Annual Meeting Letter from the IH Section Chair – 2017

Dear International Health Section members,

Greetings to all!  The year since last November’s APHA Annual Meeting has been, shall we say, unconventional, both at home and abroad.  As global health professionals and students, we take the long view, moving forward with optimism and creativity to improve health worldwide.  Making that journey together in a professional organization provides a sense of solidarity and opportunities for effecting a difference – by developing APHA policy statements, participating in global health policy advocacy, and sharing our global health interests, research, and work experiences.

We are greatly looking forward to seeing many of you in Atlanta at the upcoming Annual Meeting!  The IH Section Program Committee has spent much of the past year organizing an outstanding program of 38 scientific panel sessions and nine poster sessions (with 10 papers each) selected from over 200 submitted abstracts. The APHA Global Health Office will also offer 15 panel sessions on topics related to global health. IH students have organized several special sessions and meetings especially for fellow students and early career professionals.

For your convenience, we have prepared a summary of the IH Section Program that you may download here IH Program at-a-glance 2017 .

For those who will be in Atlanta, please come one and all to the IH Section Open House and Networking Session (Session 240.0), to be held on Sunday, November 5 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm. We hope that this Open House will energize new (and not so new) IH members with an overview of the workings of the Section, help you get acquainted with the active work throughout the year of our varied committees and working groups, and provide a networking opportunity to meet old and new like-minded friends and colleagues. In a “speed dating” period, you will be able speak directly with chairs and co-chairs of the committees and working groups that interest you most to see how you can get involved. Many of our committees and working groups will also have their own business meetings during the four-day Annual Meeting that newcomers are welcome to attend. Please check the program.

IH Section members are cordially invited to our social event, the IH Section Awards Ceremony and Reception (Session 425.0) on Tuesday, November 7 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

We are very fortunate to have an outstanding keynote speaker this year at the International Health Luncheon (Session 5148.0) on Wednesday, November 8 from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm.  Paul F. Walker, Ph.D. is the Director of Environmental Security and Sustainability at Green Cross International. You may purchase tickets at the APHA registration desk in Atlanta.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Community-Based Primary Health Care Working Group annual pre-conference workshop on Saturday, November 4 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. This year’s –workshop theme is “Community-Based Primary Health Care and Community Health Workers: Underfunded Afterthought or Key to Achieving Universal Health Care?”  Click here for more information on registration: Community-Based Primary Health Care Pre-Conference: Saturday, November 4th.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Laura C. Altobelli

Chair, International Health Section

American Public Health Association



Laura C. Altobelli, DrPH, MPH

Professor, Franklin (USA)

Country Director, Lima (Peru)

Future Generations University



Office: 511-436-9619


Sign up for an APHA pre-conference on public health communications

Public Health Communicators Workshop & Caucus

Sat, November 4, 2017

12:30 PM – 4:30 PM EDT

Public health professionals help save and improve lives every day – and we can always do a better job telling those stories so that our stakeholders and the public see public health in action. This half-day pre-conference workshop will first provide an interactive session on storytelling for action. Participants will be given tools and a framework, and finish this segment with a clear roadmap for using storytelling to drive action in their work.

Workshop Overview:

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to tweet about it, did it really happen? Public health professionals help save and improve lives every day – and we can always do a better job telling those stories so that our stakeholders and the public see public health in action. This half-day pre-conference workshop will first provide an interactive session on storytelling for action. Participants will be given tools and a framework, and finish this segment with a clear roadmap for using storytelling to drive action in their work. In the second part of the workshop, a “communications caucus” format will allow participants to spend time in small groups where experts will help strategize, troubleshoot, and facilitate sharing of best practices in communications with public health professionals. This will be a highly-interactive session that is appropriate for all public health professionals interested in communications, regardless of familiarity or experience.


  • Identify a workshop model to leverage storytelling for action.
  • Explain how individuals can create frameworks for action-focused storytelling in their public health work.
  • Discuss and share communications practices with peers and communications experts.


