Article by Robert L. Askew

Robert L. AskewThis year's annual meeting of the American Public Health Association was an extraordinary experience, and I am very grateful to the Disability Section for the travel scholarship they provided. Without this kind of assistance, many graduate students like me would not be able to participate in public health events of this scale at this early stage of their careers. The theme of the 140th annual meeting and exposition was "Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span", and one would expect a wide variety of research to be presented under such a broad rubric. Even so, the immense variety of research topics that can be explored both in terms of breadth and depth is somewhat astounding to see in person. Beyond the exposure to cutting edge research and novel methodologies one can acquire here, it is also important to highlight the sense of community inspired by so many people working together toward a common cause. While knowledge sharing and dissemination are primary purposes of a scientific congress, one of its primary results is the reminder that public health is a community endeavor and a very large one at that.

One of the highlights of this experience was getting to know the public health leaders and disability advocates that comprise the APHA Disability section. They are as warm and welcoming to new investigators as they are committed to public health promotion, research, and advocacy. At this year’s meeting, I presented results from two research projects, and as an early investigator, this experience has proven invaluable. I would like to thank the members of the Disability section of APHA for the resources they provide to graduate students like me. These efforts provide more than just exposure to public health research; they serve as investments in our careers as public health investigators and practitioners.

With gratitude,

Robert L. Askew, MPH

Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology

Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

University of Washington