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American Public Health Association concludes its 142nd Annual Meeting in New Orleans
New Orleans, Nov. 19, 2014 — The American Public Health Association concluded its 142nd Annual Meeting and Exposition today in New Orleans, La., where more than 12,500 public health officials and experts from around the world came together to present the latest research and explore new strategies to address today’s leading health challenges.
The Annual Meeting began Nov. 15 with the Opening General Session, featuring addresses by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson, Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak and New Orleans Health Department Director Charlotte Parent. Video of the opening session speakers is available on APHA’s YouTube Channel.
On Monday, APHA hosted a scientific session with six current or former U.S. surgeons general, including Lushniak, Antonia Novello, Joycelyn Elders, David Satcher, Regina Benjamin and Steven Galson. The panel’s distinguished tenures spanned four administrations and more than 15 years.
“Every now and then our nation has this fascinating discussion about whether or not we need a top doc,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “From my position at APHA, I think the answer is clear. Using the bully pulpit since the beginning of the Commissioned Corps and the Office of the Surgeon General, we’ve been able to make a profound impact on the health of Americans.”
APHA’s Annual Meeting is the largest public health gathering in the world bringing together some of the most influential health advocates, researchers, practitioners and other specialists.
Centered on the theme “Healthography: How Where You Live Affects Your Health and Well-Being,” the meeting focused on ways that your ZIP code impacts health, from access to healthy food, the environment and transportation to jobs, safe housing and more.
The meeting provided a forum to address a broad range of public health issues, including a presentation by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s comprehensive strategy to reduce murders in the city, “NOLA FOR LIFE.” The meeting also hosted APHA’s Public Health Codeathon joining tech developers and public health practitioners to help create mobile apps and other health innovations, and a Social Media Lab, co-hosted by APHA and AIDS.gov, that provided attendees one-on-one training from social media experts.
Additionally, a wide array of new research related to this year’s theme was released to coincide with the meeting, including presentations on the following health topics:
- Alcohol tax increases reduce the harms resulting from excessive alcohol consumption, and may lead to a small net increase in the number of jobs;
- Citywide supermarket access among New Orleans residents is equivalent to what it was before Hurricane Katrina;
- Individuals who frequently cook at home tend to maintain a healthier diet than those who cook less frequently;
- Cesarean section deliveries in the U.S. are associated with high household income, few minorities and below-average education;
- The presence of legislation that encourages HPV vaccine uptake does not correlate with increased vaccination among young men or women;
- For “rational and logical reasons,” residents of rural Guinea often did not cooperate with volunteers and health care workers to stop the spread of Ebola;
- Teens with physical or mental disabilities are more likely to be obese compared to adolescents without disabilities; and
- Smoking prevalence among young adults who frequent bars is at least twice the rate of smoking found among young adults in the general population.
Social media activity among attendees and remote followers was pronounced. Throughout the week, more than 15,000 tweets were generated using the Annual Meeting’s official hashtag, #APHA14.
The 2014 Annual Meeting concluded today with a closing session that focused on implementing a new nationwide health strategy. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey shared her vision for achieving “a culture of health,” which closely aligns with APHA’s new strategic plan of creating the healthiest nation, and was followed by public health experts including Howard Koh, former assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Mary Wakefield, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration; and J.T. Lane, assistant secretary for public health at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
More than 1,000 scientific sessions and roughly 600 exhibit booths showcased the emerging public health research and leading advocacy efforts reflecting the broad impact of the field on people’s lives.
The Annual Meeting marked the beginning of the one-year term of incoming APHA President Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH. Additionally, several new distinguished leaders and officers were elected to guide the meaningful work of the Association, including Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, as president-elect; Ella Greene-Moton; Jeffrey Hallam, PhD; and Resa Jones, PhD.
Broad coverage of this year’s proceedings is available on the APHA Annual Meeting Blog.
Next year’s APHA Annual Meeting will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2015, in Chicago, themed “Health in all policies.”
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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.