Social Work
Section Newsletter
Winter 2010

Greetings from the Chair

Theora Evans, ChairAs I begin my tenure as chair of the Social Work Section of APHA; I am forced to reflect on the Section’s past; and its current role within the larger organization.  Acknowledgement of our past will occur this fall as we celebrate our 40th anniversary as a Section. I had the privilege of spending a day in the APHA archives reviewing Social Work Section content. Reading Section meeting minutes was enlightening.  To see the names of former Section members was invigorating; I recognized many and more importantly I have admired some. Over the course of the next year, we hope to recognize former Section members who have paved our way.

We are basking in the first blushes of APHA’s revitalization as well as our own. The Association is restructuring its “brand/identity” and thereby encouraging our section along with others to rethink our role and purpose.  It is an exhilarating time, and our members are responding to this high energy growth environment. Our active members are generating innovative approaches for partnering with other sections; we are funding research presentations of student scholars; we have plans to publish evidence-based work of academic and community-based social workers; and we are strategizing ways to bring the voices of more practitioners to the Section.

The foundation for the Section’s revitalization and structure was laid during my predecessor’s leadership. Dr. Jeanne Saunders encouraged an environment that allowed ideas to flourish.  And is often the case, with ideas come new faces seeking to work and be a part of a growing movement. Thanks, Jeanne. I hope I can continue to inspire our growth during the next leadership period.  I look so forward to having your continued input and that of our new leadership team as well as the assistance of those of you who pay dues but have remained silent in the past.

This year is the Social Work Section’s opportunity to celebrate its 40th anniversary, and to actively demonstrate our practice knowledge/skills and research during this year’s APHA Annual Meeting. The theme, Social Justice: Public Health Imperative will be the mantra in Denver. between Nov. 6 and 10; I encourage you to meet us there! Given the theme of the upcoming meeting, the Social Work Section will not only celebrate, but will generate discourse as we bring the concept of social justice to life!

Theora Evans, PhD, MPH, MSW
Section Chair

A Few Words from the Chair Elect

Dear Social Work Section members: Rob Keefe, Chair Elect

Let me first say how pleased I am to serve as your chair elect and to have the opportunity to work with so many wonderful public health social workers as well as members from our fellow APHA sections.

As we embark on the year ahead, we are faced with many challenges including recruiting members to the Section and providing our section members with opportunities to grow and develop as public health social workers.  To that end I have proposed that the Section develop a mentoring program.  We have many experienced professional public health social workers employed in many areas, including front-line practitioners, administrators, policy analysts, researchers/scholars, and teachers.  Several APHA sections have mentors who, like so many of you, are well established within their field of public health.  Some of these mentors provide advice on developing a career plan, linking new members with more experienced professionals in various public health venues, and helping mentees to structure promotion and tenure dossiers.  I invite you to share with me your thoughts about how having a mentorship program would benefit our section.  I am particularly interested in hearing from new members on how having a mentor program would benefit you as a public health social worker and from experienced members willing to serve as mentors.

Another challenge all sections face, including our own, is financial.  To help meet this challenge, I have proposed that the Social Work Section co-author a book on public health social work that would consist of chapters written by fellow Section members.  I can think of no better group to author such a book than you!  The Social Work Section would be the “author” of the edited book, which would consist of chapters co-authored by Social Work Section members.  The profits from the sale of the book would go directly to the Section.  Five of our most respected members, Elaine Congress, Bari Cornet, Julia Hastings, Elaine Jurkowski and Betty Ruth, have agreed to join me in developing the overall structure of the book including chapter topics.  As the six of us move along in developing this structure, I will be inviting you to collaborate on chapters.  I am so pleased to announce that Springer Publishing Company has agreed to publish the book.

There are always many challenges to face in public health social work, and there is a lot of work to be done.  I can think of no better group of professionals equipped to face these challenges, and I am proud to be associated with each of you.

With warmest regards,

Rob Keefe
Chair-Elect, Social Work Section
Associate Professor
School of Social Work
University at Buffalo
State University of New York

An Update from the Membership Chair

“Each one, bring one” – this will be my mantra for my tenure as membership chair for the Social Work Section this year!  

