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April 2009 Minutes

American Public Health Association

Disability Section Minutes

Monthly Meeting

Conference Call


April 2, 2009



Council members present: Roberta S. Carlin (Communications Chair), Charles Drum (Governing Council Representative), Willi Horner-Johnson (Treasurer), Stephen French Gilson (Chair Elect), Catherine Leigh Graham (Accessibility Co-Chair), H. Stephen Kaye (Program Chair), Gloria Krahn (Past Chair/Elections Chair), Suzanne McDermott (Policy Chair), Jana Petersen (Student Liaison Faculty Supervisor), James H. Rimmer (Chair), Jennifer Rowland (Awards Chair), Meg Ann Traci (Secretary), Anjali Truitt (Student Liaison).

Council members not present: Anthony Cahill (Accessibility Co-Chair); George Jesien (Membership Chair), Don Lollar (Governing Council Representative). ***********************************************

Opening: Chair Jim Rimmer opened the conference call meeting at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) prompting roll call and discussion of minutes from the February 5 and March 5, 2009 meetings.



The February 5 and March 5, 2009 meeting minutes were approved as corrected (mover: Catherine Graham; seconder: Stephen Gilson).


Policy, Chair Suzanne McDermott

Suzanne noted that Dr. Georges Benjamin’s letter on behalf of APHA sent to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraging her to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities is one of the biggest policy successes of the Disability Section in her two-year role as Policy Chair. Suzanne has drafted a ‘thank you’ letter to Dr. Benjamin and will circulate to the Disability Section Councilors for their edits/additions. The Convention is a treaty signed by 137 countries that outlines the rights of persons with disabilities (e.g., health care, education, transportation, social services). The U.S. and U.K. declined to ratify an optional proposal that would have included enforcement of these rights because of concerns related to the covention’s language not being consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar U.K. laws.


Suzanne asked APHA to distribute a press release to increase visibility of the document on the APHA website.


Suzanne said the treaty has created a national focus on the issues and there a lot of people to thank, in particular, Don Lollar, who brought this to the Section’s attention. Suzanne also appreciated the high level collaboration that took place between the Disability Section and the International Global Health Section,

Steve congratulated Don and Suzanne on their work on the Convention. He wondered if the Disability Section was going to develop a related APHA policy proposal. Suzanne responded that she thought the Convention goes beyond any policy we could develop. She noted that Senator Harkin has picked it up and so has President Obama ( e.g., ) who has established a workgroup related to the Convention.


Suzanne reported that she, Don Lollar and Amanda Reichard had formed a Policy sub-committee to review five proposed APHA policies. This group provided feedback (language suggestions primarily) to APHA on:


• A7: Ensuring the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: Strengthening US Efforts to Reduce Global Poverty and Promote Public Health

• B6: Reducing the Burden of Poor Health and Health Inequities through Transportation and Land-use Policies

• C2: Child Health Policy for the United States

• D2: Expansion of Health Promotion Research for Older Adults

• D3: Building Code Development, Adoption and Enforcement Problems Impacting Safety and Usability of Homes and Other Buildings


Jim suggested Disability Section Chairs acknowledge sub-committee members  for their contributions at the APHA 2009 annual Business Meeting and Awards Banquet.


Suzanne and Jim will have a phone call with Diane Conti to discuss the 1) Breakfast to introduce the Disability Section and its policy agenda to other APHA Sections; and 2) Disability Awards for other non-Disability Sections.


Elections, Chair Gloria Krahn


Gloria reported on nominations for this year’s elections.Nomination Slate for Disability Section 2009

March, 2009




Program Chair Elect

Thilo Kroll

Kyoshi Yamaki


Section Councilor—Policy Chair

Anne Rader

Vince Campbell


Governing Councilor

            Suzanne McDermott           

Gloria Krahn


Submitted by Nominations committee of Gloria Krahn, Stephen Gilson, Tony Cahill


The elections committee decided to run the Program Chair position this year to facilitate leadership transition. The Program Chair election would alternate years with the APHA Disability Chair-Elect election allowing an out-going Program Chair to run for Chair-Elect. When Jim is chair of the nominations committee, there will be time to develop more leadership transition plans.


Jim thanked Gloria for putting the current slate together.


