American Public Health Association
800 I Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001-3710
(202) 777-APHA • Fax: (202) 777-2534 •

February 2009 Minutes

American Public Health Association

Disability Section Minutes

Monthly Meeting

Conference Call


February 5, 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), George Jesien (Membership Chair), H. Stephen Kaye (Program Chair), Gloria Krahn (Past Chair/Elections Chair), Don Lollar (Governing Council Representative), 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). ************************************************************************

Opening: Chair Jim Rimmer opened the conference call meeting at 11:00 a.m. (EST) prompting roll call and discussion of minutes from the January 8, 2009 meeting.



The January 8, 2009 meeting minutes were approved as corrected (mover: Suzanne McDermott; seconder: Catherine Graham).


Policy, Suzanne McDermott

Suzanne reported that APHA is writing letters ‘every day’ to the U.S. Congress, many emphasizing the importance of public health infrastructure and initiatives to  employment outcomes and the economic recovery package (H.R. 1 ).


Suzanne asked for input on how to focus our policy efforts to integrate disability issues into APHA policy initiatives. She had prompted this discussion in her 1/21/09 and 2/3/09 emails to Disability Section Council members wherein she listed APHA policies that needed revision or leadership and were of importance to people with disabilities.

This is the policies list from Suzanne’s 1/21/09 email:

·         Policy # 9005- Need for Coverage of In-Home and Community Long-Term Care (policy date 1/1/1990)

·         Policy # 8001- National Home Care Policy for System Development and Funding (policy date 1/1/1980)

·         Policy # 2002-3 – Support for Healthy Aging through health promotion and prevention of disease and injury (policy date 11/13/2002)

·         Policy # 8328- Aging women’s health issues (policy date 1/1/1983)

·         Policy # 20035- Including the supportive housing resident population in national surveys (policy date 11/18/2003)


Suzanne began the discussion stating that based on her review, none of the policies had outdated content or language needing correction. She said there were editing opportunities, but that in general, she thought our efforts on policy could be better spent on other activities. Steve Kaye agreed. For example, based on his review of Policy #9005, the long-term care (LTC) language could be improved, but it was not incorrect and that the policy covered Disability Section interests. Additionally, he thought Policy #20035 is still relevant, and the language is fine. Jim added that he thought the emailed policies were more related to interests of the Gerontological Health Section than specific interests of the Disability Section. Jim noted that “Disability” is mentioned only once, and while Suzanne said there was potential to insert “disability” in these policies, that not much would be gained. Don summarized that we had consensus not to get involved in these policy revisions.


Suzanne moved the discussion to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its accompanying optional protocol. The International Health Section does not want to take the lead, and APHA has asked the Disability Section to do so. Suzanne said she was comfortable undertaking the related activities. She summarized the emails she had received from the majority of the Disability Section Council members affirming that we should pursue this lead role.


Suzanne asked for input on how to get involved in APHA policy activities proactively. As an example activity, she discussed APHA’s letter writing to the U.S. Congress suggesting that it would be more effective to influence that process than start our own. Additionally, Suzanne wondered what role the APHA Policy 20042 (Reducing health disparities in people with disabilities) could play in integrating disability issues into APHA policy and processes. Jim suggested that he could participate with Suzanne on the February 9 APHA Legislative call and invite other interested Disability Section Council members to join them. Together they might be able to identify APHA topics that may be inclusive of disability issues, e.g., underserved populations.  Jim said that after the February 9th meeting, he and Suzanne (and other interested members) could meet to define questions and next steps. After this conversation, Jim will email Diane Conti for insights on APHA processes (e.g., development of letters that Executive Director Benjamin signs and are sent to House Speaker Palosi) and for guidance on how disability issues can be integrated into these processes. Suzanne and Jim will report back at a future Disability Section Council meeting.


George suggested that the Disability Section could look at the CDC Disability and Health External Partners Group’s (EPG) recent policy efforts. He will email letters this group developed to represent EPG priorities in the legislative planning process. George mentioned that the process APHA follows to communicate with the U.S. Congress, may be difficult to influence. He described that when Benjamin writes a letter, it’s through APHA, and we could try to add a couple points, by working with Diane Conti to Benjamin, to include people with disabilities (e.g., to include developmental disorders in early childhood screenings agenda and secondary conditions and chronic disease prevention with people with disabilities in prevention agenda). George underscored APHA’s size and influence indicating that our ability to influence APHA’s agenda and language could carry through to changes in legislative language affecting programs and services.