I’m pleased and honored with the responsibility to be membership chair for the Section this upcoming term.  The APHA has been one of my primary memberships for nearly two decades, and as a social worker working in the field of public health, APHA has been vital. I know I am preaching to the choir as you read this because you are a member of APHA and a member of the Section. My challenge to you this year, though, is to bring in a new member to our section, or help a lapsed member find their way back to our section! This is an ideal time for social work within the organization because many of the upcoming public health initiatives (including Healthy People 2020) support the need for our skills at the table! So, we will look forward to “each on, bring one” as we gain momentum for our fall meeting in Denver!

For those of you who have not met me previously, let me provide a short biographical sketch! I’m currently a professor in the School of Social Work at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and I also serve as the graduate program director. My fields of practice include aging and disabilities with a primary focus on health, access to care and improving health disparities in rural communities. Although these areas of interest began as a practitioner, they were reinforced during my doctoral studies in public health from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Feel free to send me comments or ideas at I’ll look forward to each of you helping me “grow” our Social Work Section.

Elaine T. Jurkowski, MSW, PhD

Notes from the Action Board

The Action Board has a full agenda for 2010.  During the Annual Meeting, the full Action Board was introduced to its new slate of officers.  Durrell Fox, representing Community Health Workers, is the new Action Board chair.  Members of APHA may access information regarding the 2010 Action Board members and committee assignments at the APHA Web site.  The focus of the Action Board is the facilitation and implementation of APHA policies and positions.  Periodically, the Social Work Section will receive action alerts relative to APHA priorities.  It is imperative that members of the Social Work Section respond to the alerts by contacting their legislators and advocating for the priorities as noted in the alert.  In 2009, APHA advocates sent more than 32,000 messages to Congress and the president in support of public health policies.  Action Board members are encouraging all members to become proactive and respond aggressively to these action alerts.

In this regard, APHA 2010 legislative priorities are:

  • Health reform
  • Climate change
  • Transportation Reauthorization
  • Public Health Funding (CDC/HRSA/HHS)
  • Food Safety
  • Public Health workforce and infrastructure
  • Child nutrition reauthorization

Additional issues of focus:

  • Toxic Substances Control Act Reauthorization
  • Global health Funding (USAID/CDC)

Legislative updates are available at:
Each year, APHA archives old policies that are no longer current.  If there are social work policies or procedures that can be considered for archiving, please advise the Social Work Section chair.

SAVE THE DATE:  National Public Health Week 2010, April 5-11 “A Healthier America: One Community at a Time.”  Social Work Section members will receive daily action alerts on various topics.  Each member is encouraged to respond.Belinda Tate Hardy, Action Board representative

For more information regarding the activities of the Action Board, you may access APHA Web site or contact the Social Work Section Action Board representative:  Belinda Tate Hardy, MPA, LCSW, at:

APHA Student Section Update from Your New Student Liaison

Hello Social Work Section members,

I hope that 2010 is treating you well thus far!  My name is Abby Ross, and I am your new student liaison to the APHA Student Assembly (APHASA).  A little about myself: I received my MSW from Boston University in 2008 and plan to graduate from the School of Public Health in May of this year.  This past fall, I also began a course of study in the interdisciplinary social work and sociology doctoral program at Boston University.  I am the project director of Strong Families Strong Forces, a four-year study funded by the Department of Defense to develop a home-based program for families of returning military service members with very young children ,and am also a clinician in the Department of Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital Boston.

As your new student liaison, I hope to increase collaboration between the Social Work Section and APHASA and encourage you all to participate and support a number of APHASA initiatives.  Now is the perfect time to promote public health social work, given the theme of Social Justice at the upcoming Annual Meeting.  Currently, the Student Assembly is sponsoring a number of initiatives, including the first annual “Public Health Student Day,” which will occur on April 9, 2010 during National Public Health Week.  To promote this event, APHASA is encouraging all student members to become “Health Champions” -- people who advocate, organize, encourage and inspire health improvements and an overall healthy lifestyle for themselves and their communities. Goals of this APHASA initiative are to educate fellow students and community members about what constitutes a healthier America and a healthier university community, to understand and use the national “A Healthier America” survey, to engage campus communities in activities that promote health, wellness and disease prevention, and to empower students and campus communities with information and resources for a healthier university and the tools to spread the word throughout the campus.  Specific recommendations from the Student Assembly include: partnering with the on-campus gym to create a “Health Champions” workout program; creating an organic garden on our campus tended by “Health Champions;” and designing “A Healthier America: One Community at a Time” posters to distribute around our campus to encourage “Health Champions” behaviors. I encourage you all to become “Health Champions” and look forward to collaborating with you this upcoming year.  I welcome any suggestions or thoughts you may have about how best to include APHASA in Social Work Section initiatives.

