Section Connection An insider's view of the APHA International Health Section

“Pay attention to what makes you angry. That’s your issue choosing you.”

Dr. Lisa Chamberlain, MD MPH, Stanford School of Medicine, at #NetworkCommons

Issue 8 - July 2018

In This Issue:

  • IH Section Members Have Spoken
  • Member Highlights
  • Meet Your Leadership
  • NEW - Student Leadership Opportunity
  • Explore IH Connect
  • IH at the APHA Annual Meeting


  • Theresa Majeski - Editor-in-Chief

IH Section members have spoken

Engaging our members: Results of the 2018 Member Engagement Survey

By Jessica Keralis

At the beginning of this year, the International Health Section sent out its second annual Member Engagement Survey. The goals of this survey, jointly developed by the Membership and Communications Committees and the Global Health Connections Working Group, are to (1) understand how we can better engage our members and help them to get involved in Section activities and to (2) track how we are improving in this effort.

We have been working to analyze the data from this year's survey and compare it to last year's responses. We gain a huge amount of insight from the feedback we receive and are serious about using it to inform changes to our communications and approach to member engagement. We are definitely paying attention!

A summary report of the survey responses are included below. You can access this report, as well as de-identified survey response data, in the Section’s library on APHA Connect. (You will need to log into Connect using your member ID, so be sure to have it handy).

On January 15, a 21-question member engagement survey was sent out over APHA Connect and individually to all 2,154 Section members with a valid e-mail address. We received 261 responses between January 15 and February 8, a 12% response rate – up from 10% last year. By membership category, 43% of respondents were regular members (full, discounted, or affiliate), 30% were students, 17% were Early Career Professionals (ECPs), and 10% were retired. ECPs (17% of respondents vs. 10% of all members) were over-represented among survey respondents. Most (84%) indicated that they intended to renew their APHA membership.

Over a third (39.5%) of respondents have been members for less than a year, and an additional 31% have been a member for 1-3 years. The most common reason listed as the primary motivation for joining APHA was networking (43%), followed by professional collaboration ("to connect with other researchers/professionals to collaborate on studies/projects," 15%). A quarter of respondents indicated that they joined to either attend (12%) or present (13%) at an Annual Meeting.

Members could indicate if they were interested in learning more about the Section's committees and working groups, and could provide their e-mail address to receive information on how to get more involved. Respondents were most interested in the Advocacy/Policy (65.9%), Program (36.2%), Student (23.8%) and Mentorship (23.2%) Committees. Working groups with the largest number of interested respondents included Global Health Connections (65.9%), Maternal and Child Health (44.9%), and Community-Based Primary Health Care (43.9%). We sent these lists of respondent e-mail addresses to committee and working group chairs on February 13.

Overall, survey responses showed substantial improvement in how easy it is to get involved in Section activities, compared to last year’s survey. The average score increased from 3.027 to 3.224 (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most difficult and 5 being the easiest) between the 2017 and 2018 surveys. Additionally, the percentage of respondents who indicated that they found it difficult to get involved decreased. The percentage of those who rated this question with a 1 decreased from 9.8% to 5%, and those who rated a 2 decreased from 21.3% to 17.8%. Respondents who rated this question a 5 (easiest) increased from 11.1% to 14.7%.


Survey respondents’ awareness of the Section's communications platforms has also improved since the 2017 survey. Among the four platforms in the survey, awareness of APHA Connect (42%) and the quarterly Section Connection newsletter (42%) were highest, followed by the website (40%). Respondents were most likely to read the newsletter (23%) and the website (8%).

If you have any questions about the survey or interest in additional analysis, please feel free to reach out to the Communications Committee at ihsection.communications@gmail.com.

Member highlights

Featuring: Dr. Mark Strand

Dr. Mark Strand and his colleague Raihan K. Khan were recently published in the open access journal Epidemiology and Health.

Khan, RK and Strand MA. Road Dust and Its Effect on Human Health: A literature review. Epidemiology and Health. Published online April 10, 2018. doi:10.4178/epih.e2018013

Their article, Road dust and its effect on human health: a literature review, aims to determine the effects of road dust on human health. A PubMed search was used to extract references that included the words “road dust” and “health” or “fugitive dust” and “health” in the title or abstract. A total of 46 references were extracted and selected for review after the primary screening of 949 articles. The respiratory system was found to be the most affected system in the human body. Lead, platinum-group elements (platinum, rhodium, and bohrium), aluminum, zinc, vanadium, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were the components of road dust that were most frequently referenced in the articles reviewed. Road dust was found to have harmful effects on the human body, especially on the respiratory system. To determine the complex mechanism of action of various components of road dust on the human body and the results thereof, the authors recommend a further meta-analysis and extensive risk-assessment research into the health impacts of dust exposure.

