Friday, October 31, 2014

There’s an app for that: Download the APHA Annual Meeting mobile app today!

Download the free APHA Annual
Meeting mobile app.
This blogger loves the APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition program. That giant, freshly printed, phone book-like tome overflowing with hundreds of chances to learn about public health’s latest innovation, insight and invention. Every year, when my copy arrives in preparation to launch this very blog, I gather my trusty yellow highlighter, a stack of sticky fluorescent page markers and a cup of hot tea and immerse myself in the opportunities. What can I say — I’m a total public health nerd.

That being said, however, the Annual Meeting program can be a bit cumbersome to haul around a convention center for five days. It truly is the size of a small phone book and after a few days of pulling it in and out of my bag, all of those page markers begin to join the wayward gum wrappers and pen caps in the dark corners of my newest APHA Annual Meeting tote bag. It turns out that sticky page markers are not the most effective scheduling tools. Thankfully, APHA agrees and now, as they say, there’s an app for that. 

For the third year in a row, meeting attendees can download the APHA Annual Meeting mobile app for easy access to all the information related to the Annual Meeting, including the massive meeting program. Those of you with Apple or Android phones can download the free tool in your app store by searching for “APHA meeting,” while those with other brands of smartphones can download our mobile Web version.

The mobile app lets users search scientific sessions, abstracts, author information and session room locations; view the Public Health Expo floor plan and maps; create an event itinerary and sync it with the APHA personal scheduler or your phone’s calendar; receive meeting alerts; and access general meeting information, such as info about shuttle buses, first aid and designated breastfeeding areas. The app also lets users connect with fellow Annual Meeting attendees — you can search through a list of attendee names and send him or her a message directly (though no one’s personal information is provided through the app).

Also this year, attendees can use the mobile app to play Passport to Prizes. Just click on “scavenger hunt,” scan quick response (QR) codes at all 20 designated Expo booths and be entered into a drawing for a variety of cool prizes, such as free registration to next year’s Annual Meeting or a free, one-year APHA membership.

You’ll need an Internet connection to initially download and launch the mobile app. But after installation, no Internet connection is necessary to access its contents. Also, you’ll want to download the mobile app before you arrive in New Orleans, as the downloading process can take some time. Plus, you’ll need time to create the perfect schedule. For more information and a list of FAQs, visit our Annual Meeting mobile app page. And leave those sticky, fluorescent page markers at home.

— K.K.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Start your public health engines! Just three weeks until the APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

It’s countdown time, folks! In less than a month, you and thousands of your closest public health friends will descend upon New Orleans Nov. 15-19 for APHA’s 142nd Annual Meeting and Exposition and this year, there’s more in store than ever before.

I know what you’re thinking: How is it possible that the Annual Meeting can get any better? And this blogger agrees — the Annual Meeting is already a seriously awesome event. (Disclosure: Yes, I am totally biased. How can you not love the feeling of being surrounded by 12,000 people who are all driven to make the world a better place? Best. Feeling. Ever.) But this year, APHA not only has some new treats in store, we’re working to make sure the good, old standards keep you coming back for more. Let’s start with some of the new.

In addition to the usual Opening and Closing General Sessions, this year’s Annual Meeting will also offer a Monday General Session on Nov. 17 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. And this one is a serious heavy-hitter, featuring five former U.S. surgeons general as well as Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak. The top docs will discuss the future of health in America and how they used the Office of the Surgeon General to help push the public health movement forward.

Another new offering is the Annual Meeting Workshops, all of which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The pre-meeting workshops are organized by APHA member groups and are designed to reach local residents who can’t attend the full Annual Meeting. The five workshops include the “Global Health Diplomacy Workshop,” which will offer an overview of the core competencies in global health diplomacy; the “Pregnancy Options Workshop,” which will include discussions of the contextual factors that influence pregnancy and parenting decisions; and the “Beware of Images Workshop,” which will offer attendees tips for creating powerful media messages that promote health and well-being. Click on the Annual Meeting Workshops link at the top this paragraph to learn more about the new workshops as well as fees and registration. You don’t have to be registered for the full Annual Meeting to register for one of the workshops.

APHA TV will be another new feature at the New Orleans gathering. The daily broadcast will feature coverage of some of the latest science coming out of the Annual Meeting as well as interviews with noted public health leaders. APHA TV will be broadcast on televisions inside the convention center, on the APHA website and in certain Annual Meeting-designated hotels.

Inside the Public Health Exposition, which will open its doors immediately following the Opening General Session on Nov. 16, attendees can browse hundreds of public health booths and pick up lots of free public health goodies (so don’t forget your trick-or-treat bags). Joining the booths this year will be Art @ the Expo, where local artists will be selling their health- and medical-inspired creations, such as paintings, photography and jewelry. Holiday shopping, anyone?

Now to some of the old — well, not really old, more like newish. For the second year in a row, APHA will host the Public Health Codeathon, Nov. 14-16, where public health practitioners will work in teams with computer programmers and developers to design new apps, platforms and tools to promote health and prevent disease. Saturday night of the Codeathon, a panel of judges will present awards for the most innovative projects. Visit our Codeathon site to learn more and register for the event. And if you just want a peek, stop by Sunday morning to view some of the innovations, meet their creators and cast your vote for your favorite project. Also returning this year for its second appearance is APHA’s Social Media Lab, which is held in partnership with and offers meeting attendees an opportunity to work one-on-one with a social media expert and learn how to optimize social media tools in support of public health goals. Register for the lab here.

Of course, this year’s meeting will also be home to hundreds of scientific sessions, public health celebrations, awards ceremonies, networking events, social occasions, advocacy education and action, continuing education opportunities and so much more. We can’t wait to see you in New Orleans!

P.S. This post marks the official kick-off of this year’s APHA Annual Meeting Blog! We’ll be posting every week until the meeting starts, so check back for more details and in-depth coverage.

— K.K.

Above, watch a welcome video from the Louisiana Public Health Association.