American Public Health Association
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Section Newsletter
Winter 2008


The Ethics SPIG welcomes a year of transitions,  expectation and collaboration. 

Regarding transitions, changing our name from Ethics Forum SPIG to simply Ethics SPIG will provides a clearer identity in the APHA and beyond.  A second transition is embarking on the path to become a full Section over the next three years. Much of the credit goes to last year's chair, Robert Hood, who is our new membership chair. 

For expectations, the response to our 2008 Annual Meeting call for papers under the theme Public Health Without Borders has exceeded last year's response. We are excited about a new dedicated session for student papers, as a clear invitation for students to be an integral part of the Ethics SPIG.  Consistent with the Annual Meeting theme, we have received abstracts from beyond the United States and involving variety of disciplines. Thanks to Program Chair Andrea Kalfoglau  and Program Chair-elect Jennifer Ruger.

We are pleased with a new collaboration between the Ethics SPIG and the APHA Genomics Forum, including an ethics-related genomic session hosted by the Genomics Forum, which we cosponsor and endorse. The credit for developing this collaboration goes to Marc Hiller (Ethics SPIG) and Aaron Goldenberg (Genomics Forum).

A second collaboration has been with Marcel Verweij from the Universiteit Utrecht, who edits the new Oxford UP journal Public Health Ethics with Angus Dawson. They also coordinate InterPHEN, the International Public Health Ethics Network of the International Association of Bioethics (IAB). One can join the InterPHEN listserv here. (E-mail Marcel for additional information.)

As noted below, one can now belong as voting members to up to three units (SPIGs, Sections). An additional affiliation costs $30.

Should you have any questions or suggestions regarding the Ethics SPIG, please contact me by e-mail or phone (612)626-6559, or contact another SPIG officer.

We hope you find this newsletter helpful to advance the work of  the Ethics SPIG.


Kirk Allison, Chair

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Ethics SPIG News

New Officers

Chair: Kirk Allison (
Program Chair: Andrea Kalfoglou (
Program Chair Elect: Jennifer Ruger (
Membership: Robert Hood (
Web Site: Andrew Jameton (
Newsletter: Andy Bostick (
Liaison: Marc Hiller (Genomics Forum) (

Transition to Section 

The Ethics SPIG had a fruitful discussion at the 2007 business meeting in Washington, D.C., on whether to embark on becoming a Section, remain a SPIG, or even Forum (as was the former name but not the organizational type). Becoming a Forum would cost a number of sessions as would a possible merger with other interest groups. Becoming a Section has the advantage of more sessions, receiving a per capita budget and having an expectation to participate more vigorously in the APHA policy context. All of these are positive.  Here are some of the parameters.

Oversight: Intersectional Council Steering Committee
Time period for transition: 3 years
Target membership: 250 (currently 123)

New Secondary Affiliation Option

There is a broad interest in public health ethics, but the professional disciplinary valences are much stronger for APHA members who are not ethicists per se for other Sections or Forums. Now it is possible to add a second or third affiliation that will also count toward the 250 member threshhold. This is ideal for those whose disciplinary home is in another SPIG or Section, for example epidemiology.  The APHA fee for the additional affiliation is $30.

We look forward to our Ethics SPIG membership encouraging colleagues to consider joining the Ethics SPIG as a second (or third) affiliation. Developing collobarotions with other APHA sections, SPIGs or Forums should also facilitate this.

The membership renewal form includes a new block for additional affiliations. Additionally, one can add an affiliation mid-year via the Update Your Membership Profile link (here).

Below is information on the secondary affiliation option communicated by APHA Membership Services Coordinator Yvonne Kazim. Please feel free to contact Yvonne ( or our Membership Chair Robert Hood, should you need additional information. 

With the broadening and overlap of issues within public health, members expressed their need and desire to be active and seriously involved in more than one single Section or SPIG. In November 2007, the Governing Council approved that members would now have the option to choose up to three member units with a $30 fee for each additional Section/SPIG. The first unit is still free. A person with more than one affiliation, however, may run for or hold positions in only one unit at a time.


The benefits of this new option include but are not limited to:

  • Voting/election rights.
  • Ability to run for an elected leadership position in more than one Section/SPIG.*
  • Receive direct/specific communications from Section/SPIG leaders to all its members.
  • Participate in Section/SPIG listservs.
  • Unit members benefit from the technologies of e-communicate, blast e-mail capacity, etc. within more than one single Section.
  • Ability to strengthen and promote interdisciplinary education, training, policy development and action.
  • Appropriate freedom to be more involved in assisting a SPIG in reaching its goal of Section status.
  • Expansion of networking opportunities as one becomes validly and actively involved in more than one Section/SPIG.
  • Opportunity to present at a Scientific Session at the Annual Meeting is expanded by being an active and involved member of more than one Section/SPIG.
  • Build a critical mass to advocate on selected issues. 

*Members may not be a candidate or an elected officer in more than one unit at a time.

Thank you for encouraging others to join the Ethics SPIG.

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2008 Annual Meeting Update (Oct. 25-29 in San Diego)

The theme of the 2008 Meeting is Public Health Without Borders and will be held in San Diego. This Annual Meeting is a week earlier than usual due to the election schedule.

In case of questions about the Ethics SPIG program during the Annual Meeting, please contact our Program Chair Andrea Kalfoglau.

Abstract Review and Confirmation Process

We have received 44 abstracts (passing last year's mark) and increased our reviewer pool to 38 reviewers. Our thanks both to authors and reviewers.

Abstract reviews are blind, with no reviewer from the same institution as the submission.  Here are key datelines in the review process:

Feb. 19-29: Abstracts assigned to reviewers.
March 3-28: Abstract review period  (must be complete by March 28).
May 27: Online Annual Meeting Program goes live(
May 28: E-mail to the submitting author on abstract status.

Note: Highly scored abstracts indicating an oral or roundtable session preference, should all slots be filled, may be offered a poster option.


Student Papers in Public Health Ethics (Oral)
* Case Studies in Public Health Ethics

* Ethics, Accreditation and Performance Standards (Oral)

* Global Bioethics, Health, and Justice (Oral)
* Globalization, Trade, and Public Health Ethics (Oral)
* International Research Ethics (Panel)
* Pandemics, Epidemics, and Public Health Ethics (Oral)
* Public Health Without Borders (Poster Session)
* Ethics SPIG Business Meeting

We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

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Latest Research in Public Health Ethics

Click here for the latest research in Public Health Ethics

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