Jim clarified that ‘to be elected in 2009’ meant that the elections slate needs to be prepared in 2009. Jim will use the APHA National Meeting to recruit nominees.


Program,  Chair Steve Kaye

Steve Kaye said development of the 2009 APHA Disability Section Program was moving along well. Only one of 56 reviewers failed to complete his/her reviews. He had 4-5 reviewers for each abstract. He is reviewing results and deciding on which abstracts will be selected for poster or oral presentation and which abstracts will be rejected.  For the co-sponsored session with the Epidemiology Section on Health Care Access, Steve reported that he and the Epidemiology Program Chair had selected four of the top scoring abstracts for that session.  Steve will inform presenters of the plans for this co-sponsored session and will orient those presenters to the Epidemiology audience. Stephen Gilson suggested alerting the health care equity subcommittee (Dot Nary and Stephen Gilson have served on this committee in the past) about the Disability/ Epidemiology session to attract an even larger and broader audience.


Steve said that he received positive comments about the polling process he used to organize reviewers.


Steve also mentioned that he is working on the health care reform session.


‘Meet the Disability Section event’: Willi will order food for the event. Steve reported that the Chair’s Forum has been moved up one hour and this social event is scheduled for  5 pm (hosted bar and appetizers). Roberta will ask Pat at Elsevier about the time of the Disability and Health Journal Editorial Board Social to make sure that it does not conflict with the Section’s event.


Meg wondered if the social hour also could include a celebration of the Convention of Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Willi wondered if we should ask people to RSVP. Jim estimated that including himself and Section Chairs, the count would be about 25 if everyone attended, and with other guests, the count could run as high as 70-100 people. 


Student Section, Chair Anjali Truitt

Student session abstracts were reviewed. Anjali commented that there was room to improve the number of student abstracts. The Student Session will meet before the annual meeting. There is a total of 35 student members in the Disability Section out of 3,500 APHA student members. Anjali noted that there is plenty of opportunity to get more students involved.


Jessica Murray from APHA is in charge of student internships and will get back to Anjali about opportunities for student members of the Disability Section.


Awards, Chair Jennifer Rowland

Jennifer Rowland noted that the awards committed will develop a process and set of criteria for a new Disability Section award that will be given to someone from another section who has done work in the area of disability and public health or has presented an important paper related to our Section.   


May 1st is the deadline for award nominations. Jennifer mentioned that she has received inquiries about some awards (i.e., Allan Myers Award) but has not received any inquiries about the Lifetime Achievement Award. Roberta and Jennifer will prepare and send out an email to encourage nominations and they will include past recipients in this email to increase the Awards’ credibility and status.


Jennifer commented that she is still looking for photos for the Disability Section History document,


Communications, Chair Roberta Carlin

Roberta reported that there was a student scholarship fund from DHJO royalties; requirements for the scholarship were scripted so that undergraduate and graduate student applicants have a relevant background.


April 24th is the deadline for newsletter submissions—700 word limit.


Roberta updated the Disability Section listserv with names that George sent her. This is an ongoing process. She does not delete names of people who are not current with their membership.


Roberta is meeting with Aaron Mendelsohn who is in the Maryland area to discuss opportunities for Disability Section and AAHD memberships and DHJO subscriptions. Roberta will let Steve Kaye know about any program discussion items.


Membership, Chair George Jesien

George could not attend this meeting. He reported via email on 4/1/09:

“… we have recovered a number of our members and are back up to 247 overall. I have not yet received the breakdown from APHA which should come in toward the end of the month.”


Treasurer, Willi Horner-Johnson

Willi reported that the continuing application to CDC was submitted on time with a request for $15K from CDC. Willi will talk with George Jesien about benefits of funding a more prominent booth location at the upcoming APHA meeting.


Willi has been trying to get cost estimates for the NACCHO mailing. There are currently 2,731 active NACCHO members. Last year, NACCHO charged $575 for a set of printed mailing labels. APHA would actually do the mailing. Roberta will check to see how many brochures are available for this mailing. 


Jim acknowledged Willi’s excellent work on the progress report/continuation application, particularly given the short turn-around time.


