July 2009 Minutes

American Public Health Association

Disability Section Minutes

Monthly Meeting

Conference Call


July 2, 2009



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

Council members not present: Roberta S. Carlin (Communications Chair), H. Stephen Kaye (Program Chair), Don Lollar (Governing Council Representative).

Special Guest: Dr. Lyndon Haviland.


Opening: Jim Rimmer opened the conference call meeting at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) prompting roll call and discussion of minutes from the June 4, 2009 meeting.


Minutes: The June 4, 2009 meeting minutes were approved as corrected (mover: Suzanne McDermott; seconder: Catherine Graham).


Introduction: Dr. Lyndon Haviland introduced herself and described that in her role as the APHA Executive Board Liaison for the Disability Section, she would  carry our issues to the Executive Board that meets twice per year and more regularly by conference call. The Executive Board is concerned with APHA’s financial and outlook matters (e.g., support for APHA’s office building in Washington, D.C.; APHA budget gains, primarily from revenue of annual meetings) and focuses on key priorities for APHA (e.g., stemming from APHA survey findings indicating APHA is a secondary membership for many professionals, how to engage APHA members more deeply and increase the value of membership so that people will maintain their secondary membership). Dr. Haviland reported that some APHA staff members who have left will not be replaced.


In terms of policy, APHA’s No. 1 priority is health care reform, and Dr. Haviland prompted the Disability Section to ensure that the language is comprehensive for disability issues. When the Executive Board meets in the spring, the members want to see comprehensive health care reform legislation that has true public health and prevention components.


Dr. Haviland has worked primarily in International Health. She has experience fundraising for a Disability Focus Group and has worked with disability populations in Asia.


She currently is on faculty at the Joseph Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. There was some discussion about educating public health professionals on disability and health issues (e.g., integration of disability and health content into existing curriculum; invited speakers, use of the new Disability and Public Heath text book, etc.).


She said that email is the best method to contact her. Jim thanked Dr. Haviland for attending today’s call.


Gloria asked Dr. Haviland about how to participate in Health Care Reform through APHA. Dr. Haviland said there are Action Alerts and the Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT) Committee (of the Action Report) Reports (e.g., http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyres/7464CC59-5825-4026-ACB1-9038939ED91B/0/AdvocacyCoordinatingTeam.pdf) and both help her tailor her input as a member. She also suggested sending statements to Donald Hopper, APHA Director of Government Affairs, and to Dr. Benjamin directly.


Student Section, Chair Anjali Truitt

The Student Assembly distributed a Later Breaker Call For Abstracts for the 2009 APHA Meetings in Philadelphia. Anjali also reported on the survey of student members of the Disability Section. Findings revealed a need for a student newsletter that would include items such as volunteer opportunities and career development. To this end, Anjali met with Roberta who suggested creating a student committee (e.g., five to six students) to brainstorm ideas to plug into a format (e.g., an email blast). Jim summarized that there was a strong sense of support for student communications while underscoring the intense time commitments of a monthly newsletter. Jim encouraged Anjali to continue her discussion with Roberta about maintaining a newsletter. Charles recommended reducing the number of newsletters to use resources efficiently and meet the need. 


There was an update about student members providing assistance to support staff at the 2009 APHA meetings in Philadelphia (see below). George reported there were 34 student members currently.


Membership, Chair George Jesien

George reported that the Disability Section has increased membership by 0.8% to 250 members. He will have detailed report next time. George said that the more prominent booth space was reserved for the 2009 APHA meetings.


George asked councilors to think of ways to cover his duties during the 2009 APHA meetings.  (George will be at the AUCD meetings in D.C. during the APHA meetings).


Accessibility, Co-Chairs Catherine Graham and Tony Cahill

Catherine has been organizing student staffing for the Accessibility Booth at the 2009 APHA meetings in Philadelphia (Saturday through Tuesday, 7:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. and Wednesday, 7:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.). Student volunteers may get a free pass for one alternate day at the conference. Catherine contacted the Jefferson and Magee Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center in Philadelphia to recruit volunteers for the Accessibility Booth and as a strategy to recruit new members. The new Physical Activity SPIG is hosting a Fun Run/Walk at the 2009 Philadelphia meetings, and Catherine is working with the SPIG on the accessibility of the route and also is trying to recruit Jefferson and Magee graduates and Disability Section members to join the informal walk/run. It is tentatively scheduled for 6AM Tuesday morning.


Treasurer, Willi Horner-Johnson

Willi worked with Noelle Wiggins to revise the letter to NACCHO members and shared the revised letter with the NACCHO Health and Disability workgroup. The workgroup approved the letter, and Noelle forwarded it to the appropriate NACCHO staff seeking their approval to distribute the letter with APHA Disability Section brochures to NACCHO members. Willi also sent the revised letter to Jessica Murray at APHA for review.