In response to the Council’s need for more information on APHA’s health care reform agenda, Jim sent two emails to Fran Atkinson requesting a phone conference with Executive Director Benjamin.


Suzanne’s second question was: “Does the Disability Section want to take an advocacy role to influence priorities in the stimulus package?” George said that  the EPG sent a letter with recommendations to direct stimulus dollars to APHA and priority public health and disabilities issues. George mentioned that he could share language from the letter with Suzanne. Suzanne thought that the language may have to come from the Section, and wondered if vague/broad language would help. George and Roberta thought that APHA may need the Disability Section to provide some broad language (e.g., prevention of secondary conditions) to facilitate integration of disability issues into its policies. Many organizations are using broad language, and the kind of broad language would be acceptable to our Section members (e.g., prevention of secondary conditions). Jim summarized that what the EPG and what the Disability Section hope to accomplish in terms of the stimulus package have similarities. George will send a copy of the EPG letter out to the whole group (attached)


Elections, Gloria Krahn


Gloria Krahn has emailed: 1) Elections Sub-committee members; and 2) Roberta with information to forward to Disability Section members. Initially, Gloria asked those interested in the following positions to call/email her: 1) Treasurer; 2) Communications Chair; 3) Membership chair; 4) Policy Chair; 5) Program Chair-Elect; and 6) two Governing Council representatives. However, after Jim noted that our new Section status means that some Disability Council position  term lengths now are three years (per Natasha Williams), Gloria asked Council members in positions whether they would consider serving a third year. Willi, Roberta, and George agreed to do so. Suzanne mentioned that she had served three years as Policy Chair. Several positions—such as policy chair and accessibility chair are specific to the Disability Section Council.  We are unclear how many section councilor positions a Section can have, and which portfolios have been assigned to those positions.  Gloria will clarify with Fran Atkinson the positions that are open for re-election this year.


Don Lollar asked for clarification on terms for Governing Council (GC) representatives. Charles indicated that this, too, changed as a result of Section status. Jim provided additional clarification in a 3/8/09 email to Meg—" Each section has 2-4 GC positions depending on the size of the section (we (Disability Section) have two and one is up for election this year).” Suzanne mentioned that she would like to apply her experience as Policy Chair as a Governing Council representative in the future.


Issues to clarify include: 1) term length (i.e., two v. three years) for Program Chair (currently, two years) and Chair (Chair elect- two years; Chair-two years; Past Chair/Elections Chair- two years); 2) retention of positions specific to the Disability Section; 3) Election processes for Disability Section positions specific to this council (e.g., not in APHA elections template);  4) term lengths for  positions specific to this Council including those cited above and the Accessibility (co) chair position(s). Since the first issue is relevant to opening positions, Gloria said she will ask Fran for extra time on getting the nomination slate into APHA. Gloria did not get a letter or email from Fran A. about available positions. Gloria will ask Fran Atkinson for further clarification on the notification process for needed position elections and above issues.  Also, Gloria mentioned that the Disability Section Council used to a have a chart tracking members’ service in various positions to aid elections planning. Don will try to locate this chart to email Gloria.


Program, Steve Kaye

Steve reported distributing broadly the 2009 APHA Disability Section Call for Abstracts (e.g., emailed to approximately 240 Disability Section members; all other potential presenters and attendees he knew). To date, there were 20 completed abstract submissions. Steve said that this is the usual trend—i.e., relatively few submissions at the process beginning and most submissions completed near the process deadline. In preparation for the abstract submission review process, Steve updated the reviewer list, adding many new people. He also emailed a survey on reviewer preferences, and most reviewers have completed the survey. Preliminary results indicate that he has reviewers for every topic. Steve reported that he is revising the review criteria to solicit theory- as well as data-driven presentations and work from new presenters to the Disability Section. He plans to fill program gaps using APHA’s unsolicited mechanism for abstract submissions.


Steve asked for feedback on the APHA Epidemiology Section’s request to collaborate on an Access to Healthcare By People With Disabilities session. Erin Mendelsohn, the Epidemiology Section Program Chair, projected that more than 50 Epidemiology Section members will attend. Erin asked Steve to organize the session and committed himself to recruitment of attendees. First, Steve and Jim voiced their enthusiasm for this partnership then Catherine, Gloria, and Roberta affirmed their support.


