Student Assembly
Section Newsletter
Winter 2005



The American Public Health Association’s Student Assembly is the nation's largest student-led organization dedicated to furthering the development of students, the next generation of professionals in public health and health-related disciplines.

APHA-SA represents and serves students of public health and other health-related disciplines by connecting individuals who are interested in working together on public health and student-related issues.


APHA-SA is a student-led international organization within the American Public Health Association (APHA) representing students of public health and other health-related disciplines. We are dedicated to enhancing students' educational experiences and professional development by providing information, resources, and opportunities through communication, advocacy and networking. According to Physic's Strategic Plan, we support the development of the next generation of public health professionals by:

  • Increasing student representation in APHA;
  • Developing & disseminating educational/professional development resources;
  • Creating & promoting opportunities for student involvement within APHA-SA, APHA, and other health-related organizations;
  • Providing and sustaining vehicles for communication;
  • Advocating for student issues and public and health-related policy; and
  • Facilitating networking among students and professionals.

Access our full News and Views newsletter at our Web site, <>.

President's Pen

George Krageorgiou 
Welcome and Happy New Year!

The new year brings great change and benefits for the newly named American Public Health Association Student Assembly (APHA-SA). The involvement of my predecessors and strong participation from the current board have been an integral part in the evolution of the Public Health Student Caucus into the APHA-SA, and I wish to thank all of them for their hard work.

This newsletter is dedicated to showing appreciation for our current board members, many of whom are serving a second year and some who have recently joined our efforts. These board members have been integral players in formulating, orchestrating, and evaluating many of APHA-SA’s projects and initiatives. As we are all students, the responsibility to organize these programs on a national level is great. However, we are dedicated to our membership as well as to our peers, and we wish to better our future as public health professionals. I am happy that we have so many devoted individuals who are willing to share their talents and knowledge on our board.

The APHA-SA board is working very hard this year to bring about the changes required to make the transformation into the APHA-SA complete. Working hand in hand with APHA, we are giving more students the opportunity to sit on newly created student leadership positions on APHA boards, such as the Action Board, Education Board and Science Board. APHA-SA is also working to move the National Mentoring Program online within the next few months. Our new Student Meeting Director has been working diligently to begin the planning process of the first student meeting, which will precede the APHA 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition in New Orleans.

All of our APHA-SA committees are working very hard to produce more programs and initiatives for our members. Be on the lookout for campaigns from the Diversity Committee and a National Public Health Week Toolkit from the Action Committee. Those on the APHA-SA board who are not busy with programs are busy restructuring APHA-SA internally. The Development Committee is working diligently to find sources of funding for our programs and our technical needs. The Membership Committee will also be reviewing the current membership structure with APHA in order to meet APHA membership requirements.

The Executive Board of APHA-SA, comprised of the Chair, Chair-Elect, Past-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary, are busy reviewing bylaws changes needed to be made, planning a massive Web site overhaul for APHA-SA, and getting some of the logistics, including a new logo, created. We have all made leaps and bounds in progress on our work in the last two months.

Though these past couple of months have been challenging, they have not been nearly as hard on us as they have been on those persons affected by the chaotic events in the world. As natural disasters hit in the South Pacific and within our own borders, it is important for us as public health leaders to respond to the relief efforts. Many campuses have organized different relief and aid campaigns to help the people affected by the tsunamis, mudslides and flooding. I wish to applaud all of you who are making a conscious effort to aid those affected. For those who are not involved, I implore you to volunteer your time contributing to these efforts. If your campus does not have an organized relief effort for you to participate in, please ask a faculty member, fellow students or your campus liaison for ideas on ways you can help. It is important that we students put to practice some of the ideals and moral responsibilities we hold dear as public health professionals.

If you wish to contact the Chair about serving on an APHA-SA committee or finding out about one of the APHA-SA’s programs, please e-mail George Karageorgiou at <> or visit our Web site at <>.

Student Assembly 2005 - Who are We and Where are We Going?

