Saturday, June 25, 2011

'This is about who we are as a people’

How should we craft our message?

That was the main question of the Closing Session of APHA's 2011 Midyear Meeting in Chicago, which welcomed more than 600 attendees. And what an interesting question it is. Think about it: Why — with so many facts, so much data and with other countries soaring past us in the health statuses of their populations — why is there so much controversy and pushback to efforts to fix an obviously broken health system? Why doesn't the argument that we're all in this together — that when one person is lifted, we're all lifted — resonate more widely? Why, why, why don't the facts of our current health situation trigger a massive outcry from every corner of the nation?!?!?!

Well, we've totally been asking the wrong question and talking the wrong language, according to Closing Session speaker Lawrence Wallack, dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University, who said that while "we believe deep down that the facts will set us free and that data will win the day," the facts actually matter much less than we think. Wallack's speech was an inspiring and thought-provoking moment — one that made this blogger both more hopeful for public health and yet, increasingly frustrated that public health successes can't speak more plainly for themselves. (And as a traditionally trained journalist, having someone affirm that facts matter less and less just made me sad.)

Wallack told attendees that while health reform supporters use controlling costs as a way of persuading the public to support reform, opponents secretly rejoice. Confused? Wallack explains it perfectly: Reformers keep thinking that there's a cost-related answer that will satisfy the opposition. When all along, the only answer that will satisfy the opposition is one that won't even solve the problem. It's a never-ending discussion with no end point that provides a perfect distraction.

"The reformers," Wallack said, "are trapped in their own question."

On the other side, opponents of health reform are occupied with entirely different questions — ones about freedom and the roles of government. And in an argument about costs vs. freedom, freedom always wins, Wallack said. At the end of the day, it's about what words mean, not what words we say, he said. (Isn't that just the greatest way to put it?)

So where do we go from here? First we need to correct our fundamental errors and start making better arguments about what kind of country we are and what kind of values guide us, Wallack said. The real issue is how we define fairness; how do we create messages that reflect public health's social justice values, Wallack said.

"This is about who we are as a people," he said.

In sending off the attendees of this year's Midyear Meeting, APHA's Dr. Georges Benjamin said to get passionate about social justice and health care. His presentation nicely complemented sentiments of the session's first speaker, Assistant U.S. Surgeon General James Galloway, who noted that reform can "bring us to the pinnacle of public health."

"We are angry and we're not going to take it anymore," Benjamin said. "The health of Americans is too darn important."

You got that right!

Don't forget to join us in October for APHA's 139th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., where the theme of the meeting will be "Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds and Bodies." Click here for registration info. And, of course, your devoted APHA bloggers and this very blog will be in D.C. to cover all of the exciting events.

See you in the nation's capital!

Above, Lawrence Wallack, Georges Benjamin and James Galloway help close the 2011 APHA Midyear Meeting. Photo by Michele Late

The art of public health storytelling

Rise and shine! How about some speed dating to start off our final day in Chicago? In one of this morning’s APHA Midyear Meeting breakouts, Engaging Policy-makers and Other Leaders: How Public Employees Can Advocate Effectively for Public Health and Prevention, we were asked to turn to our neighbors and share stories about the work we are involved with back home. We were instructed to use words such as “children,” “health” and “local” to better connect rather than use professional jargon. In other words, use ‘people-speak’ not ‘brand-speak.’

Guided by Senior Vice President for Public Health at Burness Communications Chuck Alexander, our little get-to-know-you exercise was really a lesson in the art of storytelling.

Elizabeth Wenk, also of Burness Communications, underscored the importance in storytelling particularly when backing up your message on Capitol Hill.

“Policy-makers really care about how an issue is impacting their constituents. The more we can push stories is how we’ll make improvements in prevention and public health,” said Wenk.

“Our parents didn’t put us to bed at night reading a Census book,” she said.

Wenk reasoned that a personal story is just a piece (albeit important) of the full pie. She says the way to really drive home a message is to weave a story through data.

“The more that we can be pushing stories into public health officials’ vernacular, that’s when we’re really going to make a difference,” said Wenk. “It’s knowing your audience. It’s figuring out what is really going to resonate with this audience.”

Hey, that reminds me of a great “storytelling” video that APHA put together. In case you need a little inspiration, give it a look.

Public health in the headlines

A new report APHA released in concert with its Midyear Meeting assessing the state of the public health workforce under health reform caught the attention of reporters yesterday. Check out some of the great coverage.

