Friday, September 20, 2013

Learning and earning

Officially, APHA's 141st Annual Meeting and Exposition kicks off with the Opening General Session on Sunday, Nov. 3. But why wait 'til then to start learning about the latest and greatest in public health practice? For all you early birds itching to get a head start (AND earn continuing education credits), I've got three words for you: The Learning Institutes.

APHA's Learning Institutes are full- and half-day interactive educational courses that offer insights from some of the best and brightest in the field. The institutes, which run Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3, cover a range of public health topics, from the always popular Epidemiology for Non-Epidemiologists to an institute on how to develop compelling public health research proposals in a time of tight budgets. Here are just a few examples of what's on tap for this year's institutes:

• On Saturday, Nov. 2, APHA will offer this Learning Institute on using storytelling to promote health equity and improve health. The daylong course will bring participants up to date on storytelling intervention research, teach participants how to implement a storytelling-based intervention and offer hands-on practice. The institute will also feature a case study from the Real Latina Mothers Project, an effort to explore the personal experiences of Latina mothers as they navigate the Medicaid system.

• Also on Nov. 2, APHA has organized an institute on how to engage youth in the public health policy process. During the course, the Boston-based nonprofit Health Resources in Action will train participants in youth development and community organizing, youth-adult partnership building and community mobilization. The institute will also feature interactive panels with local youth involved in policy change campaigns, such as the Youth Jobs Coalition and the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project.

• On Sunday, Nov. 3, APHA will offer its Global Health Institute to bring public health professionals the skills to address global health issues both at home and abroad. During the half-day course, participants will get an overview of the current global public health field and be introduced to the key competencies needed to succeed in the global health arena.

Learning Institutes are not included in the overall Annual Meeting registration fee, but you can sign up for them when you're registering to attend the Boston meeting. Fees as well as the number of CE credits participants can earn vary from institute to institute. In addition to the Learning Institutes, a number of the meeting's regular scientific sessions are also eligible for CE credits — learn more about that here.

To read more about this year's Learning Institutes, visit

— K.K.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Packing our bags for Boston

It's the week after Labor Day, which means it's good-bye summer and hello fall. (Sort of. This blogger is still simmering in 100-degree weather — summer, it seems, is having a hard time sharing the calendar year.) But while we wait for the leaves to turn, hope for the breeze to cool and desperately try to convince ourselves that it's never too early — or too unhealthy — to buy a giant bag of Halloween candy corn, we can keep ourselves busy by preparing for APHA's 141st Annual Meeting and Exposition!

The world's largest gathering of public health professionals officially kicks off in less than two months at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. From Nov. 2–6, thousands of public health folks will descend upon one of our nation's most historic cities to swap best practices, showcase their healthy successes, meet new and old friends, and celebrate the role of public health in making all of our lives better. In fact this year, Annual Meeting organizers are quite literally working to bring the world of public health to Boston. With a meeting theme of "Think Global, Act Local," sessions and activities will zero in on highlighting the best public health practices from around the globe.

For example, ever wonder how to build local awareness around men's health issues and encourage more men to seek out preventive care? Then check out this Nov. 4 session on "Men's health: Thinking globally while acting locally," which will feature perspectives from men's health initiatives in Germany and Australia. Looking for effective ways to incorporate alternative medicine into more traditional medical settings? Consider attending the Nov. 5 session on "Integration of alternative and complementary health practices: Best practices around the world," which will feature experiences from India and Bangladesh. Looking for urban health tips to bring home to your community? Then make time for this Nov. 6 session on "International urban health issues," which will offer a presentation on how youth from around the world perceive violence and its effects on their lives.

These three sessions are just a tiny (and I mean tiny) fraction of the hundreds of scientific sessions and events that will take place during the Boston meeting. There's the Public Health Expo, the great speakers lined up for the Opening and Closing General Sessions, the Public Health Awards Reception and Ceremony, the opportunity to earn continuing education credits, APHA's Public Health CareerMart, the Public Health Film Festival and so much more to look forward to.

To start making sense of it all, visit the online program and take advantage of our handy personal scheduler. Still need to register for this year's public health extravaganza? No problem — click here to receive discounted registration fees, which end Sept. 26.

And to really stay on top of things, connect with APHA's many social media outlets, especially our @PublicHealth and @APHAAnnualMtg Twitter feeds. While you're at it, why not sign up to receive regular updates from this very blog. Your loyal APHA public health bloggers will begin posting more regular updates as we get closer to the meeting and we'll be bringing you all the breaking news and highlights directly from Boston. 

To steal a historically inaccurate, but legendary phrase from Boston's native son — and the city’s first health commissioner — Paul Revere: Public health is coming!

— K.K.

Above photo of the Paul Revere statue located off Boston's famous Freedom Trail courtesy the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau