Meet Your Leadership
Rose Schneider - Climate Change and Health Working Group Chair
By Ryan Jackson, MD, MS, FRSM
Initially I served as a nurse instructor and hospital supervisor in a 400 bed regional hospital in western Honduras. I returned to the U.S. and did my MPH in International Health at Hopkins. I then served as a Nutrition Planning Advisor to the Government of the Dominican Republic. As the first Director of Health of Plan International, I initiated their first primary health care programs as a model for the organization. I served as a Family Planning Specialist for four Latin American Countries to increase sustainability of FP training programs. This led to developing my consulting skills and the extensive work in some 34 countries where I provided project design and evaluation technical assistance to a number of NGOs, consulting firms, and private organizations.
What does the IH Climate Change and Health Working Group do?
APHA has declared 2017: the "Year of Climate Change and Health". To support this declaration, Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health will be the official theme for next year's conference in Atlanta. International public health professionals have a critical role to play: the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change states that it is “the greatest opportunity for global health in the 21st century”.
The International Health Climate Change and Health Working Group (IHCC&HWG) is a small, active group with the mission to increase the awareness of the IH Section regarding the toll of climate change on health and provide guidance to IH members on climate change activities and to facilitate connections to the broader CC&H activities across APHA. Active support of the IH Section Leadership and additional active IH members are needed to implement this strategy and make it successful.
Some activities we engage in include:
- Surveying IH members on awareness and interest in climate and health;
- Providing access to webinars, links, blog content and other methods to IH leadership and members;
- Responding and reaching out to other sections and working groups, and to alliances and topic committees to co-sponsor, co-organize, and endorse presentation and other IH CC activities, and;
- Participating in development of the Transition Memo to the incoming U.S. President.
What benefits do members get from being part of the IH Climate Change and Health Working Group?
Participating in the IH CC&H WG would provide members with access to a wealth of information on climate change activities through webinars, meetings, presentations, etc., to build their expertise in climate change and health. Members can learn to lead others (professionals and the public) to an awareness of climate change and to take action on climate change adaptation, mitigation and advocacy.
The IH CC&H WG is a small active group supporting the IH Section to address issues of climate change and health, and urging other CC groups in APHA to consider developing countries’ vulnerable populations to be disproportionately more at risk. It is a great opportunity to address the “biggest challenge to health in this century”. We welcome new members!
How can members learn more about the IH Climate Change and Health Working Group and how to get involved?
Core IH CC&HWG member contacts are Rose Schneider at email@example.com and co-chair Ray Martin at MartinRS@aol.com.
Kevin Sykes - Policy and Advocacy Committee Chair
By Monika Mann, MPH
Along with his work as the Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kevin Sykes volunteers as the Chair of the IH Policy and Advocacy Committee.
Kevin has had an interest in international health since he was an undergraduate student. Currently, the major focus of his international work is on examining unintended consequences of humanitarian aid delivery, and identifying effective models of short-term medical missions. Recently he carried out a qualitative research study to determine why people volunteer for short-term international experiences and what expectations they have. He is also working with a group at Harvard to develop short-term international trips that include public health students as well as aspiring medical students. A key element to these trips is to carry out thorough needs assessments, and then base the volunteer activities on the findings of the assessment.
What does the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee do?
The Health Policy and Advocacy Committee works to advance international advocacy efforts as well as write policy statements. Policy statements serve as a collective voice of the APHA and can thereby bolster advocacy efforts around specific causes. The statements are important advocacy tools used to influence legislation at all levels of government. Individuals can use policy statements to support activities such as letters to newspaper editors. Members of the IH Section may suggest issues to the committee that they think deserve advocacy. Often, the committee works collaboratively with other Sections to draft official APHA policy statements. This was the case recently when the committee worked with members of the Food and Nutrition Section to help draft a statement on international food aid.
For more information on the importance and use of APHA policy statements, click on this link.
What kind of commitment is required for members on this committee?
Health Policy and Advocacy Committee is always looking for members who would like to be involved in their work. There is no long-term commitment necessary and members of the IH section can volunteer regularly, sporadically, or just on one individual item. The committee primarily operates electronically through a Google group.
How can members be more involved in the committee?
They can contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the committee co-chair, Elizabeth Holguin at email@example.com
Jirair Ratevosian - Program Committee Chair
By Leso Munala
Jirair Ratevosian is the first born son of a large Armenian immigrant family. His drive for public health stems from personal and professional involvement in public health beginning in college. His early work on HIV/AIDS drew him to Boston where he completed a master’s degree in public health. In graduate school, Jirair remained active in local and international advocacy issues while working for Physicians for Human Rights. In Washington D.C, Jirair worked for amfAR on policy initiatives focused on LGBTQ and vulnerable populations. He worked to modernize the U.S. harm reduction policy by lifting restrictions for syringe access programs and the travel entry ban for individuals living with HIV. In 2011, Jirair joined the office of U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). As a Legislative Director, Jirair worked closely with Members of Congress and federal agencies to help shape implementation of the Affordable Care Act and was lead staff author of the Health Equity and Accountability Act, and the PEPFAR Stewardship and Accountability Act. In Congress, Jirair worked to foster bipartisan partnerships with lawmakers and community advocates to start the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus and secure funding for public health and foreign assistance. Currently at Gilead Sciences, Jirair works with governments in Africa to expand access to lifesaving medicines.
What will the Program Committee work on in 2017?
The development of the International Health Section’s scientific program for APHA’s 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo is the responsibility of the Program Planning Committee. The general responsibilities of the Program Planning Committee include:
- Creating a call for abstracts;
- Establishing criteria for abstract review;
- Establishing a review committee to review over 500 abstracts online;
- Accepting, declining, or wait-listing all abstracts;
- Arranging the abstracts into sessions;
- Selecting moderators for each oral and roundtable session;
- Coordinating publicity by preparing information on the Annual Meeting for the section newsletters, national journals and publicity brochures;
- Organizing invited sessions by developing invited session content and invited speakers, and;
- Scheduling business meetings and social hours.
What is the benefit for members involved with the Program Committee?
Working with the Program Committee allows members to have a bird’s eye view of the myriad of programs, activities and research efforts employed by hundreds of public health practitioners around the world. At the same time, members get to learn about the inner workings of APHA and the organization of the Annual Meeting, which brings together thousands of people and hundreds of events and sessions.
How can members learn more about the Program Committee?
For more information about the Program Committee, or to sign up as an abstract reviewer, please contact Jirair Ratevosian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The APHA-wide call for abstracts is now out. You can click this link for more information on guidelines and deadlines (Feb 24, 2017).
Editor's Note: The Climate Change and Health Working Group is offering their assistance to Section members who want to submit abstracts for the 2017 annual meeting. They want to remind section members that abstracts submitted do not have to be project-based but can be programmatic-based or policy-focused, and abstracts do not have to have final data before being submitted to APHA. Rose Schneider (email@example.com) has offered to mentor APHA abstract newcomers through the process.