Associated Press: Many health provisions in Affordable Care Act have not received funding

The Boston Globe: Daily Check Blog

Modern Healthcare: APHA: Lack of funding jeopardizes reform-law goals

The Hill: News bites: public health workers needed

To protect and serve

Friday afternoon's session on Protecting Impacted Public Health Programs at APHA’s 2011 Midyear Meeting was both encouraging and frustrating...which is not surprising. In the field of public health, those two words probably go together just as well as peanut butter and jelly.

When it comes to vaccines, Alexandra Stewart, assistant research professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, said the health reform law could go far in promoting vaccination. For example, health insurance plans offered via the new state health insurance exchanges will be required to cover — with no cost sharing — all vaccines recommended by the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Also, states that decide to offer such recommended vaccines via their Medicaid programs will be eligible for a boost in federal Medicaid matching funds, Stewart said.

The health reform-related vaccine provisions could help fill woeful (and frankly, short-sighted) state funding gaps. For instance, Stewart noted, Alaska has eliminated funds for adult vaccines; California cut $18 million from its vaccine program; North Carolina withdrew all funding from its universal childhood vaccine program; and in Indiana, county health departments are prohibited from administering government-purchased vaccines to children who have insurance. But with the promise of health reform far from a sure thing, the gains and successes the U.S. has achieved in vaccination rates could be in trouble.

In the field of HIV/AIDS prevention and care, health reform presents the same kind of nervous hope. The law has the potential to reduce barriers to HIV screening, will expand access to health care and treatments, and eliminate discriminatory insurance practices against people living with HIV, said Christopher Brown, assistant commissioner of the STI/HIV Division with the Chicago Department of Public Health. However, health reform should not be viewed as a replacement for the national Ryan White program, which provides assistance to people with HIV who don't have sufficient insurance or financial resources. Ryan White offers a number of needed services that health reform will not, such as medical transportation, emergency financial assistance and housing, psychosocial support and early intervention services, Brown said. Luckily, Brown said he is "seeing support from the highest level of government" that the Ryan White program isn't going away.

Unfortunately, it's unclear what health reform will do for the "silent epidemic" of sexually transmitted diseases, said Gail Bolan, director of CDC's Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention. Bolan first gave a little background: the annual cost of STDs in the nation is $17 billion (whoa!) and rates of some STDs are actually on the rise, such as chlamydia and syphilis. The provisions of health reform could boost the work against STD infection via expansion of Medicaid eligibility, new technologies and investments in community health centers, which often serve as primary care providers for populations at particular risk for STDs, Bolan said. But having insurance doesn't always mean access and safety net services will still be needed to reach all those at risk, she noted, adding that in 2008–2009, 69 percent of state and local STD programs experienced funding cuts. Bolan called on public health folks to remain committed to assessing the quality and effectiveness of STD programs going forward, Bolan said.

"We have to be able to answer the 'so what' questions," she told session attendees, as in, if this program goes away, then so what?

What do you think, readers? Are you worried that health reform will threaten the survival of important public health programs? Let us know in the comments section!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Affordable Care Act making inroads for Americans with Medicare

Just 15 months after it was enacted, the Affordable Care Act is already improving care for people with Medicare, according to program officials, and that success is expected to continue to grow as additional provisions of the law are implemented.

Speaking at a session at APHA’s 2011 Midyear Meeting in Chicago, Caya Lewis, chief of staff for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, spotlighted the inroads that the historic health reform law has made so far. Among the accomplishments is that more than 5 million Americans with Medicare — or about 16 percent of beneficiaries — have received free preventive services because of the law. The new interest in the services, which include mammograms, bone density screenings and prostate cancer screenings, has resulted because the cost barriers have been removed, Lewis said.

“We are really working toward getting people to get what they need for chronic conditions,” Lewis said.

In addition, more than 780,000 beneficiaries received an annual wellness visit — another new benefit — between January and June of this year, Lewis noted. To help reach more Medicare recipients with the message about the new benefits, CMS has launched the Share the News, Share the Health campaign with online ads and community events.

The health reform law has also allowed seniors affected by the prescription drug “donut hole” to receive refunds and rebates for payments. By 2020, that entire coverage gap will be closed, thanks to the law, Lewis said.

Other law-related changes that are expected to improve the health of Americans include measures to hold down rate increases by health insurers, state health exchanges that will allow people to have access to affordable insurance and risk assessments in wellness visits.

