Vision Care
Section Newsletter
Fall 2009

Letter from the Chair

Dear VCS Members,

What a year to be in a leadership role in APHA!  The excitement in Washington, D.C. continues to grow as the discussion on health reform heats up. Dr. Georges Benjamin is working hard to keep the APHA involved in the process.  APHA has developed a toolkit on health care reform for its membership.  Please check the APHA Web site for more information.  It is apparent that prevention and wellness are going to be integrated into the future of health care in the United States.  I assume that I can speak for the membership that it is our hope that vision and eye health will be an integral part of any future health care program. 

I have just returned from the mid-year meeting of the Section in Washington, D.C.  Program Chair Dr. Christine Harden has worked very hard to develop a dynamic program.  She endeavored to create opportunities that would bring in other sections to our scientific program, including three sessions that are joint programs with the Community Health Planning and Policy Development, Injury Control and Emergency Health Services, Oral Health and Podiatric Health sections.  The program looks very exciting.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the meeting.  We would like to encourage new APHA Vision Care Section members and new presenters to also join for the business meeting on Sunday afternoon immediately following the Opening Session and Monday evening after all of the scientific programs have been completed.  We look forward to meeting you and getting you more involved in the activities within the Section.  The Section is in the process of reviewing policies that had been developed by the Section to ensure that they are up to date.  If you have an interest in becoming involved, please do not hesitate to contact Chair-Elect Dr. Stacy Lyons or me. 

In addition to a dynamic program this year, we are also looking forward to a reception that will take place at Salus University, formerly Pennsylvania College of Optometry.  As we get closer to the meeting and the details are finalized, we will share them with you. 

Hope that your fall is going well, and we look forward to seeing you all in Philadelphia in November.  Safe travels.


Sandra S. Block, OD, MEd

Chair, VCS Section

APHA Annual Meeting

APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition - Register for the meeting and make your hotel reservation soon (housing closes Oct. 9). Note: Presenters must be individual members of APHA to present their paper(s) and must register in advance for the meeting. Session organizers and moderators are also required to be members and pay the appropriate registration fee. Hope to see you in Philadelphia!

APHA Career Guidance Center

APHA Career Guidance Center
Don't miss this opportunity! Sign up now for a one-on-one or a group session with a professional career coach at the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition. These coaches can guide you in strategizing the next phase of your career and help you define your goals. Select a 45-minute individual session or a 90-minute group session. The group sessions are designed according to your career needs. To see which session best fits for you, please read about each coach's experience and education before setting an appointment. If you have never experienced coaching before, this is a wonderful introduction to what may become a useful service for your career!
This is the link to the the Career Guidance Center:

APHA Press

APHA Press has three books in production of interest to epidemiologists and other health professionals that will be available at the Annual Meeting: Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control, 3rd Edition, by Patrick Remington, Ross Brownson and Mark Wegner, and two books by Steven S. Coughlin, Ethics in Epidemiology and Public Health Practice, 2nd Edition, and Case Studies in Public Health Ethics, 2nd Edition.

HCUP Database News

HCUP’s New 2006 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample Released!

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is pleased to announce the release of its newest Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) database, the 2006 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS). The NEDS is the largest all-payer emergency department (ED) database in the United States.  The NEDS was created to enable analyses of ED utilization patterns and to support public health professionals, administrators, policy-makers and clinicians in their understanding and decision-making regarding this critical source of health care. 

The NEDS has many research applications as it contains information on hospital characteristics, patient characteristics, geographic region and the nature of the ED visits (e.g., common reasons for ED visits, including injuries).  The database includes information on all visits to the ED, regardless of payer — including persons covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and the uninsured. 

The 2006 NEDS contains data from 26 million ED visits, and encompasses all encounter data from nearly 1,000 hospital-based EDs in 24 states.  The NEDS approximates a 20 percent stratified sample of EDs from community hospitals.  Weights are provided to calculate national estimates pertaining to the 120 million ED visits that took place in 2006.  The database was constructed using records from both the HCUP State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD) and the State Inpatient Databases (SID).  The NEDS provides information on “treat-and-release” ED visits, as well as ED visits in which the patient was admitted to the same hospital for further care.

The 2006 NEDS can be purchased through the HCUP Central Distributor. Some 2006 NEDS data are available in HCUPnet, a free online query system.  More information about the NEDS and other HCUP products can be found on the HCUP-US Web site.  If you have questions, please contact HCUP user support at