APHA 140th Annual Meeting

The American Public Health Association (APHA) 140th Annual Meeting was held in San Francisco California from 27-31 October 2012. This meeting stressed the importance of shifting our approach to health towards one that focuses on wellness across all stages of life and to include prevention, intervention, general well-being, maintenance and treatment.

The opening session was intriguing with several speakers such as Gail Sheehy, Reed V. Tuckson, David Spath, Barbara Garcia, Georges C. Benjamin, Melvin D. Shipp, Kathleen Billingsley, Raymond Baxter and Thomas Frieden, who addressed the conference theme of "Wellness Across the Life Span".

Nearly 12,500 public health professionals and partners met in San Francisco. Researchers presented the latest in public health research and practice at more than 1,000 scientific sessions, and over 650 companies, organizations and agencies exhibited in the Public Health Expo.  It was a tremendous platform for sharing science, discussing advocacy efforts, building partnerships and addressing emerging health issues.

Several PHASA members (Professors Puoane, Hughes and Jackson) attended APHA and gave the following presentations:

Professor Thandi Puoane from UWC  School of Public Health represented PHASA for the APHA meeting and gave a talk entitled "Public health associations experience of influencing national public health policy and practice in the session on Challenges and Opportunities for Public Health Associations: A Global Perspective".

Professor Debra Jackson with UWC SOPH presented in two sessions:

  1. Quality of in home rapid HIV testing by community lay counsellors in rural South Africa in the session entitled Community Based HIV Testing and Prevention; and
  2. Identifying Gaps Along the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) Cascade to Achieve the MTCT Elimination Goals: Results from the South African TCT Effectiveness Survey (SAPMTCTE), 2011 in the session on Barriers to HIV/AIDS Care.

Professor Gail D. Hughes, UWC Faculty of Sciences gave two presentations in the Research in Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Health Practices sessions:

  1. Maintenance of health and treatment of chronic conditions with indigenous medicine in South African urban and rural communities;
  2. South African Communities in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces Use of traditional herbal medicine for hypertension and diabetes.

The closing session had Angela Davis as the guest speaker. Her address titled "Incarceration, Justice and Health" centred on prison systems around the world and the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial and gender justice.

On a side note there was a lot of excitement in San Francisco and USA due to the San Francisco Giants baseball team winning the national baseball championship and the pre election Presidential activities.

The APHA is also a time of networking and making connections for future collaborations and opportunities. Below is a picture of Professors Puoane and Hughes with colleague and former University of California Berkeley classmate, Dr. Sandra Witt, Project Director for California Endowment Organization, responsible for funding wellness programs.

Professors Puoane and Hughes with colleague and former University of California Berkeley classmate, Dr. Sandra Witt

If you couldn't make it to San Francisco, or you want to catch up on the conversation, visit the APHA Annual Meeting Blog. And for coverage all year long, visit website for news on APHA's Public Health Newswire.    

The 2013 Annual Meeting will take place on November 2-6, 2013, in Boston. The meeting theme is Think Global Act Local. The call abstracts will close beginning of February. 

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