Accessibility, Co-Chairs Catherine Graham and Tony Cahill

Catherine reported that in the past, accessibility surveys have not been successful in eliciting feedback from many attendees or in providing actionable items. Catherine is working with Anna Keller from APHA to get 1-2 questions added to the annual meeting evaluation survey. Also, as a result of Catherine and Tony’s phone conference with Anna, the hotel survey will include a couple of items for this year’s meeting (2009) in Philadelphia.


For the 2009 annual meeting, Catherine and Tony will use the Convention Center Accessibility Survey used in prior APHA meetings to assess the accessibility of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Additionally, Catherine and Tony will conduct a variety of walk-throughs to check accessibility before and during the meeting.


Tony and Catherine will work with Anjali and Disability Section student members on a staffing schedule so that students can assist at the Accessibility Booth. Catherine mentioned that most Philadelphia Convention Center Staff will not have the background to be as effective as student members might be; however, she will assist in training the staff who cover the Booth before the conference (e.g., communication access issues).


Anna has asked Catherine and Tony and the Disability Section student members to provide additional staff from 8:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Catherine will meet with Accessibility Booth staff the first thing each morning to provide training, and all staff will have Catherine and Tony’s cell phone numbers. In the conversation with Anna, Catherine requested that when food tables are set up, the food be offered on a single table level for all APHA Section level functions.  She suggested that this accommodation be planned as part of APHA food order submissions. Stephen Gilson thanked Catherine for her good work on food service accessibility. He suggested training catering staff on how and when to ask if people need help with their food.  Catherine said she would be ready to do this.


Catherine mentioned that she has two Accessibility sub-committee members: 1) Bill Scott of Disability Unlimited who has done a session on accessibility; 2) Rie Suzuki (University of Michigan, Flint


Catherine asked that Section Councilors send her items they would like to see in the survey.


Chair’s Forum, Chair-Elect Stephen Gilson

Jim asked Stephen to update councilors on the conversation that Gloria, Jim and Stephen had about the Chair’s Forum.


An announcement will be sent out to people to elicit submissions for presentations. Jim and Stephen will finalize the abstract for the announcement after this call. Stephen said the Chair’s Forum will allow for the presentation of work in-progress. Papers would be limited to 10-15 minutes.  



Jim Rimmer closed the meeting at 12:00 p.m. (EST). The next Disability Section Council meeting will be held May 7th at 11:00 a.m. (EST). Minutes submitted by Secretary Meg Traci.







April 2, 2009


Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP

Executive Director


800 I Street, N.W.

Washington DC 20001-3710




Dear Dr. Benjamin;


I am writing to sincerely thank you for the letter sent on March 31, 2009 to Secretary Hillary Clinton regarding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This letter represents an important milestone for the Disability Section. Our collaborative work with Jirair Ratevosian the Advocacy Chair of the APHA International Section was extremely gratifying. We also worked with colleagues in the disability community around the country to draft the letter.


The Disability Section feels this letter represents a milestone in our Section’s young life. It demonstrates our international perspective and the important place APHA holds in the national dialogue about the rights of people with disabilities.


Please let us know if you see any opportunities to continue to work on the promotion of the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 






Suzanne McDermott, PhD













Jim Rimmer

To be filled by Chair-elect in 2009



Gloria Krahn

To be filled by current chair in 2009



(new term:


Stephen Gilson

To be elected in 2010—this is at our request to allow for leadership transition

Sec Councilor-

Program Chair


Stephen Kaye

To be filled by program chair-elect in 2010

Program-Chair Elect



To be elected in 2009



Meg Traci

To be elected in 2011



Willi Horner-Johnson

To be elected in 2010

Communications Chair


Roberta Carlin

To be elected in 2010

Sec. Councilor-Membership Chair


George Jesien

To be elected in 2010

Policy Chair


Suzanne McDermott

To be filled for three year term in 2009; two years thereafter





Sec. Councilor-

Awards Chair


Jennifer Rowland

To be elected in 2011

Accessibility Co-Chairs


Catherine Graham

Tony Cahill

To be elected in 2011

Student Liaison


Jana Peterson/

Anjali Truitt

Annually elected

Governing Councilor 1


Don Lollar

To be elected in 2009

Governing Councilor 2


Charles Drum

To be elected in 2010