Georges BenjaminDear APHA members, partners and friends,

It’s my great pleasure to welcome you and thousands of your fellow public health supporters to the city of San Diego for APHA’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo. This year — our 146th annual convening of public health workers, scientists, advocates, educators and students from around the world — we’ll be zeroing in on the urgent need for health equity and how to achieve it.

With a meeting theme of “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now,” attendees will get to choose from hundreds of presenters who’ll be speaking on the science, partnerships and strategies being used to effectively advance health equity in communities big and small and from coast to coast. Theme-related scientific sessions will run the gamut, from how to improve equity in reproductive health and cancer care to how to engage and mobilize community stakeholders in grassroots equity efforts.

You’ll also get the chance to network with leaders in the health equity field, swap stories of success and setback with colleagues and friends, and meet potential new partners in the long journey upstream to tackle the social and economic roots of poor heath and disease. Ultimately, we want you to leave San Diego feeling connected to a countrywide movement to create the healthiest nation — something we simply can’t achieve without a concerted focus on advancing equity and justice for all.

Just a few examples of the Annual Meeting’s impressive equity line-up includes Monday sessions on “Mobilizing Communities to Advocate for Health Equity,” which will feature presentations from equity initiatives in Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky, as well as “Global Health and Human Rights,” which will highlight the dangerous conditions threatening health in Bolivia, Syria and at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Tuesday, “Roundtable for Action: Climate Change, Population Health and Mental Health” will focus on protecting vulnerable populations during natural disasters and will include experiences and lessons learned from Hurricanes Harvey and Maria.

Also on Tuesday, presenters will be marking the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act during a session on the “Intersection of Housing Law and Health Equity,” where attendees can learn about the legacy and role of fair housing laws in protecting under-served communities. And on Wednesday, join leaders in the field of injury prevention and control as they discuss the urgent need for a public health response to the nation’s gun violence epidemic during “Keep Us Safe: Focusing Our Gun Violence Prevention Efforts.” Of course, this is only a small handful of the many scientific sessions and events focused on this year’s theme of “Health Equity Now” — you can use the free APHA 2018 app to easily search through a full-listing of theme-related sessions. Beyond health equity, the meeting offers sessions, socials and celebrations for practitioners from every discipline in the public health field.

Friends, it’s been another long year of fighting to protect people’s health and the public health systems that help ensure all people have an opportunity to live long, healthy lives free from preventable disease and injury. Whether it’s urging members of Congress to increase public health funding or suing federal agencies to uphold public health protections, APHA gets its inspiration and strength from you — the thousands of public health workers who go out every day into their communities to learn, listen and help create a healthier future for all. I can’t wait to see that powerful passion and dedication on full display in San Diego.

In solidarity and good health,
Georges C. Benjamin, MD
Executive Director

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider donating to our annual Help Us Help Them campaign. This year’s campaign benefits Home Start, a San Diego nonprofit that works to prevent child abuse by addressing the social conditions that contribute to healthier families and communities. Donations can be made via your Annual Meeting registration form. If you’ve already registered, you can log back into your record to make a contribution or you can stop by any on-site registration counter at the San Diego Convention Center to donate.

Unable to attend in person? Participate in the APHA Annual Meeting and Expo virtually with APHA Live. View top sessions via live streaming or on-demand video. You can also earn continuing education credit.