APHA-SA member primary section affiliation 
Primary APHA section affiliation of student section members, as of January 2005.
Being involved in the Student Assembly means, as a student, you are invariably participating in a summer camp-like rite of passage. Although most of us can’t begin to imagine what summer might feel like right now, many of us have had the summer camp experience, and if you have, you know what I mean. Although school may take a bit more work than hanging out with new friends every day and learning how to keep the cabin clean, being thrown together for “the experience of a lifetime” is the same kind of idea. There is a theme, or mission, that drew us to this camp. We are all here by choice (pretty much), we come from as many varied places as you can think of, we will all invest ourselves in the journey, we are challenged socially, emotionally and physically, and we come out enriched, thankful, excited but exhausted, having been forced to eat bad food, but if done right, wanting to come back for more.

As one of the membership committee co-chairs, I am continually amazed at how diverse, rich and exceptionally capable our student body is. So, with the beginning of a new year, I offer you this peek into who we are and I hope that you, too, will take pride in our accomplishments and hope in our potential.

As of Jan. 3, 2005, the Student Assembly membership was 4,352 members strong. This number represents students from 47 U.S. states and 24 other countrie,s with Canada and Japan leading the way (21 and 12 members respectively). The North American continent has the privilege of ready access to an independent standards association for schools of public health who are accredited by the Council on Education of Public Health. Currently, there are 42 member schools and associates supported by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH). The lion’s share of Student Assembly members come from states with one or more ASPH schools. There are 15 states with ASPH schools from which 76 percent of Student Assembly members hail. Those states are listed in Graph 1 (see attached pdf file) along with the relative percent of members each state contributes. No other state, with or without an ASPH school, contributes more than 2 percent of the total Student Assembly membership. The seven states with the lowest membership (<0.1 pervent) are Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Main, Vermont, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The known race and gender profile of the current Student Assembly membership is somewhat less evenly distributed than our geographic dispersion. As is typical for the public health field, there are many more women than men making themselves known. Females comprise 77 percent of current membership. Interestingly, 77 percent of our 4,352 members chose not to report a description of their race. Of the 23 percent who did, Whites/Caucasians are the majority (51 percent), Blacks/African Americans follow (20 percent), Asian/Pacific Islanders come next (14 percent) followed by Hispanic/Latinos (9 percent) and American Indian/Alaskan Natives (1 percent). (See Graph 2 on attached pdf).

Although there are 24 primary APHA sections to which Student Assembly members may belong, students have clear preferences, with a majority of students (>70 percent) fitting into one of eight primary sections. In order of preference, those eight sections are: Public Health Education and Health Promotion, Epidemiology, International Health, Community Health Planning & Policy Development, Maternal & Child Health, Health Administration, Environmental Health, and HIV/AIDS. All other sections receive less than 3 percent of Student Assembly affiliates. (See Graph 3 on attached pdf file).

Lastly, a note about the credentials our Student Assembly members bring to the table is in order. With over 3,000 member responses, there are literally hundreds of combinations of degrees and certifications our members have or are obtaining. We cover the gamut from high school and Associate of Arts degree seekers, to multiple professional degree holders who just won’t be stopped. Although our parent organization name, American Public Health Association (APHA), would lend you to believe we are exclusively American, nothing could be farther from the truth. We are a large international organization and we welcome people from various disciplines with health related foci and an interest in the protection and promotion of the public’s health everywhere. Our constituency, although dominated by persons who have or are obtaining their Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree, is followed by large percentages of persons who are working towards their Bachelor of Arts or Science, dual degree earners working towards their MPH simultaneously with another graduate or professional degree, Master’s of Arts or Science degree earners, medical students, and PhD candidates. The Student Assembly is an observably highly motivated group of people with a wide range of skills and interests. Due to their highly specific nature, hundreds of “other” responses could not be tabulated, but substantial numbers of us are CHES or nursing certified, and smaller sub-sets come from dentistry, veterinary, business and law students, making us a well-rounded assemblage! (Graph 4 on attached pdf).