“We have a lot to look forward to,” Lewis said. “There’s a lot of work ahead.”

Above, Caya Lewis, left, of CMS speaks with APHA Midyear Meeting attendees following a session on improving the quality, safety and value in the health system. Photo by Michele Late

A time to retool

Can guess how many state and local public health jobs were lost in just one year?

If you wagered 43,000, you were (unfortunately) right. It’s a dramatic hit that has reverberated in states across the country. Some 89 percent of state health departments across the country have lost staff within the past year.

And the sobering reality is that the public health workforce will shoulder the brunt of federal budget cuts in years to come.

“The public health workforce is fundamentally changing. The workforce of the future is going to be dramatically different from today,” said Paul Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, during a session at the 2011 APHA Midyear Meeting. “We’re moving way beyond the talk of doing more with less.”

So, it begs the question: what exactly is the less we are doing? What will the limited funding allow us to do?

Jarris explained that the “future” workforce will be called upon to integrate clinical medicine more than ever before to ensure people are safer and healthier in the system (not to mention to ensure that everyone has access in the first place).

Cynthia Lamberth of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health echoed the same sentiments, saying that by virtue of the Affordable Care Act, we have a tremendous opportunity to retool our workforce and do more work at the intersection of public health and health care.

“There is increased demand for services not only on preventive care but particularly on prevention in general,” said Lamberth. “This is not a time to be waiting and see what happens with the Affordable Care Act. We all need to be involved and determine where we fit into this picture. This is a time for reinvention for what we do to serve our communities.”

Lamberth says some of that reinvention could translate into an enhanced focus on school-based health centers, community transformation grants, maternal and child health visitation programs, healthy living and aging well.

So, while there’s a lot of talk about the doom and gloom around workforce losses, why not also pepper the conversation with some of the exciting opportunities to advance our trade in a new direction that lie ahead?

Tweet of the day

We’ve been asking tweeps to include #APHAMid11 as they live tweet sessions here in Chicago. So, today’s tweet comes to us from @jessicakeralis:

"We can't 'wait and see' - we need to start planning NOW." Interesting session on developing the public health workforce at #APHAMid11

We thought it was a valuable (and timely!) session, too. Keep on chirping, folks. Maybe we’ll highlight your rock-star tweet here tomorrow.

Props to our partners!

We offer a special shout out and sincere thanks to our grantors, sponsors, donors and partners for their generous support of the APHA Midyear Meeting. As we’ve heard throughout this meeting, the success of health reform — indeed of public health — relies on such collaboration and innovation. We appreciate your support!

Soundbites from the Midyear Meeting

Hear what attendees are talking and thinking about at the 2011 Midyear Meeting on APHA’s YouTube channel. And chime in with your thoughts below!

Maybe we can all just get along

If I've learned one thing from all the APHA meetings I've attended, it's that public health folks aren't shy or quiet when it comes to their opinions on the best ways to fix our current health system and improve community health. And so it was a lively debate on Friday morning in a 2011 APHA Midyear Meeting session on Seeking Common Ground: Various Approaches to Improving Population Health. The speakers may have had differing opinions about the new health reform law, however they did share one big, wide space of shared ground: The U.S. could — and must — do more to widen the opportunities that allow people to make healthy decisions. Below are some choice quotes from the speakers during the session, which was moderated by Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer:

"In so many ways, this is the best of times and also in so many ways, this is the worst of times," said John McDonough, director of the Center for Public Health Leadership at the Harvard School of Public Health, who noted that for the first time, the federal government is being strategic in terms of prevention and wellness, pointing to the recent release of the National Prevention Strategy.

"We are right now in the midst of the largest assault on public health in our nation's history," McDonough said in reference to the current backlash against the government's role in addressing society's problems.

"I'm thrilled that health finally is on the radar screen," said Julie Eckstein, of the Center for Health Transformation, in referring to the public health and prevention provisions of the health reform law.

"We have a health crisis and we have a health care crisis," Eckstein said.

"Single-payer provides us with a platform to address population health," said Oliver Fein, a professor at Cornell University Medical College, in describing the benefits of a single-payer health care system. He added that public health workers can continue to be advocates for a health system vision that goes beyond the current health reform law.

More common ground than not, right? Unfortunately, as Eckstein poignantly pointed out, the "common ground isn't newsworthy." Ain't that the sad truth.