Your student liaison,
Abby Ross

APHA Nominating Committee Seeks Potential Candidates for APHA Leadership Positions in 2010

The Nominating Committee for APHA's Governing Council is looking for the following candidates for leadership roles in the organization:


  • APHA President Elect (three year commitment one-year each as president-elect, president and past-president)
  • Executive board – three positions available (4-year term)
  • Speaker of the Governing Council (3-year term)
  • Treasurer (3-year term)

The APHA Governing Council will vote to select these officers at the November (2010) meeting, and they would begin serving immediately after the APHA conference (so terms would start Nov. 10, 2010).


As I'm sure you know, the next APHA Annual Meeting is Nov. 6-10, 2010, in Denver.


Applications are due March 31, 2010 and should include the relevant (attached) one-page form along with resume/CV of the nominee, and any letters of support. The nominating committee will meet May 6 to select the list of nominees for consideration by the Governing Council at the 2010 Annual Meeting.


We hope you will be able to think of individuals who would be excellent candidates for the above positions. 


Should you or a potential candidate wish further information on these positions, please refer to the job descriptions and nomination form available on the APHA Web site at:


If you are interested in running, we suggest you contact your APHA Section, SPIG, Caucus and/or Forum leadership to solicit their support and assistance with your nomination. 


All nominees for the Executive Board are selected from among the membership of the Association, except that the nominees for  Honorary Vice-President may include persons who are not members of the Association.


For more information on the Nominating Committee, contact Ida Plummer via e-mail at

TWENTIETH Annual APHA Public Health Materials Contest

The APHA Public Health Education Health Promotion Section is soliciting your best health education, promotion and communication materials for the 20th 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 138th APHA Annual Meeting in Denver.  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 their material.

Entries will be accepted in three categories; printed materials, electronic materials, and other materials.  Entries for the contest are due by March 26, 2010.  Please contact Kira McGroarty at for additional contest entry information.

How To Write a Good Policy

In January, APHA hosted a Webinar on "How to Write a Good Policy." Click  here to view the Webinar.

Looking Ahead

The Spring issue of the newsletter will be published in June.

Please send your

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

for the upcoming Spring Newsletter to the editor,
Jennifer Saunders, at!

Community-Based Participatory Research: A Partnership Approach for Public Health

The Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center and the Michigan Public Health Training Center are pleased to announce the availability of a new, instructional CD-ROM entitled "Community-Based Participatory Research: A Partnership Approach for Public Health."* The CD-ROM is free, and is also available as a downloadable file.

This CD-ROM and downloadable file are intended as an introduction to CBPR for people who are in the early stages of using or considering using CBPR. It is designed for academic researchers from multiple fields including public health, education, nursing, medicine, social work, urban planning, and for health and human service practitioners and members of community-based organizations.

The training is divided into five sequential parts:

  • Rationale, definition, and core principles;
  • Strategies for forming, maintaining, sustaining, and evaluating CBPR partnerships;
  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection methods an interpretation;
  • Dissemination and translation of research findings; and
  • Benefits, challenges, and recommendations for using CBPR for research and social change.

Insights from the literature and the experiences of the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center and its affiliated projects are provided throughout. Users have the opportunity to engage individually or as a partnership group in interactive case study activities.

To receive a free copy (if sent within the United States and U.S. Territories) of the CD-ROM or to access the downloadable version, please register at: Information about availability of continuing education credits can also be found on the Web site. You may also register by phone by calling the Michigan Public Health Training Center at (734) 615-9439 (Course code: CBPRR0909).


Barbara A. Israel, Chris Coombe and Robert McGranaghan
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Primary Instructors of "Community-Based Participatory Research: A Partnership Approach for Public Health"

*This project was made possible through funding from: Health Resources and Services Administration; Community-Based Public Health, Office of Public Health Practice at the University of Michigan School of Public Health; The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Programs at the University of Michigan and Yale University Medical Schools and the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center.