As stated in our annual report, 2005 is membership’s self-designated “reach out and touch someone” year. We believe that developing the diversity and depth of the public health student body is key to improving some of the health disparities our nation currently faces. But to do this we need your help. The membership committee would like to see all members update their member record online with APHA so that it is as complete as possible. Over the next year, we will be reaching out to under-represented states and schools so that all students have an equal opportunity to take advantage of the awesome Student Assembly and APHA professional development benefits. Thank you for the great work you do. See you next year!

Related Files:

Meet the Board - Executive Board

George Karageorgiou - Chair

Involvement in PHSC: Chair (2004-2005)
School: Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Degree Program: Master of Health Sciences
Practice/Research Interests: Strategic planning and management, Health care quality
Where I am from: Asheville, N.C.
Fun Facts About Me: I am half Greek and am very proud of my heritage. I love cooking gourmet meals, dancing on stages at clubs and am somewhat of a gym bunny. I also take a keen interest in LGBT issues.
Other Leadership Activities: American College of Healthcare Executives, Member.
Plans after School: In the fall of 2005, I will be beginning a residency in the health care consulting sector of public health, focusing on strategic planning and operations. At some point in my early career, I hope to work abroad in Europe or Canada, to infuse ideas of a publicly financed health care system into the American health care system.

I was first introduced to the American Public Health Association Student Assembly (APHA-SA), formerly the Public Health Student Caucus, through the e-mails sent out on the APHA-SA listserv. In 2003, I applied and was accepted to serve as co-chair of the Advancement Committee. Throughout the course of the year, I was responsible for overseeing the Campus Liaison Chair and coordinating the APHA-SA involvement in the Student Health Alliance and the National Leadership Conference for Students in Healthcare. More recently, I have been given the honor of serving as Chair-Elect and now as Chair. As Chair, it is my responsibility to carry the APHA-SA forward, allowing for the necessary restructuring process to ensue. I hope to have organized the APHA-SA into the structure that APHA, my predecessors, and our membership envisioned by November 2005.

Jabar Akbar - Chair-Elect

Hello current, past and future APHA Student Assembly members. My name is Jabar Akbar and I currently serve as the Chair-Elect for APHA-SA. When I am not fulfilling my duties as Chair-Elect, I am a full-time DrPH student in the Department of Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health. My goal is to graduate by December 2006. Though school is demanding, I reside in sunny Southern California where it “never” rains. Ha Ha Ha.

As Chair-Elect, my main objective is to push for APHA-SA to carry out the goals of REACH 2010. Prevention is key, and so is adequate primary care. I sit on the planning committee for National Primary Care Week (NPCW). This year NPCW will be from Oct. 16-22, 2005, and I enthusiastically encourage every one of you to volunteer in some capacity. There will be a link on our Web site so that you may get involved in your respective community. When I am not called upon to serve on the NPCW planning committee, I am contributing in an advisory role to the success of several working committees. The committees are the heart of APHA Student Assembly, and as I grow into the position I envision having a more integral role in the success and productive of each committee. Currently, I work with the leadership of the Action, Diversity, and Advancement Committees. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Toni Rhodes Leeth - Immediate Past Chair

My name is Toni Rhodes Leeth, and I am the current Immediate Past Chair of the American Public Health Association Student Assembly (APHA-SA). I currently live in Birmingham, Ala. I moved to Birmingham from northeast Mississippi after completing my bachelor’s degree in microbiology at Mississippi State University. In May 2002 I received my master’s of public health in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health, where I was honored to serve as vice-president then president of the Public Health Student Association (PHSA). While completing my master’s degree I worked in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics doing research in HIV/AIDS, specifically patterns of drug resistance and vertical transmission through breast milk. Since November of 2003 I have been working in the Department of Surgery at UAB as the project administrator for the Section of Gastrointestinal Surgery. My role in the Section involves data collection and analysis and presentation and publication of that data on various subjects related to GI surgery, including bariatric surgery, pancreatic cancer, and the impact of obesity on the use of surgical resources.