Above, Dr. Oliver Fein speaks as part of a panel on improving population health. Photo by Michele Late

The 'secret sauce' for communicating health

If you’ve ever struggled to get your health message across, you’re not alone. Turns out, we’re all in search of the “secret sauce” to help us better tell the public health story.

In one of yesterday’s breakouts at the 2011 APHA Midyear Meeting — Getting the Public to Understand Public Health, leading health communicators offered a packed audience a few tips of the trade on breaking through the clutter and letting your voice be heard… and ultimately advancing public health.

Rob Gould, executive vice president and managing director of Brodeur Worldwide, kicked things off by providing some helpful context. He said we’ve moved beyond the era of simply sharing health information with doctors and hoping that they relay it to patients. In addition to persuading Americans to care for their own health, Gould said, we also are tasked with engaging our community and changing our environment. At a time when public sentiment is king, we have to activate policy-makers.

And here’s where the rubber meets the road. Gould shared insights into navigating in today’s era of community action:

• Don’t try to change people’s values. It does no good to try to persuade the public to think the way you do. It won’t work.
• Expect us to fall down. After all, failure is just another step toward success, right?
• Make us cross a line in the sand. Try to get the public to step across psychologically. The truth campaign is just one example of getting teens involved in anti-tobacco efforts.
• When the goal is big, make the problem small. Small change gains momentum.

“But you can’t go it alone,” Gould warned. “Social change is not a solo act. We need to find a way to pool our resources and knowledge better.”

These are words to live by for Bob Crittenden, executive director of the Herndon Alliance, a coalition of a wide array of health organizations working to effectively communicate together.

“We all have to take responsibility and start engaging, make friends. We have to develop coalitions and make a difference,” said Crittenden.

He also said effective messaging starts with listening to people, not talking at them. We have to understand what the public believes and what they care about before we break into a public dialogue. Addressing differences in beliefs is a major step toward community action.

Joe Marx, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the essence to telling the public health story is actually right in front of us (drumroll, please!): BETTER HEALTH.

“This is our easy button. This is our destination. Better health is at the heart of this social change,” said Marx.

That’s what all of us here are trying to achieve for ourselves, our families and our communities. That’s the “secret sauce.”

Above, Rob Gould offers tips for more effectively communicating about health. Photo by Michele Late

Cheers to health reform!

Above, the smiling faces of public health gather at the Midyear Meeting's Welcome Reception on Thursday evening.

Photos by Michele Late

Show us the money

Can health reform succeed without public health professionals? Not a chance, says a new assessment released today by APHA in concert with its Midyear Meeting.

According to APHA’s Public Health Workforce Provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the law’s health promotion and disease prevention goals are at risk without sustained, adequate investment in the public health workforce.

While the Affordable Care Act reauthorized and created several new programs that could increase the supply and expertise of the public health workforce, only 11 of the 19 ACA provisions assessed in the report have received funding. Those that have received monies have been funded at substantially lower levels than authorized.

Further exacerbating the challenge, nearly 20 percent of the governmental public health workforce has been lost since 2008 as a result of the economic recession, resulting in cuts to public health services such as immunizations, prenatal care, and air and water quality monitoring, among others.

To read the report, visit

Can health reform succeed without a strong public health workforce? What do you think?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It’s time for an intervention

Stirring words in the Windy City filled many with hope for a healthier world at today’s opening of the APHA Midyear Meeting. Chicago son and APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin welcomed a full audience who gathered to hear how they can help advance health reform implementation.

Leaders of the local public health and political worlds greeted attendees and helped set the stage for the challenges before us. While here, many paid homage to former APHA President and Chicago physician/activist Dr. Quentin Young, who was in the audience and who has long carried the banner for universal health coverage.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a self-professed believer in public health, said when it comes to providing health care to our nation’s people, we need “everybody in, nobody out…We need to put the caring back into health care.” And he celebrated the fact that “investing in public health pays great, great dividends.”

As if foretelling the possibly rocky implementation road ahead, Dr. Linda Rae Murray, APHA president and chief medical officer of the Cook County (Ill.) Department of Public Health, noted that Chicago was a perfect place to hold this important meeting: “In Chicago, we do public health and public policy as a contact sport.”

National pollster and political adviser Celinda Lake gave reason for hope as she shared her public opinion research on prevention: “The public is strongly supportive of prevention and believes it should be a much higher priority.”

