerns. One example is investing in population-based and community–based prevention, education and outreach programs. Members are encouraged to advocate for an array of public health issues by:

  • Sending letters or call federal legislators;
  • Responding to APHA action alerts;
  • Engaging the media using interviews, press releases or letters to the editors;
  • Offering comments on regulations of importance; and 
  • Participating in public events and rallies.

The Action Board maintains meeting minutes, committee updates and policy review activities on its Web site. Action alerts are forwarded to all social work members via e-mail.  Responding to action alerts is critical to ensuring that legislators address public health concerns.  For more detailed information visit the APHA website or email the the Social Work Action Board representative, Belinda Tate Hardy, at

Philadelphia – November 7 – 11, 2009

The 137th APHA Annual Meeting will be held in Philadelphia from Nov. 7 – 11, 2009. The theme this year is “Water and Public Health” – a topic that affects all of us as we face challenges in protecting, conserving and managing our oceans and fresh water supplies.  

It is not too early to register (online or by mail/fax)  and make plans to attend.  Early bird registration – which saves you money! – ends August 28.  APHA has been very accommodating in scheduling SW Section sessions to facilitate those who must attend CSWE, which is scheduled to begin just prior to APHA.  Please put the Annual Meeting on your calendar – we look forward to seeing everyone in Philadelphia!

Donations Needed!

Donations are needed for the Section’s Enrichment Account.  No donation is too small – or too large.  Funds in this account are used to support “extra” activities of the Section such as receptions at the Annual Meeting and could potentially fund Student Scholarships – a goal the Section has discussed for some time.  Receptions at the conference hotel are always costly but provide a nice setting for networking and honoring awardees; and being able to support students who will become our future Section leaders is important for the long-term strength and stability of the Section. 

Please consider making a personal donation to out Enrichment Account or ask that your agency/school invest in the future of public health social work with a donation.  All donors for receptions at the Annual Meeting are acknowledged in our information materials and at the reception. 

There are a few important details to ensure that the funds are directed to the Section’s account.  There is a form to complete, and the Section’s account number must be noted.  If you are considering making a donation, please contact Chair Jeanne Saunders at for this information.


E-Communities, a discussion board for our Section, is set up and ready to go.  We need you to join a discussion (or discussions) that are of interest to you – and be ready to “discuss”, and share information.   

Five forums have been set up: Action board/Policy forum, Membership, Student Corner, SW Section History, and Leadership,.  More forums can be developed – please let us know your suggestions.   

E-communities is provided by APHA, who along with the chair, chair-elect and Action Board rep, has oversight over the content of the discussions.  This is a forum to share information with a large number of Section members.  Personal message should still be sent via e-mail – or (for those with higher technology skills) other forms of technology.

Notes from the Field: Youth-Led Health Promotion in an Urban Latino Community

By Michele Kelley, ScD, MSW 

In the tradition of activist social group work with youth, engaging adolescents in exploring causes and solutions to persistent health threats to their community can be an effective way to address health disparities.1,2 The Barrio Arts, Culture and Communications Academy (BACCA) in Chicago is positioned to become a leading Latino organization for youth-driven inquiry and action as adolescent participants in this after-school program learn skills in community assessment and intervention and positive peer influence. A recent example of their work involves community-wide messages aimed at their peers and designed to foster positive social norms against underage drinking. Youth learn about the role of school-based surveys in determining access and behaviors regarding community adolescent alcohol use; and then employ graphic arts and other skills to design a social marketing campaign with messages for peers and adults.  

