Sunday, November 1, 2015

Why did you come to the 143rd APHA Annual Meeting?

Excitement is in the air today in Chicago around the Annual Meeting registration area, where public health veterans, mid-career professionals and newbies alike are happy to be here.

Why do they travel to #APHA15? Many might echo Aundria Goree, a community health administrator in Oklahoma City, who’s here “to learn best practices from the best.” Laurel Hilliker, sporting a "New Member" ribbon on her Annual Meeting badge, recently started a new job at the University of Michigan in Flint and is brand new to public health. She hopes to network and find out more about the field.

Some public healthers are here to bring attention to causes near and dear to their hearts, while others, as Wendy Hord of Latham, New York, put it, like to “cross-pollinate.” She's searching the Annual Meeting program for sessions that explore how occupational health intersects with other public health issues.

Hord, who explained her “Troublemaker” ribbon is appropriate because she works for a teachers’ union, said while her work does focus on occupational health, teachers also are some of the strongest advocates for issues such as children’s mental health. During her time at the Annual Meeting, she can learn about emerging science and also get face time with people in the occupational health field.

“I come because like a lot of colleagues throughout the country, this is where we all see each other,” she said. A longtime member of APHA’s Occupational Health and Safety Section, Hord said it’s a treat to attend a session and meet someone from her corner of the country.

“You start a conversation and that might lead to a joint project,” she said.

Terry Thompson, a colleague of Hilliker’s at the University of Michigan in Flint, is giving a poster presentation and also is looking forward to finding out “what’s going on in the research field.”

He’ll likely find out there’s a whole lot going on. What brings you to the Annual Meeting? Let us know in the comments below.

— D.C.

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