Willi is waiting to hear from CDC about status of the Disability Section’s carry forward request.


Willi has what she needs to order menus for the Section Council meeting on Sunday morning and the Disability Section social meeting on Monday evening. She also is getting a menu request form for the ‘Meet the Disability Section’ reception scheduled for Sunday evening. Willi is requesting on these forms that food be arranged on one-level tables.  


Policy, Chair Suzanne McDermott

Suzanne reported on transportation policies that she has been working on with Amanda (lead) about the importance of transportation to people with disabilities and about disability-specific transportation issues.


Suzanne shared that the Huffington Post carried an article about President Obama’s signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD) and noted that Dr. Benjamin’s letter to Secretary Clinton voicing APHA’s support of the UN-CRPD was reported in the article: See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-lublin/obamas-chance-to-lead-sig_b_223976.html


Suzanne reported that she had voiced the Disability Section’s: 1) lack of support for A5: Access to Health Care for Gaza Residents; and 2) support for A8: The Role of Public Health Practitioners, Academics, and Advocates in Relation to Armed Conflict and War and its discussion of the impacts war has on persons with disabilities and the increases in disability from war. Suzanne thanked Disability Section Councilors for their input.


Gloria prompted further discussion of Dr. Haviland’s suggestions for getting involved in APHA policy making. During this discussion, Suzanne reported that she has been working with Donald Hopper to include language inclusive of persons with disabilities and disability issues. Suzanne also mentioned the opportunity to increase input on disability within APHA Legislative Updates.

Suzanne also acknowledged that we need to spend time developing strategies (e.g., committee work) to respond quickly to Action Alerts and to ACT Reports.  To this point, Suzanne has been responding for the Disability Section primarily as an individual.


Gloria followed up with Dr.Haviland about how we could put forward some standard language to Dr. Benjamin that other organizations (e.g., CCD) have developed. This language is more inclusive of persons with disabilities within health care reform. Dr. Haviland pointed to the success the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus had educating APHA on language more inclusive of American Indian, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Dr. Haviland said she would ask the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus for permission to share their work. Suzanne mentioned that she has been discussing this type of language within the context of health disparities language. Dr. Haviland encouraged repetition on these educational points. Gloria suggested asking if the Disability Section could review the health disparities letter and to send a ‘thank you’ letter if disability is appropriately included.


Charles briefly described the APHA Policy 20042 (Reducing health disparities in people with disabilities) resolution, and Dr. Haviland suggested working with the ACT Board to educate those members about that policy. Charles suggested developing a resolution on health disparities and persons with disabilities, and Dr. Haviland indicated a level of support for this in the Governing Council.


Jim prompted a discussion of ‘Who will do this?’ Suzanne recommended integrating this initiative into the orientation of the new policy chair.


Jim mentioned to Dr. Haviland that Dr. Benjamin had joined our call in the spring and seemed receptive to suggestions of the Disability Section.


Awards, Chair Jennifer Rowland

Jennifer thanked her sub-committee (Dot Nary, David Keer, Elizabeth Depoy, Jana Peterson, and an adhoc sub-committee member, Ann Goerdt) for their work on awards selection. The sub-committee met the June 15th deadline for submission of award announcements for the APHA program. Jennifer is alerting nominators first before making an announcement about winners.  The Student Award winner will receive a one- year membership to APHA.  The Awards sub-committee is continuing to develop a proposal to the Disability Section Council concerning the nomination and selection processes for the new award(s) for other Sections. This sub-committee also is working on the criteria for the current award using experience from this year’s recruitment and selection processes (e.g., develop an evaluation scheme (points) and translate to criteria for next year’s awards). 


Dr. Haviland mentioned that the APHA Student Assembly has a mentoring award and that Disability Section students could nominate their mentor. Jennifer will gather more information on that award for the sub-committee.


Elections, Chair Gloria Krahn

Jim sent an email to Natasha and Fran. Gloria has not heard anything. Natasha said that the election results would be announced in a newsletter. Gloria asked for follow-up conversation with Jim about the re-vote.


Chair’s Forum, Chair-Elect Stephen Gilson

The Call for Papers (addendum) will be distributed through a variety of channels. Submissions will be sent. 3-5 page papers. Two weeks prior to APHA meetings, abstracts (200-300 word abstract and bio) to go out by August 7th. 



Jim Rimmer closed the meeting at 12:05 p.m. (EST). The next Disability Section Council meeting will be held August 6, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. (EST). Minutes submitted by Secretary Meg Traci.