I have been involved in APHA-SA since the fall of 2001. I was introduced to APHA-SA, then the Public Health Student Caucus (PHSC), at the 129th APHA Annual Meeting in Atlanta that November. As a leader at my own school, I wanted to be more connected to schools and programs in public health across the country, so I applied and was selected to lead the Advancement Committee and revitalize the Campus Liaison Program. That year the program grew to more than 50 liaisons, and the Advancement Committee created resources for maintaining its success. During my year on the Board, I was encouraged by the growth and successes of such a young organization and made an effort to work on PHSC-wide projects, including the creation of the Student Health Alliance and the first National Leadership Conference for Students in Healthcare. I wanted to continue my involvement in PHSC and take on more responsibility in the organization. I submitted my nomination for the executive board, and in October 2002 I was elected by the membership to serve as president-elect. During my term as president in 2004, we drafted a restructuring proposal that I presented to the Executive Board of APHA in May. With support from APHA’s Executive Board and the Task Force for Association Improvement and Reorganization (TFAIR), PHSC became APHA-SA, dramatically impacting the future of our organization.

APHA-SA’s leadership is exceptional, and that is evident in the outstanding programs and activities APHA-SA provides for its members and how well its board represents students in public health. A lot of time and energy is required of the board members of APHA-SA, especially the executive board. Those interested in pursuing a higher leadership position in APHA-SA should consider how much time they have available to devote to APHA-SA for correspondence, meetings, and position-specific responsibilities. The chair of APHA-SA must attend three in-person meetings of the APHA Executive Board and the APHA Annual Meeting, so it is important he/she has flexibility in his/her schedule to attend these meetings.

I am privileged to have been able to work with such talented individuals for the past three years. It has been a wonderful experience during which I have gained a lifetime of new friends and colleagues.

Darren Mays—Treasurer / Finance

I am 22 years old and originally from Columbus, Ohio. I spent the past four years in Pittsburgh, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April of 2004 with a BA in History & Philosophy of Science. I am currently a first-year MPH student in the Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, in Atlanta. My degree concentration area is behavioral science. I have been working at the Center for Public Health Communication at Rollins since September of 2004. My personal area of interest in public health is drug and alcohol use. I am currently involved in a research project that is investigating the measurement of alcohol use among college students. Outside of school and work I enjoy running, backpacking, fishing, reading and music.

I have been the APHA-SA treasurer since November of 2004. My interest in the APHA-SA was sparked by my faculty advisor at Rollins, Jay Bernhardt. The primary focus of my work as treasurer so far has been creating a budget to finish the current fiscal year, as well as a proposed budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal year. I am currently working with the APHA-SA board to assess our financial needs and create a new budget, and investigating potential sources of funding for the future. Over the course of the next year my goals as treasurer are to make the financial restructuring of the APHA-SA as seamless as possible and to achieve sufficient funding for the APHA-SA programs and initiatives proposed by the board. My experience as treasurer so far has allowed me to connect with public health students and leaders across the country, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with the APHA-SA board and members throughout 2005.

Amy Boore - Secretary / Communications

Hi all, my name is Amy and I'm the APHA-SA Secretary. I live in Baltimore and am working on my PhD at Johns Hopkins. My research is in infectious disease epidemiology with a focus on women & HIV. I grew up in a small town in rural Western Maryland, and other than a couple of years in West Africa and another couple in Anchorage, Alaska, I've spent most of my 29 years in Maryland. While I'm not sure what my next move will be after graduation (likely '07), I would love to go back to Africa and continue to research major infectious diseases there. You all know me best from the e-mails you get from my Earthlink account, and for all of you who have asked - Zaliya was my name when I lived in Niger.

