Article by Erika Cheng

Erika ChengI had a wonderful time at this year’s annual APHA meeting and am extremely grateful to the Disability Section for facilitating my attendance and participation. This year’s theme, “Prevention and Wellness Across the Lifespan” resonated throughout the conference, especially during the opening session, when Dr. Reed Tuckerson spoke of his vision for a holistic model of health and wellness that focuses of patient needs across the lifespan. The opening session also brought a surprise, inspiring speech from Representative Nancy Pelosi, who spoke with about the need to promote health and provide equal access to health for all Americans.

Attending this year’s APHA annual meeting was a fantastic, uplifting experience. I spent the week surrounded by students, researchers, advocates, and educators who, like me, have a passion for promoting equity and improving the health of others. I spent hours at the Public Health Expo, where I explored booths, accessed incredible resources, shared ideas with colleagues, and investigated new opportunities for academic collaboration and scientific discovery. I had the opportunity to present my work at four sessions and received invaluable feedback from the APHA community that has pushed my ideas forward and improved my research. One of my favorite experiences at this year’s meeting was having the opportunity to meet Dr. Gloria Krahn as she received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the APHA Disability Section in recognition of her achievement and contribution to the field. Dr. Krahn spoke passionately about disability as a part of human diversity and of the potential for researchers to leverage existing resources and to advance disability issues. I look forward to applying these resources in my own work.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend this year’s annual APHA meeting. I wore my APHA Disability Section new member badge proudly and am grateful for the chance to meet so many wonderful members. I hope to see everyone again in Boston!