Open letter to Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association

As APHA members and Section leaders, we cheer and applaud you for working with Al Gore and partners to revive the cancelled CDC conference on Climate Change. Many of us were seriously concerned with the self-censoring by CDC as a harbinger of worse things to come. The solution supported by APHA is a great inspiration to us.

We vigorously urge you to continue taking strong positions against Executive Orders and laws that would jeopardize the health, safety, and lives of women, children, and men in the U.S. and around the world.

We look to you, as Executive Director of APHA, to lead our 25,000-member strong professional association in speaking out against laws and policies that harm health. With regulatory protections, programs, and budgets for public health now under attack, it is incumbent upon us as public health professionals to remain true to our values, principles, and responsibilities. This may require extraordinary courage in the coming months and years. But that’s APHA’s role. If there is any time in the history of APHA to take a strong stand it is now. Taking the lead to educate the President, his staff, the Congress, and the American people on the science of public health is clearly within the mandate of APHA. Urging Congress to maintain programs and budgets to avoid illness and save lives of women, children, and men who could be denied their right to health and health care is critical. The undersigned APHA Sections, Caucuses, Committees and Student Assembly are particularly concerned most immediately about the executive order that reinstates and expands the scope of the Mexico City Policy (also known as the “Global Gag Rule”) and other threats of massive cuts in foreign assistance for health. Other major issues of concern abound.

If you need support to assist with external communication for this urgent and ongoing endeavor, please call on us as members to help draft press releases or whatever communication is needed. APHA’s many policy statements on climate change, global and domestic maternal, infant and child morbidity and mortality, global and domestic reproductive health and family planning, HIV/AIDS, malaria/zika/other infectious tropical diseases, tobacco control, gun control, war, refugees, ACA, social and health inequity in the U.S., etc. include information on the science for our arguments that can be quickly translated into press releases and other forms of communication. Your efforts in representation of the public health professional community are greatly valued and appreciated.
Signatories to this letter on behalf of their respective APHA Component

International Health – Chair, Laura C. Altobelli, DrPH, MPH

Aging and Public Health – Chair, Caryn Etkin, PhD, MPH

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs – Chair, Linda J. Frazier, MA, RN, MCHES

Chiropractic Health Care – Chair, Michael Haneline, DC, MPH

Community Health Planning & Policy Development – Chair, Ashley Wennerstrom, PhD, MPH

Disability – Chair, Willi Horner-Johnson, PhD

Environment – Chair, Megan Weil Latshaw, PhD, MHS

Epidemiology – Chair, Elquemedo Oscar Alleyne, DrPH

Ethics – Chair, Stephanie St. Pierre

Health Administration – Chair, Brian C. Martin, PhD, MBA

HIV/AIDS – Chair, Randolph D. Huback, PhD, MPH

Injury Control and Emergency Health Services – Chair, Lara McKenzie, PhD, MA

Integrative Complementary Traditional Health Practices – Chair, Dr. Sivarama Prasad Vinjamury

Maternal and Child Health – Chair, Deborah Allen, ScD

Medical Care – Chair, James C. Wohlleb, MD

Mental Health – Chair, Margaret Walkover, MPH

Oral Health – Chair, Scott L. Tomar, DMD, MPH, DrPH

Physical Activity – Chair, Andrew T. Kasczinski, PhD

Public Health Nursing – Lisa A. Campbell, DNP, RN, APHN-BC

Public Health Education and Health Promotion – Chair, Heather M. Brandt, PhD, CHES

Population, Reproductive and Sexual Health – Chair, Lee Dooley, MPH, MCHES

Public Health Social Work – Chair, Julia F. Hastings, PhD, MSW

School Health and Services – Chair, Julie Gast, PhD, MCHES

Vision Care – Chair, Glen T. Steele, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

Student Assembly – Chair, Mrs. Rachael N. Reed

February 6, 2017

Additional signatories to this letter to Dr. Benjamin on behalf of their respective APHA Component since February 6, 2017:

Applied Public Health Statistics Section – Chair, Charles DiSogra, DrPH, MPH

American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus – Chair, Babette Galang

Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health – Chair, Gabriel M. Garcia, PhD, MA, MP

Black Caucus of Health Workers – Chair, Apryl Brown

Committee on Health Equity – Chair, Jack Tsai, PhD

Committee on Women ́s Rights – Chair, Constance Jackson, MPH, CEIO

Peace Caucus – Chair, Robert M. Gould, MD

Spirit of 1848 Caucus – Chair, Nancy Kreiger, PhD

Women’s Caucus – Chair, Sarah Gareau, DrPH

February 21, 2017

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