Keynote speaker Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, mused about the “absurd outcomes” we see in U.S. health care, with low returns on our high investment, as compared with other countries. But she said public health can change that. “It’s about social, political and economic justice.” She encouraged attendees to remind people that we’re all in this together. “The one who wins the race isn’t the one who gets there first, but who gets there with their family intact,” she said.

As she came to a close, Granholm appropriately sent attendees forth exhorting them — physicians, educators, health workers, activists — “to go out and stage an intervention to make the world a better place.”

Above, Jennifer Granholm tells Midyear Meeting Opening Session attendees that "public health is public...Part of it is to change the world." Photo by Michele Late

What brings you to town?

As the registration lines at APHA's Midyear Meeting grew longer, this blogger wondered what drove attendees to make the journey to Chicago.

Carolyn Ferrell, a public health nurse hailing from West Virginia, said she made the trip to learn more about what health reform will mean for vulnerable populations and what impact it'll have on folks who are currently uninsured.

"I'm hoping (health reform) will turn into access to care for all," she said.

Public health practitioners can bring something unique to the health reform discussion, Ferrell said. They have a "grassroots concept," she added. "They see the consumers of services as the experts."

Michael Napier, administrator of Florida's Seminole County Health Department and president of the Florida Association of County Health Officers, said health reform could mean big changes for his state. As health reform opens access to insurance coverage, it may mean a significant decrease in the amount of primary care services that the state's public health system provides. Such service changes can also come with big and worrisome funding changes for public health, said Napier, who said he traveled to Chicago to get a sense of how other states are getting prepared for the impacts of health reform.

If public health does start getting edged out of the direct services business, it'll be important for public health departments to reach out and partner with the private sector to make sure public health priorities don't fall between the cracks, Napier said. In terms of overall health, Napier predicts things will get worse before they get better.

"In the long run, nothing gets better until the economy gets better," he said.

One role for public health practitioners will be translating what health reform means in a meaningful and easy-to-understand way, said meeting attendee Tom Quade, a member of APHA's Executive Board and a local health director in Ohio. There's broad diversity among health reform's supporters — more than the media would suggest, he said.

"When folks do vote on issues, they're informed by more than just their station of choice," Quade said.

Why did you come to Chicago? What role do you believe public health workers should play in implementing health reform? Let us know in the comments section!

Welcome to Chicago!

Yep. The buildings here really are that tall. Sort of an inspirational metaphor for the healthy heights we hope to reach with the help of the historic health reform law. Now, it's time to get to work!

P.S. For a meeting preview, take a peek at the Q&A NewPublicHealth conducted with APHA's Dr. Benjamin.

Above, an early morning view of the Chicago River from the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, the location for APHA's Midyear Meeting. Photo by Kim Krisberg

Monday, June 20, 2011

A letter from APHA's Dr. Georges Benjamin

Dear public health colleagues,

In just a of couple days, APHA will officially convene its 2011 Midyear Meeting in Chicago with an exclusive focus on "Implementing Health Reform: A Public Health Approach." And the meeting couldn't come at a better time.

The work to transform the goals of health reform into on-the-ground realities is in full swing, and your expertise and experience as public health practitioners will be pivotal in ensuring that process leads not only to equitable access to health insurance, but to better health and well-being. We all know that simply having insurance is not enough — good health depends on myriad factors that happen inside and outside of the doctor's office and will require a comprehensive shift in how we, as a society, believe our health system should work.

For decades, the public health community has acted on and touted the value of prevention, for both its ability to produce positive health outcomes and curb the country's rising health care costs. The health reform law includes a number of provisions that align it with those values, such as requiring that insurers participating in state health insurances exchanges cover proven preventive services. The law also created the landmark $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, money from which has already started to flow to community health efforts as well as work to address primary care shortages. This is all good news for public health, however the future is far from certain.

Already, attempts have been made to divert the billions earmarked for the Prevention and Public Health Fund and repeal the health reform law entirely. The governance and design of the state-based health insurance exchanges will be a key component in the success of health reform, and public health input is and will be significant in their creation and oversight. In addition, policy-makers may attempt to cut or eliminate effective public health programs under the assumption that health reform is a substitute for a resilient public health system. And, unfortunately, myths and falsehoods about health reform still abound.

Clearly, the roles for public health practitioners in health reform's success will be diverse, from education and promotion to surveillance and evaluation. Health reform may also mean big changes in the delivery of some traditional public health services and the need for public health to adapt quickly to the changing health care environment and gather the data needed to protect threatened public health programs. In Chicago, we've organized an interactive, in-depth meeting that will give you the tools you'll need to confront these challenges as well as take advantage of new opportunities to improve your community's health.

