Separating parents and children at US border is inhumane and sets the stage for a public health crisis

Statement from the American Public Health Association and Trust for America’s Health

Washington, D.C., June 15, 2018

“The Trump administration’s policy of separating parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border will have a dire impact on their health, both now and into the future.

“As public health professionals we know that children living without their parents face immediate and long-term health consequences. Risks include the acute mental trauma of separation, the loss of critical health information that only parents would know about their children’s health status, and in the case of breastfeeding children, the significant loss of maternal child bonding essential for normal development. Parents’ health would also be affected by this unjust separation.

“More alarming is the interruption of these children’s chance at achieving a stable childhood. Decades of public health research have shown that family structure, stability and environment are key social determinants of a child’s and a community’s health.

“Furthermore, this practice places children at heightened risk of experiencing adverse childhood events and trauma, which research has definitively linked to poorer long-term health. Negative outcomes associated with adverse childhood events include some of society’s most intractable health issues: alcoholism, substance misuse, depression, suicide, poor physical health and obesity.

“There is no law requiring the separation of parents and children at the border. This policy violates fundamental human rights. We urge the administration to immediately stop the practice of separating immigrant children and parents and ensure those who have been separated are rapidly reunited, to ensure the health and well-being of these children.”


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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 (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

A Highlight from National Public Health Week: North Dakota State University’s “New Perspective on Refugees Roundtable”

Every April, the public health community celebrates National Public Health Week.  National Public Health Week is a time in which we recognize the amazing contributions of public health professionals and highlight the pressing public health issues important to improving our nation’s health. This year’s National Public Health Week theme was Changing our Future Together.

IH Section Councilor Mark Strand organized a roundtable entitled A New Perspective on Refugees in the Community: Changing our Future Together at North Dakota State University where he is a professor. 40 attendees from 12 countries participated in this National Public Health Week event which was held on April 3rd. Attendees learned many things they didn’t know before:

(1) At least one member of the family is working within 6 months of arriving in the U.S.

(2) Over an adult’s first 20 years here, a refugee pays approximately $21,000 more in taxes than they receive in social service benefits.

(3) There is no evidence for increased crime rates among refugees.

(4) There are many positive impacts resettled refugees make on their new communities.

Visit their Facebook post for a look at some of the photos from their event:

Share your National Public Health Week highlights with us for a chance to be featured on our blog!

Read the latest issue of the IH newsletter, Section Connection!

The latest issue of Section Connection, the IH Section quarterly e-newsletter, is now available!

You can find the latest issue of the newsletter here:

If you can’t access the newsletter for any reason please email Theresa Majeski, Global Health Connections Chair, at

Stand up for gun violence prevention with a few actions you can take in the coming week

Dear IH Friends,

Here is a message from our colleagues at APHA and the MCH Gun Violence Prevention Workgroup:

Now is the time to stand up for gun violence prevention (GVP) in our Nation.  Many of you have asked what you can do to promote the public health approach to gun violence prevention. Below are actions to take in the coming week:

1.    Please plan on attending one of over 817 March for Our Lives events worldwide on Saturday, March 24th. Click on this link to register for the March:  March for Our Lives (

Possible Signage for the March for our Lives:

-Gun violence is a public health crisis.

-We need more funding for gun violence prevention research

-Gun violence is a public health issue

2.    Visit the APHA website Gun Violence Page:   Gun Violence. (

3.     Share AJPH Gun Violence Research. (

4.    Get active in your communities. Engage at the grassroots level.  Join your local GVP organizations and promote a public health approach to end the gun violence epidemic.

In collaboration,

The APHA Intersectional Council (ISC) and MCH Gun Violence Prevention Workgroups