To highlight your own work, awards, honors, etc. or that of a fellow IH Section member in future newsletters, email theresa.majeski@gmail.com

“Health happens in neighborhoods.”

Dr. David Erickson, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Meet your leadership

Featuring: Dr. Elvira Beracochea

By Janine Foggia

Dr. Elvira Beracochea is currently the president and CEO of Realizing Global Health; a global health consulting firm focused on improving healthcare delivery and strengthening health systems through strategic consulting. She founded Realizing Global Health thirteen years ago, and has been practicing in the field of global health for more than twenty-five years. Founding her own company has certainly been a defining moment in her global health career, as it involved taking risks to do work that she believes strongly in. In addition to her work with Realizing Global Health, Elvira serves as chair of the IH Section’s Awards Committee.

Dr. Elvira Beracochea

Involvement with the International Health Section

Elvira has a strong belief in being involved and engaged with professional associations related to your career field. She states that the International Health Section is “a place to network with other colleagues and to advance causes you’re passionate about.” Elvira’s involvement with the International Health Section has spanned numerous roles including; secretary, governing councilor, and most recently Chair of the Awards Committee. The Awards Committee is committed to recognizing the achievements of global health peers through selection of recipients of the Section’s annual awards.

Looking to the Future

As for the future, Elvira is hopeful about the advancement of digital application to the global health field, specifically phone apps. Digital technology allows us to become increasingly interconnected and provides an avenue for us to become more accountable for progress on our initiatives. Of key interest for Elvira are apps focused on supporting standard operating procedures and the management of health centers as well as apps related to labor and delivery.

Involvement Opportunities

Elvira highly encourages involvement in the Section. A key point she makes is that it is not enough to solely go to the sessions at the annual meeting but efforts to become engaged and network with others need to be made. It is through these highly meaningful connections that we will be able to accomplish so much more.

If you’re looking to get involved, opportunity is knocking. There are currently three openings with the Awards Committee. To find out more about the committee and how to get involved, visit IH Connect.

featuring: sophia Anyatonwu

By Yara Asi

Sophia Anyatonwu

The type of state- and county-level public health initiatives that Sophia Anyatonwu, Communications Committee Co-chair for the APHA International Health (IH) Section and the chair of the Social Media Subcommittee, has participated in are those that form the foundation of our national public health policies and activities. Following an interest in preventing infectious disease that she developed during her pursuit of an undergraduate degree in biology, Ms. Anyatonwu went on to receive her MPH in Epidemiology. She has since worked as an infectious disease epidemiologist at different levels within the state of Texas, participating in disease surveillance efforts, information sharing between local and state representatives, and data management. During her service in public health, she became involved in IH Section leadership after seeing an opening for Social Media Manager in the Section newsletter, seeking to expand her experience in social media management and writing. Today, her responsibilities include contributing to and distributing content for the blog, providing training for subcommittee members, coordinating social media activities for the IH Section, promoting member engagement, and highlighting the expertise of IH Section members.

Although much of Sophia’s current work relates to the public health needs in central Texas, her interests relate to health issues on a more global level. Her passion to build public health capacity extends beyond her local environment to the international scope, where she would eventually like to participate in health system evaluation and policy. Outside of infectious disease initiatives, Sophia seeks to implement equitable and sustainable evidence-based health programming related to maternal and child health, education, anti-human trafficking efforts, capacity building, and global missions and policies regarding humanitarian aid and economic development. As a member of IH leadership, her favorite projects include developing the IH Section Member Roadmap, training members on activities related to the social media efforts of the Section, and serving on the Global Health Mentoring Steering Committee. During the 2017 APHA Annual Meeting and Expo in Atlanta, she also volunteered at the Welcome Desk for International Attendees and served as a proxy on the Governing Council.

Sophia hard at work.

Ms. Anyatonwu’s leadership service does not end with the IH Section. She serves on the Governing Council of the Texas Public Health Association (TPHA) and is the Chair-elect of the Epidemiology Section for TPHA. In this latter organization, she developed a timely initiative (the Scrutinizer Challenge) that challenges members to apply their epidemiology skills in a practical way to news stories and research studies to ensure accurate representation of the field. She is also an active member of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), where she serves as the President-elect for her local APIC Chapter. She is actively engaged with several multidisciplinary committees and working groups, trains colleagues and interns, and interprets public health data for presentations. Sophia also finds time for professional development, stating she is “dedicated to continually seeking out opportunities to cultivate skills in strategic planning, leadership, and epidemiological methods.” To this end, she will soon be participating in an administration and management certificate program for public health professionals to develop these skills as she seeks to take her work from the local arena to the global arena.