Strategies that directly engage youth as active rather than passive participants in addressing community health issues are becoming a “best practice” in public health.3 Because of their knowledge of the field as well as of adolescent development and community organization, social workers are positioned to further develop the science and evidence that can inform future interventions. The scientific basis includes positive youth development,4 community organization and community building for health,5 sociopolitical development of youth, 6,7 and social constructivism, particularly informed by the late Brazilian educator Paulo Freire.8,9 This approach also fosters community capacity for health improvement because a new generation can be introduced to public health strategies and mentored to increase a diverse “pipeline” for future health professions – a critically important issue to ensure the development of the public health (and of course social work) workforce. Rather than focus on deficit models, the engagement of youth with their creativity and credibility is also a way to promote culturally tailored and sustainable interventions that communities can apply toward other issues that impact well-being of residents.  

BACCA is a program of the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) in Chicago (, and the underage drinking prevention project was funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services as a grant to the PRCC ( The author is a collaborator and friend of the PRCC, assists with program development and serves on this project advisory committee. Another version of this report will be submitted to the newsletter of the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration, where the author serves as chair of the Communications Committee (  


(1) Wallerstein N, Sanchez-Merki V. Freirian praxis in health education: research results from an adolescent prevention program. Health Educ Res. 1994;9(1):105-118.
(2) Delgado M. Youth-Led Health Promotion in Urban Communities: A Community Capacity-Enrichment Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2008.
(3) Bozlak CT, Kelley MA. (In-press).Youth Participation in a Community Campaign to Pass a Clean Indoor Air Ordinance. Health Promot Pract. 2009.
(4) Pittman KJ, Martin S, Yohalem N. Youth Development as a" Big Picture" Public Health Strategy. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice 2006;12:S23.
(5) Minkler M, Wallerstein N. Improving Health through Community Organization and Community Building. In: Minkler M, editor. Community Organizing and Community Building for Health. 2nd ed. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press; 2005. p. 26-50.
(6) Watts RJ, Griffith DM, Abdul-Adil J. Sociopolitical Development as an Antidote for Oppression—Theory and Action. Am.J.Community Psychol. 1999;27(2):255-271.
(7) Ginwright S, Noguera P, Cammarota J, editors. Beyond Resistance! Youth Activism and Community Change. 1st ed. New York:New York: Routledge; 2006.
(8) Wallerstein N, Bernstein E. Empowerment education: Freire's ideas adapted to health education. Health Educ.Q. 1988 Winter;15(4):379-394.
(9) Freire P. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. 30th Anniversary Edition ed. New York: Continuum; 2000.

Looking Ahead

The next issue of the newsletter will be published in mid-September.

Send your

  • Articles
  • Announcements
  • Photos
  • Book Reviews
  • Project Updates
  • News
  • Notes

to the Newsletter Editor!

Jennifer Saunders

Public Health CareerMart -- Over 1,000 jobs listed!

APHA has created the Public Health CareerMart to be the online career resource center in the field of public health.  Here, you’ll find only qualified, industry professionals.

Job seekers, instead of searching through hundreds of sites looking for the perfect jobs in public health, you will find it all at the Public Health CareerMart Career Development Center at .

Employers, instead of being inundated with stacks of unrelated, irrelevant resumes, you’re much more likely to find the candidates with the skills and experience you’re looking for — and spend less time doing it!  After all, where better to find the best public health professionals than the association that represents them? 
Public Health CareerMart  is a member of the National Healthcare Career Network.

Physical Activity SPIG Announces 5K Fun Run/Walk

fun run/walk

While in Philadelphia for the 2009 APHA Annual Meeting, join your colleagues for the 2nd Annual 5K Fun Run/Walk on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 10. The 5K (3.1-mile) route will feature views of the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the steps of which were made famous in the movie Rocky. More information about this activity, including a course map, will be published in the fall newsletters of the Physical Activity SPIG and other Sections and SPIGs and will be made available at the Annual Meeting. In the meantime, please contact Genevieve Dunton ( or Jim Konopack ( with any questions. We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia!

Help Make America the Healthiest Nation in One Generation

Let’s face it – as a nation we’re not nearly as healthy as we should be. Compared to other developed nations, we’re lagging far behind. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With your help, we can make America the healthiest nation in just one generation.