Zack Langway, Seed Global Health

Zack Langway is a global health and development professional with deep experience in communications, digital strategy, community organizing, and issue-based advocacy. He is currently the Director of Communications at Seed Global Health. Seed’s unique Global Health Service Partnership strengthens health education and delivery in places facing a dire shortage of health professionals by building local capacity to meet long-term health care human resource needs.

Zack also serves as the Senior Manager for Social Innovation at Johnson & Johnson, a part-time position responsible for developing and stewarding experimental philanthropy activities for the Global Community Impact division.

Eric Hollister Williams, Fenton

Eric Hollister Williams is a Vice President in Fenton’s Washington, D.C. office where he leads accounts in global health, the environment, public lands, and social justice. Eric provides senior counsel to clients in areas of advocacy, strategic communications, and policy. Prior to joining Fenton, Eric worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Ohio. Eric was a foreign affairs legislative assistant for Rep. Karen Bass and also served as the Democratic staff director for the House of Representative’s subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International Organizations. He has worked at the social impact firm williamsworks, Physicians for Human Rights, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and APCO Worldwide. Eric went to Bowdoin College and holds an MPH from Columbia University.

Trish Garrity, Fenton

Trish Garrity is a global health and development communications professional with a specialty in advocacy, partnership management, and digital engagement. She currently works as a Senior Account Executive at Fenton, advising on digital advocacy campaigns and building communications capacity within non profits, foundations, and the private sector. Trish has worked with clients such as Johnson & Johnson, The Lancet, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Save the Children, and Girls Not Brides. Trish puts her Bachelors of Arts in International Relations from Boston University to work by sitting on the Board of H.E.L.P. International Uganda, a nonprofit school and health center for internally displaced persons in Jinja, Uganda.

Sign up here.

Event Invitation: Taking the Pulse of the Expanded Mexico City Policy, 10/19

Posted on behalf of Laura Altobelli, IH Section Chair

Here is an opportunity to hear early research findings on application of Trump’s expanded Global Gag Rule on reproductive health as well as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in 7 countries.


The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) in cooperation with Senator Blumenthal and Senator Shaheen

We invite you to a briefing:

Taking the Pulse of the Expanded Mexico City Policy


2:30 PM – 4:00 PM


First St NE, Washington, D.C. 20515

Refreshments served. Space is limited. RSVP to Annerieke Smaak (

The Trump Administration’s “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy, also known as the global gag rule, is currently due for a six-month review. This expansion and re-branding of the “Mexico City Policy” encompasses all global health assistance, including funds to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Expert speakers will share new research findings on the early impacts of this policy in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. They will also shed light on how previous versions of the policy relate to abortion rates, maternal mortality, and other areas of global health.


Bergen Cooper, Director of Policy Research, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

Vanessa Rios, Program Officer, International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC)

Skye Wheeler, Emergencies Researcher, Women’s Rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Moderator – Nina Besser Doorley, Senior Program Officer, IWHC

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

More than 60% of the newly appointed senior leadership team at the World Health Organization are women.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is demonstrating its commitment to dramatically change the trajectory of cardiovascular disease globally by becoming a member of the World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a hub for global multi-stakeholder collaboration.

A new report from Health Canada found more than 2,000 Canadians made the decision to end their lives with the help of a doctor since medically assisted death became legal in the country.

UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé can happily list the recent successes that the global community has scored against HIV/AIDS. And he can update you on progress of the 90-90-90 targets (by 2020, ensuring 90% of people with HIV will know their status; 90% of people diagnosed will have antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of people being treated will achieve viral suppression).

Preparedness in the face of major disease outbreaks can save thousands of lives: Rapid deployment of effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines may even stop the disease from potentially exploding into a pandemic.

The Chatham House Public Health Africa Policy Forum aims to facilitate the development of evidence-based options that are relevant and appropriate to sustainable health developments in Africa – for consideration by governments, health partners and wider public health stakeholders.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Christopher Plowe, the founding director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and a leading expert on malaria elimination, has been named director of the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI).

