Monday, November 2, 2009

The final countdown

T-minus five days to the launch of APHA’s 137th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, and this space cadet is ready to explore strange, new public health worlds — to boldly go to a convention center filled with 10,000 people in the middle of an H1N1 flu epidemic!

Which brings me to my first point: Don’t forget to take extra-special precautions this year. Wash your hands and take advantage of the hand sanitizer that will be strategically placed at the meeting’s registration counters and in the convention center bathrooms. There’ll also be plenty of sanitizing handouts, flu prevention information, games, prizes, T-shirts and much more at the APHA Get Ready booth, #511, at the Public Health Expo. And this year, the booth is being produced in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In recent weeks, a handful of new speakers have been added to the Annual Meeting agenda. In her first speech since receiving congressional confirmation in late October, new U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin will be speaking at the meeting’s opening session, which takes place on Sunday, Nov. 8, from noon to 2 p.m. Benjamin will be joined at the session by Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as conservationist Celine Cousteau and Mirta Roses Periago, director of the Pan American Health Organization. Another new speaker is Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, who will present during session 3292, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.

For all of you space cadets more familiar with wikis than rockets, there’ll be plenty of ways to keep up with the Annual Meeting. Of course, you can sign up to receive e-mail updates from this very blog. Then you can follow APHA’s Public Health Twitter and the APHA Annual Meeting Twitter (and receive details about a special public health Tweet-up in Philly). Visit the APHA Facebook page, share your photos with the APHA Flickr group, or take a moment to visit APHA’s YouTube channel for new videos. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #apha09 if you’re Tweeting from the meeting.

With that, this blogger bids you safe, flu-free travels. See you in Philly fellow public health fans.

P.S. If you’ll take a look at the top and bottom of our blog, you’ll see we’ve got a brand-spankin-new sponsor, the Peace Corps. Go ahead — give ‘em a click.

P.S.S. And don’t forget that in keeping with this year’s meeting theme of “Water and Public Health: The 21st Century Challenge,” everyone is encouraged to use reusable water bottles instead of buying disposable water bottles. In fact, if you’re looking for an Annual Meeting souvenir and want to limit your Philly footprint, stop by the Everything APHA booth to buy an APHA water bottle.

— K.K.

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