I look forward to seeing you in Chicago, hearing your ideas and learning from your experiences. I know that together we can turn the tides toward better health for all.


Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E)
Executive Director
American Public Health Association

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just released! Report from APHA's 2010 Summit on Health Reform

Looking for a bit of a preview of APHA's upcoming Midyear Meeting in Chicago? Well, look no further.

Today, APHA released "Reforming Our Nation’s Health System: Lessons for the Public Health Community." The report covers the proceedings of the Association's Summit on Health Reform, which took place in November 2010 in Denver and which explored the implications of the new health reform law for public health programs and priorities. It's a good primer for the upcoming Midyear Meeting, which will focus on public health's role in implementing health reform.

The new report includes a handy summary of recommendations that came out of discussions at the Denver summit, including calls for public health practitioners to advocate and educate on behalf of the law; demonstrate the value of public health and prevention programs in improving health outcomes and reducing costs; create innovative public-private partnerships; seize funding opportunities to improve community health; and ensure that public health has a voice in insurance reforms.

I'd say that APHA's very own Dr. B put it best:

“If we hope to realize the laudable goals of the Affordable Care Act — expanding access to care, improving quality of care, controlling health costs, and improving and protecting the health of the American people — then we must safeguard the law’s public health and prevention provisions and ensure their timely implementation,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “We have a real opportunity to not only put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms, but to transform our communities, reduce our growing chronic disease burden and achieve wellness. The experiences of public health professionals along with their longtime ties to the communities they serve are critical to realizing the promise of health reform.”

For a copy of the report, click here. For more info on next week's Midyear Meeting in Chicago, click here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A place at the table: Public health and health reform

What does health reform mean for public health? It's a complicated and far-reaching question that could fill up days of discussion and debate. Luckily, APHA is here for you.

In less than two weeks, APHA will convene its 2011 Midyear Meeting in Chicago to explore just this question and many, many more. With a theme of "Implementing Health Reform: A Public Health Approach," the three-day meeting will focus exclusively on the intersections between the historic health reform law, the daily realities of public health practitioners and long-held public health goals, such as bringing prevention to the forefront of the nation's health system.

While health reform presents the public health field with a number of much-anticipated opportunities, it could also mean big changes for the delivery of traditional public health services and even the elimination of effective public health programs. If there's one common thread that weaves its way through all of these issues, it's this: The public health community must have a voice at the table — especially now, as implementation of the health reform law pushes forward.

At APHA's Midyear Meeting, to be held June 23–25, public health professionals from across the nation will come together to hone that voice and gear up for the opportunities and obstacles to come. The interactive meeting will offer a variety of sessions and feature a number of noted speakers, who will share their own experiences as well as guidance for the road ahead. Sessions will cover topics such as the technology and fiscal implications of health reform; protecting public health programs; achieving prevention and wellness goals; ensuring access to care; and building support for public health. For a full list of meeting sessions and speakers, click here.

Of course, we hope you make it to Chicago, where the meeting not only offers the chance for discussion and debate, but for organizing, networking and meeting new and old public health pals. But if you can't make it, no worries. APHA's social media team will be busy bringing you all the juicy highlights.

This very blog will be in Chicago to bring you daily updates, and you can visit APHA's Twitter feeds (both here and here) and Facebook page for even more.

Wanna catch up on the public health details of the new health reform law before landing in Chicago? Visit APHA's advocacy and policy site for a wealth of free resources.

For more info on the Chicago meeting, including registration, travel, accommodations and continuing education credits, visit APHA's meetings page.

See you in the Windy City!

Above, Chicago's Buckingham Fountain and downtown skyline. Photo courtesy iStockphoto

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

APHA heads to the Windy City

Welcome to the official blog site of APHA's Midyear Meeting! The three-day meeting, taking place June 23–25, will focus exclusively on "Implementing Health Reform: A Public Health Approach." And, yep, this blog will be there to bring you all the highlights. In fact, you can sign up here to receive free daily blog updates via your e-mail. How easy is that?

Check back here soon for more APHA Midyear Meeting details and click here for registration info. We hope to see you in Chicago!

P.S. For those of you wondering "hey, isn't this the blog site for APHA's Annual Meeting," the answer is "yes, it is." But don't worry. We'll be switching back to Annual Meeting coverage after the Midyear Meeting in Chicago.