Three American scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young, who discovered the circadian rhythm or the “biological clock” have won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.


In a study led by the Oxford Vaccine Group, a typhoid vaccine has been proven to be most effective yet.  More than 100 healthy adults participated in the study.

New research published in The Lancet shows that the number of children and adolescents worldwide has risen tenfold in the last 4 decades.

Diseases & Disasters

The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022.

At least 15 wildfires raged across Northern California in Tuesday, burning at least 73,000 acres and destroying at least 1,500 buildings in the region’s famed Wine Country.

Twenty people are dead following a deadly plague outbreak in Madagascar. The government has banned public gatherings in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar.

Health officials from around the world are meeting in France to commit to preventing 90% of cholera deaths by 2030.


Recent advances in predictive analytics  – the process by which scientists can use data to map the possibility of future outbreaks – could help break the stranglehold malaria has on Africa.

Typhoid fever, caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and spread in food and water, kills almost 200,000 victims a year — many of them young children — in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  But, a new experimental vaccine was a big success.  The trial’s results were published in The Lancet on Thursday: the vaccine turned out to be 87 percent effective.

Marc Deshusses, professor of civil and environmental engineering and global health, is helping to bring sanitary bathroom facilities to people at high risk of diarrheal disease because they lack this basic amenity. He and his team have developed the Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine (ADPL) with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They’re now piloting this low-cost technology at five sites in Kenya, the Philippines and India.

Environmental Health

A 26-year study reveals natural biological factors kick in once warming reaches certain point, leading to potentially unstoppable increase in temperatures.

A new study of 300,000 children across 35 countries has shown that children whose watershed areas have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrhea.

Equity & Disparities

East Asia and the Pacific have the most number of slum dwellers surpassing both sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, according to the World Bank report on urban poverty.

Through its International Global Active City initiative, the International Olympic Committee is promoting health and physical activity in 10 pilot cities.

Researchers in the UK are looking at blood biomarkers to measure the impact of social and economic status.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

A new study shows that less than half of displaced pregnant mothers arriving in Greece have access to care.

The deepening nutrition crisis in Mali has left tens of thousands of children vulnerable to life-threatening malnutrition. The number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition is expected to increase from 142,000 to 165,000 next year.

Setting an Example for LGBT Rights

Around the world, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals face worse health outcomes than the general population. As a result, a large portion of the LGBT community faces mental health issues, injury, violence, suicide, substance abuse and more. We know the problem is in part due to the barriers they face to accessing health care and health professionals being educated in LGBT-related health issues. But because there is relatively little health research on this population globally, the true scope of the global burden is difficult to calculate. These barriers range from denial in care, to inadequate or substandard care, to unwillingness to go to a doctor because of discrimination. Sometimes serious penalties are involved. The most recent news involved the LGBT community in Chechnya (North Caucasus region of Russia), also known as Chechens.  

Canada, a country where leaders of many-if not all- levels of government march alongside the LGBT community in Pride parades, it’s easy to forget that much of the world is still a scary place for LGBT individuals to openly live as such. Don’t get me wrong- not everything is ideal for sexual minorities in Canada either, as many people are victims of bullying or risk of violence and suicide. But these issues are recognized and the Canadian government, in the past few decades, has shown a will to address them. For example, with newly created protections geared towards the transgender community. In the last year a policy was approved that men who have sex with men are allowed to donate blood.

Since last March, Chechnya has been making headlines for its cruel treatment of homosexuals. It was reported that Chechnya’s authorities were detaining over 100 gay men. Eventually more information on this issue surfaced and the details are extremely bone-chilling. Most were arrested and detained from anywhere to a day and up to several weeks, beaten, verbally abused, starved tortured, and forced to reveal the names of others. Continue reading “Setting an Example for LGBT Rights”