New - student leadership opportunity

Two Interim Student Leadership Opportunities:

The APHA IH Section Leadership is writing to share a short-term opportunity: our appointed IH Student Committee leaders have had to step down for personal reasons and the IH Section is very interested in recruiting two interim, Acting Co-Chairs of the IH Student Committee.

The purpose of the IH Student Committee is to support and coordinate the efforts of the IH Section to reach out to students and early career professionals interested in careers in international and global health and to facilitate their engagement in IH Section activities. The committee chair is appointed by the IH Section Chair. Other IH Section student members representing a cross-section of schools of public health, medical schools, and young professionals can be appointed by the committee and IH Section Chair.

Responsibilities of these two positions are not overwhelming, and include the following:

  • Attending IH Section leadership conference call meetings, in order to represent student interests and serve student's needs with an official voice on leadership meetings (one hour the fourth Thursday of every month)
  • Identifying opportunities to link student members to our standing IH Section committee and working groups in order to develop future leadership for the IH Section
  • Helping to recruit students to take advantage of these identified opportunities
  • Organizing and leading the IH Student Committee meeting at the Annual Meeting, in order to ensure sustainability of IH Student Committee efforts and initiatives
  • As needed /as interested, recruiting a small team of other IH student members to plan and organize any activities of the IH Student Committee throughout the year

The IH Student Committee is formally described in the IH Section Manual, with some additional functions that we will share during a simple orientation for the selected Interim Acting Co-Chairs of the IH Student Committee.

Length of commitment:

These interim positions are a commitment from time of selection (anticipated July or August this summer) through the November 2018 annual meeting. The IH Student Committee traditionally selects new co-chairs and other committee leaders in person at the annual meeting. The Interim Acting Co-Chairs will have the option to submit their names to the IH Student Committee leader selection process for the coming year.

Applicants should be current members and should be planning to attend the Annual Meeting in San Diego this coming November 2018, where they will chair the meeting at which the new IH Student Committee leaders will be selected, to begin serving as of the end of the 2018 Annual Meeting.

Monthly level of effort of commitment:

Effective incumbents for the IH Student Committee co-chair positions have found that this responsibility requires a range of 2-6 hours per month, including participation on the monthly, one-hour IH Section Leadership calls, as well as emails and personal communication with other leaders of the IH Student Committee and full leadership body, as needed to direct and implement activities and initiatives the IH Student Committee may have undertaken.

Instructions to submit your name:

Interested candidates will please email Mary Carol Jennings (current Section Secretary, marycaroljennings@gmail.com) and Jay Nepal (current co-chair of IH Section Membership Committee, jnepal360@gmail.com) with a very short statement (<200 words) describing your leadership experience and your personal career and networking goals in the field of international health, as well as one concrete accomplishment you would like to undertake in the position of interim co-chair of the IH Student Committee.

Include your phone number and email so that we can contact you if you are short-listed.

Deadline for applications: Friday July 13

"Public health service should be as fully organized and as universally incorporated into our governmental system as is public education. The returns are a thousand fold in economic benefits, and infinitely more in reduction of suffering and promotion of human happiness."

Herbert Hoover, Former President of the United States

explore ih connect

By Jean Armas

Happy summer from the Communications Committee!

We are delighted to welcome some new bloggers to our communications team. Eighmey Zeeck has joined as a regular contributor and will be writing about reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health. Read her first post on the G20 making early child development a priority. We are also pleased to welcome back Dr. Heather F. de Vries McClintock who wrote a three part blog series on health literacy last summer. This summer’s series is called Intimate Partner Violence: Global Burden, Risk Factors and Outcomes.

In addition to our blog, our Facebook and Twitter accounts are updated almost daily with links on news articles and opinion pieces we are reading, jobs and internships (#IHJobBoard), as well as education and training opportunities. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and follow our blog to get IH Connect content delivered directly to you via e-mail.

Section Announcements

The latest news from APHA and our Section:

Mid-Year Message From Our Chair

Separating parents and children at US border is inhumane and sets the stage for a public health crisis

Learn more about what’s happening in APHA and our Section here.

Analysis and Commentary by Section Bloggers

The latest opinions and insights from our regular contributors:

MS: An Unpredictable Disease That Needs More Attention by Christa Cook

Empowering Women to Take Control of their Sexual Health by Cherrelle Dorleans

Challenges Accessing PReP for HIV Prevention in England by Kimberly Levitt

World No Tobacco Day 2018 by Abbhi Rajagopal

News Round-Ups

Our bi-weekly news round-ups provide readers with a glimpse of what’s happening in the global health world in the areas of politics, technology, environmental health, maternal and child health, human rights and more.

