two men at Expo booth

As much as we all love being here at the Annual Meeting among 12,000 of our closest public health friends, the days can get a bit draining. But don’t fret. The Public Health Expo offers a welcome oasis of fun giveaways, the friendliest people, and fascinating info on the latest and greatest in public health.

Need a pen? There’s never a lack of creative writing instruments, such as the cactus-shaped pens offered by the University of Arizona booth. And I really want to meet the people who come up with the designs for the stress balls. You can pick up a squeezable green football from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s booth; Rutgers has squeezable tomatoes; and I saw oranges, basketballs, bears, stars, buffalo and honeybees, just to name a few.

“Everyone should take a moment to play,” said Laurie Cathers of the International Programme in Addiction Studies booth (#526), where you can do just that. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood while playing ball toss. You can also try your luck at a Scrabble-type game.

While you get your steps in crossing the massive Expo Hall, don’t forget to check out Everything APHA at booth #1800, where you can pick up this year’s red “I heart public health” T-shirt for $18, a portable mobile phone charger for $15 and all types of great public health books, including the latest edition of APHA’s “Control of Communicable Diseases Manual.” Nearby at the APHA Membership booth (also part of booth #1800), you can get your professional photo taken and gather some fun ribbons, hand sanitizer, screen cleaner and more.

Those interested in pursuing a public health degree will feel like a kid in a candy store at the Expo, where rows and rows of booths give you the scoop on programs across the land. Anyone else feeling the effects of Denver’s beautiful but dry weather? You’ll be especially grateful for the lip balm many booths are offering, and you’ll find some inviting couches to rest your weary feet tucked in among the expo offerings.

Not that we’re advising any slacking on your physical activity goals while you’re at the meeting. Check out the Wellness Center just around the corner from the Expo, where you can take advantage of stress-relievers and exercise breaks.

“It’s nice to see APHA embracing ways for people to be active during the Annual Meeting,” said outgoing Physical Activity Section Chair Dan Bornstein. “We’re thrilled.”

He said this while staffing the Section’s booth in the 2300/2200 aisle. He then demonstrated how to use one of its free exercise bands. Find some sample exercises on the Section’s Facebook page.

The expo is open Monday and Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Colorado Convention Center Halls A/F. You don’t want to miss it.

An Annual Meeting attendee stops by the University of San Francisco booth at the Public Health Expo. The booth is one of hundreds offering public health information, products and fun giveaways at the Expo. Photo by Michele Late/courtesy The Nation’s Health