Jim and Steve reported on their discussions of a session focused on health care reform and people with disabilities. The Epidemiology Section will co-sponsor this session, and Jim will organize. Jim said the timeline for getting things done was tight. Jim had suggestions for presenters from George Caldwell-- Mary Andres and Jeff Crowley. George added that Jeff Crowley was expert on CMS but wondered if Crowley’s position would allow him to speak about reform issues. Other suggestions included Henry Claypool, Peter Thomas, and Bobby Silverstein.


Steve reported that someone from Special Olympics, Inc. requested a session of Special Olympics research presentations in the 2009 Disability Section Program. Don stated that Disability Section Council has received these kinds of requests in the past. The response has been to direct researchers to the standard submission process.


Jim said that he was considering not having a Chair’s Forum citing poor attendance of previous Chair Forums as reason. Jim was recently elected to a Board of Councilors at CDC to advise the Coordinating Center on Health Promotion’s monetary expenditures. Through this service, he had discussions of the social determinants of health and CDC’s recently published text on global perspectives on social determinants of health by Michael Marmot. Stephen Gilson mentioned that the Chair’s Forum can facilitate conversations about conceptual theoretical frameworks. Stephen wondered if social determinants was the next theoretical construct for the Disability Section to consider and discuss. Gloria agreed this was good idea. Don said Marilyn Metzler was the CDC lead on social determinants and Donald Patrick teaches social determinants at the University of Washington. Meg mentioned that such presentations could be promoted or published a DHJO issue. Gloria provided format of previous Chair’s Forums—full day, not a large crowd, people came prepared with papers in progress to present. Stephen volunteered to work on this year’s forum.


Awards, Jennifer Rowland


Jennifer reported that APHA’s deadline to include awardees in the 2009 Program is June 15th. In addition to Dot Nary, Jennifer Rowland, and Jana Peterson, David Keer and Liz DePoi are serving with Jennifer on the Awards Sub-committee.


Jennifer said she would email Section Council members for input about the Section member requirement for award recipients.


[EMAIL UPDATE: Subsequent to the February Disability Section Council meeting (2/15/09), Jennifer emailed Disability Section Council members the Awards Sub-committee’s four recommendations, developed with solicited input from Disability Section Council members. In this email, Jennifer also included the requirements for each award. Relevant excerpts follow:  


1.      Removing the requirement that nominators for any of the awards need to be members of the Disability Section;

2.      Add a 1-year free APHA and Disability Section membership for student award winners;

3.      Keep requirements that nominees for the Allan Meyers Award and the New Investigator Award must be members of the Disability Section;

4.      Remove Disability Section membership requirements for nominees of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Student Award.

___ Lifetime Achievement Award: This award is presented to a person who, over the course of his or her career, has made a major contribution to the improvement of health and quality of life for people with disabilities in one or more areas of research, teaching, or advocacy. Nominees are not required to be members of the Disability Section of APHA.

____ Allan Meyers Award: This award is presented to a person who has combined excellence across the areas of research, teaching and advocacy to improve the health and quality of life for people with disabilities. Nominees are required to be members of the Disability Section of APHA.

___ APHA DisAbility Forum Student Member Award: This award is presented to a student who has conducted promising work to advance the health and quality of life of people with disabilities. Nominees are not required to be members of the Disability Section of APHA. A one-year Disability Section membership will be included as part of the award.

___New Investigator Award: This award recognizes a newer investigator who demonstrates evidence of a promising career in public health research in the area of health and wellness for people with disabilities.

Eligibility Criteria:

· The nominee must have been awarded his or her degree within eight calendar years of the nomination. (For example, for a nomination submitted anytime in 2009, the nominee must have been awarded the degree on or after 1/1/2001.)

· Evidence documenting a nominee’s successful development as a new investigator must be provided. This evidence must include a minimum of one peer-reviewed publication for which the nominee has taken a substantial role.

· The nominee must be a member of the Disability Section of APHA.]



Jim Rimmer closed the meeting at 12:00 p.m. (EST). The next Disability Section Council meeting will be held March 5 at 11:00 a.m. (EST). Minutes submitted by Secretary Meg Traci.