As a central component of this year’s National Public Health Week (NPHW) observance, APHA launched an exciting, new viral video campaign. The Healthiest Nation in One Generation video tells the story of the many ways that public health touches our lives. Nearly 25,000 people have already viewed the video online, and the numbers continue to grow each day. If you haven’t checked out the video, watch it today and be sure to share it with your colleagues, family and friends. And stay informed by visiting – NPHW 2009 is over, but our campaign to make America the healthiest nation in one generation is just beginning…

We all have to do our part. What will you do?

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Manual

APHA is proud to annouce the release of "Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention: A Guide for Public Health Practitioners." This manual provides public health professionals with information, skills and tools needed to conduct screening and brief intervention (SBI) to help at-risk drinkers reduce their alcohol use.  Download the manual for free:

Control of Communicable Diseases Manual

APHA wants to know your opinion on whether you would use an online version of the "Control of Communicable Diseases Manual."  Help us by taking a survey at .  We appreciate your input.

New Book On Disability Studies

"Disability and Public Health," published by APHA, is now available. The publication is an important and overdue contribution to the core curriculum of disability studies in public health education. It is a particularly timely book because, as our nation ages, disability is an increasingly significant interdisciplinary area of study and service domain in public health. Visit the APHA online bookstore at . APHA members can also take advantage of a 30 percent member discount whether ordering online or via our toll-free number, (888) 320-2742.

Five New Reports from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project

Five Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) reports from the HCUP Statistical Brief series have recently been electronically released: Hospitalizations for Brain Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #68); Hospitalizations for Colorectal Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #69);  Hospitalizations for Eating Disorders from 1999 to 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #70); Hospitalizations Related to Childbirth, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #71); and Nationwide Frequency and Costs of Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #72).

Northeast U.S. Has Most Brain Cancer Hospitalizations
People in the Northeastern U.S. are one-third more likely than those in the South or West to be hospitalized for treatment of brain cancer or to have brain cancer when they are hospitalized for another illness or complication, according to the latest report from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
In 2006, about 30 of every 100,000 people in the Northeast were hospitalized with brain cancer. That compares to 23 per 100,000 for people in both the South and West. The rate was slightly higher for people in the Midwest — 25 per 100,000.
AHRQ's analysis also shows that in 2006:

  • Nationally, the hospitalization rate for brain cancer remained stable since 1995 — roughly about 35,000 hospital stays a year.
  • An additional 38,000 hospital admissions were associated with brain cancer — mostly for chemotherapy or radiotherapy to continue treatment, or for convulsions, pneumonia or other complication from the disease. These hospitalizations increased 18 percent since 1995.
  • Among people over 65, men were 62 percent more likely to be hospitalized primarily for brain cancer and 55 percent more likely to be hospitalized with brain cancer as a secondary diagnosis than were women.
  • While 6.2 percent of hospital patients admitted for brain cancer died while hospitalized in 1995, the rate dropped to 4.4 percent in 2006.

These findings are based on data from Hospitalizations for Brain Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #68). The report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

Colorectal Cancer Hospitalization Rates Highest in the Elderly
Two-thirds of hospital stays for colorectal cancer involve Americans age 65 and older, according another recent report from AHRQ.

AHRQ's analysis also shows that when older patients with colorectal cancer are hospitalized not specifically for treating their cancer, the admission is often for complications, such as intestinal blockage or pneumonia.

The colon and rectum make up the lower part of the digestive system. Cancer of the colon and rectum are frequently reported together as colorectal cancer — the third most common type of cancer in the United States for both men and women.
AHRQ's analysis of colorectal cancer hospitalizations, based on 2006 data, found that:

  • Treatment of colorectal cancer as a primary reason for admission accounted for about 152,000 hospitalizations in 2006. About 420,000 additional hospitalizations were for complications associated with cancer, such as pneumonia.
  • About 4.5 percent — 6,800 — of the patients who were admitted for colorectal cancer died while hospitalized. This rate is much higher than the 2.6 percent overall death rate for the approximately 30 million hospital stays for all conditions that year.
  • While the admission rate for people hospitalized primarily for colorectal cancer declined 15 percent between 1995 and 2006, the hospitalization rate for patients who were admitted for other conditions but also had colorectal cancer increased 15 percent.

