APHA Mid-Year Meeting

Below is a post from past section chair, Dr. Miriam Labbock, who is representing the IH Section at this year’s APHA Mid-Year Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dear All:
I am at the mid-year meeting of APHA representing the IH Section – as well I might, as there only seem to be a handful at most of section members here. We gathered together at a break to see who was here…BUT HERE’S MY VOTE THAT WE GET MORE INVOLVED IN THIS MEETING FOR NEXT YEAR!!! It has little to no section or affiliate politicking and actually sticks pretty much to public health issues, and gives sufficient time for discussion and networking. If we can add in a little IH, this could serve as an excellent alternative to the possibly missing GHC opportunity, with some a solid learning time.!

Yesterday, the first day, we had a keynote speech by Dr Don Berwick, guru of improving quality in the health care setting. While he stuck pretty much close to his comfort zone by his own admission, some of the questions pulled him out to discuss public health. Bottom line: huge call for increased communication between clinical and public health agendas.

Luckily, today, the keynote was Dr Mike McGinnis, who is well known in US Public Health circles. His talk much more directly addressed the question of how to increase the dialogue and mutual action. I encourage you all to read his comments, which I am told will be on line on the APHA website soon.

Last night, we had a special session planned to discuss the supreme court decision on ACA. Of course, the decision will not be until Thursday, but there were some interesting points made. In the immigration case, the Supreme Court made a big deal of the fact that they cannot make a judgement on something that is not yet in place…so this heartened the crowd that the provisions that have not as yet been implemented may be safe…we shall see.

Breakout sessions that I attended included “Building the Evidence Base for Public Health” where the take home message was very familiar to those of us who work in other countries: you need ‘evidence’ that is more relevant to action planning! Great speakers. Again, I would encourage you to visit the site. Shiriki offered a bit on the L.E.A.D. approach that may be relevant and all the speakers were innovative and interesting. The next was on Building Community Action – again, I think we are way ahead of the game in IH, but it was good to hear about domestic efforts to involve all stakeholders in health planning. All sessions pretty much addressed increasing activity (for obesity and coronary and diabetes) and decreasing sweet drinks. Lots of sidewalks in the discussion. I wish there has been some other topics, but it was very eye opening to see how state-side public health units have to function. My hats off to them – so many bureaucratic hurdles…

Stay tuned, because tomorrow the discussion will further highlight…ACA, of course! Let’s see what the Supreme Court comes up with!!

Best wishes to all, Miriam

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