I took over the position of Secretary from the other Amy (Harley) this past November. Running for the position seemed like a great way for me to get more involved and to network with other students and professionals in the field of public health, and so far it has not been disappointing. In addition to keeping all of the listservs, e-mail contacts and other information up to date, I also helped the newsletter committee get this online Student Assembly newsletter added to the APHA site. Next on the agenda will be to work on ways to keep our Web site updated and functional for our members, starting with finding a Web site sub-Committee Chair (if any of you know HTML and would like to get involved with Web design, let me know!). If you ever have any questions or ideas for how communication can be improved, don't hesitate to contact me at <>.

Meet the Board - Committee Chairs

Meet the 2005 APHA-SA Board

See attached pdf file for full bio-sketches

Action Committee

Jay Bhatt, Co-Chair

Kate Maggioncalda, Co-Chair

Advancement Committee

Kathryn Lambergs, Co-Chair

Elizabeth Reitano, Co-Chair

Development Committee

Joshua Garoon, Co-Chair

Anthony Santella, Co-Chair

Diversity Committee

Michelle Silverio, Co-Chair

Maranda Ward, Co-Chair

Membership Committee

Jason Almonte, Co-Chair

Rachel Chase, Co-Chair

Mentoring Committee

Debby Herbenick, Co-Chair

Clea Sarnquist, Co-Chair

Nominations Committee

Beth Bernabeo, Chair

Opportunities Committee

Amira Roess, Co-Chair

Robyn Wheatley, Co-Chair

Student Meeting Director

Kendra Horn

Abstracts Sub-Committee

Hossein Bahrami, Chair

Campus Liaison Sub-Committee

Annette Summers, Chair

Newsletter Sub-Committee

Nisha Bhateja, Co-Chair

Olatokunbo Famakinwa, Co-Chair

Related Files:

Interested in a leadership position within the APHA-SA?

Over the course of the last few years, APHA-SA has significantly improved the types and amount of opportunities for student members. Our efforts have helped thousands of students learn more about and engage in APHA activities and to mobilize to improve health in their communities. Through projects such as the Campus Liaison Program and National Leadership Conference for Students in Healthcare, we have been able to establish firm links to local public health student organizations and a multitude of national student organizations in various health professions to help increase the understanding of our Student Assembly, APHA, and public health.

Even with these great efforts in place, there is still much to do!

This is where YOU come in. The Nominations Committee will be looking for a slate of strong, dedicated national leaders who stand ready to help strengthen the national voice of all public health students through APHA-SA and increase the number of opportunities and benefits we have to offer to all student members.

We will need your passion, your talents, and your expertise.

So be on the lookout for applications for our Executive Board (Chair-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary) in the next few months. Elections take place in the fall, but it is not too early to start thinking about how you would like to get involved with APHA-SA.

The Nominations Committee is also recruiting a Chair for the Web site Subcommittee. If you have technical expertise and experience in this area, and/or are interested in filling this position, please visit <> to learn more or e-mail Elizabeth Bernabeo, MPH, Nominations Chair, at <> for further information.

Thank you for your consideration of helping PHSC create a vibrant future for our organization and all APHA student members.

Contributed Article - Identifying Barriers to Healthcare & Health Disparity Factors in an Urban Area

See attached pdf

Contributing authors:
Jewel S. Goodman, MPA, PhD Student(1)
Stacey B. Plichta, ScD(1)
Clare Houseman, PhD, APRN, BC(1)
Barbara Willis(2)
Phyllis Parker(2)
Yan Zhang, MS, PhD Candidate(1)
Janice Ranne, M.A., CCC-SLP(1)

(1) School of Community and Environmental Health, College of Health Sciences
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia
(2) Portsmouth Community Health Center, Incorporated, Portsmouth, Virginia

Related Files:

Have your article featured in the next APHA-SA newsletter!

Got An Interesting Story to Share?

Tell Us About It!!

The Newsletter Committee of the APHA-SA wants to hear from you!

Write 750 words or less detailing your education, current projects, and/or your personal experiences in the field of public health and submit to <>.

To view past editions of the APHA-SA newsletter, News and Views, visit our Web site at <>