These findings were based on data from Hospitalizations for Colorectal Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #69), and the report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

Eating Disorders Sending More Americans to the Hospital
The number of men and women hospitalized due to eating disorders that caused anemia, kidney failure, erratic heart rhythms or other problems rose 18 percent between 1999 and 2006, according to the another recentAHRQ report.

AHRQ's analysis also found that between 1999 and 2006:
Hospitalizations for eating disorders rose most sharply for children under 12 years of age — 119 percent. The second steepest rise was for patients ages 45 to 64 — 48 percent.

  • Hospitalizations for men also increased sharply — by 37 percent—but women continued to dominate hospitalizations for eating disorders (89 percent in 2006).
  • Admissions for anorexia, the most common eating disorder, remained relatively stable. People with anorexia typically lose extreme amounts of weight by not eating enough food, over-exercising, self-inducing vomiting, or using laxatives.
  • In contrast, hospitalizations for bulimia declined 7 percent. Bulimia — binge eating followed by purging by vomiting or use of laxatives — can lead to severe dehydration or stomach and intestinal problems.
  • Hospitalizations for less common eating disorders increased 38 percent. Those disorders include pica, an obsession with eating non-edible substances such as clay or plaster, and psychogenic vomiting, which is vomiting caused by anxiety and stress.

These findings were based on data from Hospitalizations for Eating Disorders from 1999 to 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #70), and the report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

Repeat C-Sections Climb by More Than 40 Percent in 10 Years
The percentage of pregnant women undergoing a repeat Cesarean section (C-section) delivery jumped from 65 percent to 90 percent between 1997 and 2006, according to another new AHRQ report.

C-sections are performed for medical reasons and they can be elective. Medical reasons include a previous C-section, malposition of the baby in the uterus, the mother having active genital herpes, the baby's head being too large to pass through the mother's pelvis, or problems with the umbilical cord.
AHRQ also found that:
  • Nearly one-third of the 4.3 million childbirths in 2006 were delivered via C-section, compared with one-fifth in 1997.
  • C-sections are more costly than vaginal deliveries, $4,500 versus $2,600 in deliveries without complications, and $6,100 versus $3,500 in deliveries with complications.
  • Therefore, although C-sections account for 31 percent of all deliveries, they account for 45 percent of all costs associated with delivery.
  • C-sections account for 34 percent of all deliveries by women who are privately insured but only 25 percent of deliveries by women who are uninsured.

These findings are based on data from Hospitalizations Related to Childbirth, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #71). The report also uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

More Than 4 Million Potentially Preventable Admissions Cost Hospitals Nearly $31 Billion
American hospitals spent nearly $31 billion — 10 percent of their total patient care budget — in 2006 on more than 4 million patient stays that could possibly have been prevented with timely and effective ambulatory care, according to another recent AHRQ report.

Hospital inpatient care is the most expensive type of health care. Reducing preventable hospitalizations is one way to lower America's $ 2.2 trillion medical bill.

According to AHRQ's review of the $31 billion spent on potentially preventable hospitalizations:

  • Congestive heart failure and bacterial pneumonia accounted for about half of the expenses — $8.4 and $7.2 billion respectively.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma accounted for roughly 16 percent — $4.9 billion.
  • Diabetes, including complications, accounted for 13 percent — $4.1 billion.
  • A large portion of the potentially preventable hospitalizations involved the elderly. One in five admissions of Medicare patients was potentially preventable, and overall Medicare patients accounted for roughly two-thirds of the $31 billion spent for these hospitalizations.

These findings are based on data from Nationwide Frequency and Costs of Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #72). The report also uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.