June 27, 2018 News Round-up

June 14, 2018 News Round-up

Read our past news round-ups here.

Interested in volunteering with us?

IH Connect is run by a dedicated group of IH section volunteers. If you would like more information about volunteering as a guest blogger, a regular blog contributor, or a special projects volunteer, please contact us at ihsection.communications@gmail.com or click here.

IH At the APHA ANnual meeting

Dear IH Section members,

Greetings to all! The countdown has begun for the APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego, November 10-14, 2018, with the theme, Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now. The meeting is shaping up with marvelous opportunities for you to hear stimulating speakers discuss the most up-to-date ideas and findings in global health research, policy and practice, with professional networking opportunities galore. San Diego is also a wonderful site-seeing destination if you have an extra day. Be sure to take advantage of Early Bird rates if you register for the meeting by August 16. See https://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual.

Here are a few Annual Meeting highlights that we are planning for you:

--For those working or hoping to work in community health, you may like to attend an enlightening and energizing pre-conference workshop on Community Health Workers, organized by our IH Community-Based Primary Health Care Working Group in collaboration with the APHA Community Health Worker (CHW) Section. Register here.

--A special session will commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Alma Alta on Primary Health Care.

--You won’t want to miss the IH Awards Ceremony and Networking Reception in San Diego. This year a new Young Professional award will be given to an outstanding IH member under 30 years of age who has shown special initiative in global health. The awards event will also feature ample time for newer section members to network with more experienced IH members for professional contacts and learning how to engage with APHA as your professional organization.

Enjoy your summer!


Laura C. Altobelli, DrPH, MPH

Chair, International Health Section

American Public Health Association

a selection of ih Annual Meeting sessions

Reducing the Burden of Disease due to Non-communicable Diseases Globally (NCD): Challenges and Opportunities

The WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Non-Communicable Disease report “Time to Deliver,” has finally put NCDs firmly on the global health agenda. In response to this call, the International Health section of the APHA will be hosting a special session at APHA: “Reducing the Burden of Disease due to Non-communicable Diseases Globally (NCD): Challenges and Opportunities.

Presenters include:

  • Mokdad Ali, Director, Middle Eastern Initiatives, Professor, Global Health, University of Washington
  • Mark Strand, PhD. Professor, North Dakota State University,
  • Priya Kanayson, MPH, Senior Advocacy Officer at NCD Alliance
  • Kokaale Amissah-Aidoo , Outreach Coordinator, Hesparian Foundation

Please make plans to attend APHA in San Diego, Nov 19014, 2018, and join in the global conversation on NCDs.

Working Group on International Abortion

The International Health (IH) Section and the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) sections are forming a Working Group on International Abortion. At this time, Sarah Shannon and Carol Dabbs of IH Section, and Beth Rivlin and Angel Foster of the SRH Section are working to organize this effort.

We have scheduled a meeting of those who are interested in participating in the working group during the Annual Meeting in San Diego. This session (which is included in the SRH program for technical reasons having to do with how the program is planned), is as follows:

233.0 - BM: Sunday, November 11, 2018: 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m., Hilton: Indigo Ballroom BF

In addition, we hope to offer a joint session entitled Defending Women’s Rights in the Context of the Global Gag Rule. Planned contents would include a description of the current Global Gag Rule; identification of how it will impact programs, institutions, health care, and health outcomes; and consideration of responses and advocacy that can mitigate negative impacts.

help support early career professionals to attend the annual meeting

The International Health section will be offering two $250 scholarships to Early Career Professional (ECP) section members whose meeting abstract submissions were scored the highest in the peer review process. These scholarships area funded by section member donations. Section members are encouraged to make a donation to the IH Section Enrichment Fund to support these scholarships, and other critical functions of the section. Here is a link to make an on-line donation now: http://bit.ly/2dAmAP7

Connect with us:

IH Connect, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Background photo credits, in order:

2016 Sarah Hoibak/VectorWorks, Courtesy of Photoshare; 2017 Sohel Parvez Haque, Courtesy of Photoshare; 2014 Sukriti Gangola, Courtesy of Photoshare; 2015 Radha Rajan, Courtesy of Photoshare; 2017 David Alexander/Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, Courtesy of Photoshare; 2016 PATH/Gabe Bienczycki, Courtesy of Photoshare; Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development; Chhor Sokunthea/Word Bank

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