Global Health & Innovation Conference

Global Health & Innovation Conference
Presented by Unite For Sight, 7th Annual Conference
Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Saturday, April 17 - Sunday, April 18, 2010

Registration & Details:

Two hundred speakers are on the program, including keynote addresses by Seth Godin, Jacqueline Novogratz, Jeffrey Sachs and Sonia Sachs. Social innovation sessions by CEOs and Directors of Acumen Fund, Partners in Health, Doctors Without Borders, Save The Children, HealthStore Foundation, and many others.  The conference schedule is now online.

The Global Health & Innovation Conference convenes more than 2,200 students and professionals from 55 countries who are interested in global health and international development, public health, medicine, social entrepreneurship, nonprofits, philanthropy, microfinance, human rights, anthropology, health policy, advocacy, public service, environmental health and education.

Call For Social Enterprise Pitches: Do you have an innovative idea or a new program in development?  Submit your idea for presentation.  Complete details on conference Web site.

Two New Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Reports

Hospital Costs for Bone Marrow Transplants, Other Common Procedures Up Sharply

Hospital costs for bone marrow transplants shot up 85 percent from $694 million to $1.3 billion between 2004 and 2007, according to a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Data from AHRQ shows that 10 procedures experienced rapid cost increases between 2004 and 2007.  About 75 percent of the rise was due to increases in the number of patients who underwent these procedures and 25 percent resulted from higher costs per case treated.
In addition to bone marrow transplantation, the procedures with the most rapid increases in hospital costs included:

  • Open surgery for noncancerous enlarged prostate — up 69 percent to $1 billion.
  • Aortic valve resection or replacement — up 38.5 percent to $1.9 billion.
  • Cancer chemotherapy — up 33 percent to $2.6 billion.
  • Spinal fusion — up 29.5 percent to $8.9 billion.
  • Lobectomy (a type of lung cancer surgery) — up 29 percent to $1.8 billion.
  • Incision and drainage of skin and other tissues — up 29 percent to $1 billion .
  • Knee surgery — up 27.5 percent to $9.2 billion.
  • Nephrostomy (surgery to allow urine to pass through the kidneys) — up 25 percent to $683 million.
  • Mastectomy (breast removal because of cancer) — up 24 percent to $660 million.

These findings are based on data described in Procedures with the Most Rapidly Increasing Hospital Costs, 2004-2007.  The report uses statistics from the 2007 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.
Potentially Avoidable Hospitalizations for Many Conditions Drop Dramatically for Seniors
The rate of hospitalizations that could have been potentially prevented with better outpatient care fell faster for seniors than for younger patients between 2003 and 2007, according to another recent report from the AHRQ.
The federal agency compared hospitalization rates for 11 chronic and acute conditions that can usually be controlled outside the hospital if patients have access to good outpatient care and follow doctors' instructions, such as taking medication at the right time.  The analysis compared potentially preventable or avoidable hospitalizations for patients age 65 and over and ages 18 to 64.
The rates of hospitals stays for the following conditions declined faster for seniors than for younger adults:

  • Angina (43 percent decrease vs. 39 percent).
  • Uncontrolled diabetes (21 percent vs. 5 percent).
  • Dehydration (20 percent vs. 16 percent).
  • Short-term diabetes complications, such as hypoglycemia (19 percent decrease vs. an increase of 10 percent).
  • Amputation of the feet or legs, usually because of diabetes (17 percent vs. 3 percent).
  • Bacterial pneumonia (16 percent vs. 8 percent).
  • Congestive heart failure (14 percent vs. 9 percent).

In contrast, the rate of admissions for high blood pressure increased at a roughly equal rate, but the hospitalization rate for seniors with urinary tract infections increased by 15 percent, while it increased by only 1 percent for younger adults.
These findings are based on data described in
Potentially Preventable Hospitalization Rates Declined for Older Adults, 2003-2007. The report also uses statistics from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

The Health Administration Section will highlight members of the Section in a special edition of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice in spring 2010.  Because of this special edition, the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice is offering a Special Members Only Price to APHA members.  You can receive a bi-monthly individual subscription to JPHMP for just $66.95, a 30 percent savings off the annual subscription price of $95.50.You’ll receive your printed copy and have full access to the journal online at
Order by clicking here
or you can call (800) 638-3030. When ordering by phone, please be sure to mention promotion code D9K706PR to receive this exclusive member discount. If ordering online, use promo code W9K706WB at check out.