Mid-Year Message from Our Chair

Dear International Health (IH) Section members,

At the half-year mark since our 2017 annual meeting in Atlanta, I hope this finds you well and starting plans to attend the 2018 annual meeting in San Diego.  Registration and Housing open on June 4!  Also – please vote for new IH Section leaders – online voting opens any day now!

First, a quick note to summarize global health news from Washington this year.  Despite the Administration request for a one-third reduction for foreign assistance in the federal FY2018 budget proposal (which was not taken to a vote until well into 2018), Congress decided to continue funding at nearly the same level as for FY2017.  For the FY2019 foreign assistance budget, we again face the same 30% reduction request from the Administration which would take effect on Oct. 1, 2018.  Please plan to call your congressional representatives to state your opinion when this comes up for a vote in Congress!

As for IH Section business, we have several new initiatives this year with the objective to improve involvement of global health professionals in our Section.   These initiatives have evolved through active discussions among IH Section leaders in our standing and ad-hoc committees since the last annual meeting.  These are:

(1)   A new program to provide Travel Scholarships to eligible IH members in the category of Early Career Professionals (ECPs).  Winners of the scholarships will be the top-ranked abstracts submitted to the IH Section, based on scoring by blinded reviewers.   Section Council members will coordinate special recognition for scholarship winners at the annual meeting.  The purpose of this program is to promote submission of high quality abstracts by ECP members and to help defray costs of their attendance at the annual meeting for presentation of their work.

(2)   A new Young Professional Award for an outstanding IH Section member who is under 30 years of age.  The awardee will be someone who has shown special initiative in global health.   Nominees must be IH Section members.   Our Awards Committee, in charge of nominations and voting, will recognize the 2018 winner of this new award at the IH Awards Ceremony and Reception in San Diego on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.      Other IH awards given annually are the Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award, the Mid-Career Award, the Gordon-Wyon Award for Community-Oriented Public Health, Epidemiology and Practice, and the IH Section Distinguished Service Award.

(3)   A renewal from past years of regional Mid-year Meet-ups, organized for the benefit of Section members in various cities across the U.S.  The successful Washington DC meet-up in April, co-sponsored with the Global Health Council, was held at APHA headquarters.  A San Francisco gathering will be held in June for IH members in conjunction with the Public Health Institute.  Many thanks to event organizers Jessica Keralis (DC), Jean Armas (SF), Theresa Majeski (LA), and Brianne Riggins-Pathak (Albuquerque).

San Diego promises to provide us again with a great opportunity for learning, networking, and reconnecting with old friends. Our volunteer section members have been actively organizing the hundreds of details for the annual meeting. Just a few highlights on the upcoming meeting:

(1)   Our active IH Program Committee handled 473 scientific abstracts that were submitted to IH by February of this year and were evaluated online by 181 volunteer reviewers.  Abstract acceptances for presentation in San Diego have been announced.

(2)   Our IH Policy Committee fielded the review and editing of a good number of policy statement proposals developed by our Section members, some jointly with other sections.  Proposals that successfully transit the APHA Joint Policy Committee (JPC) review and are approved by vote of the Governing Council at the annual meeting will become official policy of APHA!

(3)   Our Community-Based Primary Health Care Working Group is preparing their annual pre-conference in San Diego with the theme this year, Community Health Workers, in a collaborative effort with the APHA Community Health Worker (CHW) Section.  You can soon register to attend this workshop (all day Saturday and half-day Sunday) on November 10-11, 2018.

(4)   A special presentation is planned to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Alma Alta on Primary Health Care!

Please connect to us through www.aphaih.org (the [Unofficial] Home of APHA’s International Health Section) where you can sign up to receive IH Connect by email and link to our other social media via Facebook and Twitter for job postings and items of interest, as well as receive our excellent Global Health Connections Newsletter with features on IH members and section leaders.

As always, we hope that you are able to seek out and discover ways in which you can engage with your professional association, APHA, as an International Health Section (IH) member.  Your feedback is always welcomed.

Best regards,
Laura C. Altobelli, DrPH, MPH
Chair, International Health Section
American Public Health Association

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