APHA's Annual Meeting theme is decided each year by the APHA Governing Council (after review by APHA's Science Board) to provide direction for the general session, scientific sessions, exhibiting companies and design. Many of the scientific sessions focus on the theme. But sessions will cover all aspects of public health, including those outside the theme.
2021 Theme — Creating the Healthiest Nation — Strengthening Social Connectedness
From increases in substance misuse and suicide, to reduced quality of life among older adults, the impacts of widespread social isolation are all around us. Public health policies and practices can help counter social isolation by strengthening social cohesion and connectedness. And we can showcase examples and stories that bring attention to hopefulness and connected communities and families to counteract isolation and despair. The time is ripe to highlight communities and initiatives across the country working to restore belonging, trust and connectedness and the emerging research and findings of how public health — working alongside other key sectors — can contribute to environments where healing, hopefulness and aspiration can grow.
2020 Theme — Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence
Violence is a leading cause of premature death, particularly among children, adolescents and young adults. This serious health and public health threat directly impacts life and limb, lowers life expectancy and undermines future achievement. Both deadly violence and the high incidence of non-fatal violent injuries are major concerns, taking an enormous economic toll on the health care system and damaging quality of life. Being a victim or witness of violence can lead to and worsen mental, emotional and social problems, chronic illnesses and marginalization.
Violence and the threat of violence limit the ability of individuals, families and communities to have healthy, whole lives. Yet research and practice have demonstrated violence is not inevitable and can be prevented. Public health must work with other sectors to prevent violence in all of its forms and across the lifespan. Using a public health approach, we can address the structures and root causes that contribute to this burden and work to change these underlying conditions in homes, schools and communities. We must continue to implement prevention efforts that help provide the opportunity for all to live their lives to their greatest potential.
2019 Theme — Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health.
As public health professionals in the 21st century, we strive to create the healthiest nation. We build on three core principles that guide our work — science, to identify ways to prevent and treat disease, and to make the healthy choice the easy choice; action, to use our minds, our hearts, our feet, our experience and our diversity, collectively, to promote change and defeat health challenges; and health, to ensure health equity and access to care for everyone, in every community.
Everyone has a role to play in creating a healthier nation. In light of today’s most pressing health issues, science and advocacy are the keys to developing health equity to improve the lives of people locally, nationally and worldwide.
APHA identifies and shares innovative strategies to demonstrate how cooperation between organizations, governments, communities, public health disciplines and the public can improve health outcomes. And we will continue to use evidence-based research to transform a sick care system to one of prevention and wellness. The Annual Meeting gives more than 12,000 public health professionals an opportunity to put science and action to work to achieve a healthier nation.
2018 Theme — Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now
Creating health equity is a guiding priority and core value of APHA. By health equity, we mean everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Health equity is a health, economic, human rights and social justice issue that calls for fairness. Health equity addresses inclusion along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation and disability.
To become the healthiest nation, we must eliminate health disparities and dismantle the systems and structures that prevent individuals and communities from reaching their full potential.
APHA is uniquely positioned to galvanize and lead a national conversation on health equity. The Annual Meeting gives 12,000+ public health professionals an opportunity to be a key part of that conversation
2017 Theme — Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health
Climate Change is happening today and it undeniably poses many risks to our health, making it the greatest public health challenge. As public health professionals, we need to work towards safeguarding all communities against climate risks by protecting people’s health, wellbeing, and quality of life from climate change impacts.
One defining aspect of being the healthiest nation means that everyone has the opportunity to prepare for, protect their families from, and rebuild after a climate event. The 2017 APHA Annual Meeting marked the cornerstone of the Year of Climate Change and Health. Learn more about the health impacts of climate change.
See past APHA Annual Meeting & Expo themes on our Past and Future Annual Meetings page.