Section Connection An insider's view of the APHA international health section

“Across the world, the lack of accountability for the harm to the environment and public health caused by conflict and military activities undermines global efforts to help fragile countries recover from armed conflicts”

Widad Akreyi

Issue 5 - October 2017

In This Issue:

  • IH Section Happenings
  • Meet Your Leadership
  • Explore IH Connect
  • Your Guide to the Annual Meeting
  • Member Highlights
  • Student Spotlight


  • Theresa Majeski - Editor-in-Chief
  • William Rosa - Associate Editor

IH Section Happenings

This section highlights the work the IH Section is doing to advance global health.

By Chelsea Alexandra Schafer

This past summer and fall, the International Health Section has been busy keeping members informed through webinars, updating vital Section documents, and making sure the Annual Meeting will run smoothly.

The International Health Student Committee (IHSC) continues to put on interesting and engaging webinars for all IH Section members. In June, IH members were offered the chance to attend a webinar title “From Implementing PEPFAR Programs in Africa to Intimate Partner Violence Prevention in Mexico - Two Paths to Becoming a Global Health Professional” with Kristen Stafford, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore and Sara Shuman, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, La Salle University and Director of Promotoras, Puentes de Salud in Philadelphia. They shared their experiences working on public health projects in resource-limited settings and discussed their insights. To view the webinar, click here.

Additionally, the IHSC held another webinar the end of September entitled “En Route from the Ebola Tent to Congress” featuring Deborah Wilson, RN and MPH candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Debbie led an interactive webinar walking attendees through a day at an Ebola Treatment Center, including a bit about the political fallout upon returning to the USA, and how her experiences shifted her from direct patient care to public health policy. To view this webinar, click here.

A subset of IH leadership continues to work on updating our Section Manual. This manual is the backbone of how our Section operates. It explains how the Section is governed, defines the roles and responsibilities of Section leadership positions, and outlines processes for decision making and leadership selection. As part of this work, this group is also updating our strategic plan as the IH Section develops its vision for the next five years. The development and implementation of the strategic plan will position the IH Section to better meet the professional development needs of members while also continuing the great work of global health advocacy for which the Section has become known.

Annual Meeting preparations have been underway since January. This summer and fall have seen the finalization of an excellent scientific program put together by our superb Program Committee Chair Jirair Ratevosian. Additionally, there are a few opportunities for IH members to get involved with volunteering and networking to make the most of their Annual Meeting attendance. For more information, see the “Your Guide to the Annual Meeting” article in this issue of the Section Connection.

Meet Your Leadership

Jessica Keralis - Governing Councilor
Jessica Keralis, Governing Councilor

I am happy to be sharing my experience with the IH Section again for the Section Connection, this time as a Governing Councilor. You can read more about my background in global health, along with information about the Communications Committee, in the October 2016 edition of the newsletter.

What is the Governing Council?

APHA’s Governing Council is its representative legislative body. Governing Councilors are elected by, and sent from, APHA’s Sections and state and regional affiliates (e.g., state public health associations) and other components. The Governing Council is convened virtually in June for a mid-year meeting and in person for 1½ days at the Annual Meeting each year. Governing Councilors represent their components by voting on proposed policy statements developed by members (always interesting and occasionally exciting) and changes to the Association’s by-laws (less exciting but still important), and electing the APHA wide officers, such as President, Treasurer, and Executive Board members. You can think of it as the “Congress” of the Association, but with less grandstanding and a higher approval rating.

What do Governing Councilors do?

Our Section’s Governing Councilors work actively to maintain a focus on global health in the Association’s policies, as well as its scientific and advocacy initiatives. We assess proposed policy statements as they are developed and work with other Sections to integrate global health elements into their policy proposals whenever possible. We also advocate for global health in Annual Meeting themes and select candidates for Association-wide offices.

How can members get involved?

For members who are passionate about policy and advocacy, the Governing Council is a fantastic way to get involved. Governing Councilors get a front-row seat to APHA’s policy development process. Many of us write policy proposals for issues we care about (although any APHA member can do this-it’s not limited to Governing Councilors), which can then be used as a tool for larger advocacy efforts – such as our efforts to challenge HIV-related travel restrictions. Governing Councilors are elected to two-year terms and can serve up to three consecutive terms at a time. We generally look for candidates to run for office who have been with the Section for at least two years and are able to attend the Annual Meeting.

However, you don’t have to be an elected Councilor to learn more and get involved! We always need proxies to stand in for our Governing Councilors when they have other commitments (such as presenting in or moderating scientific sessions) during the Governing Council sessions at the Annual Meeting. This is a great way to meet Section leadership and network with other Association members, and have a taste of what it’s like to serve in this capacity. If you will be attending the Annual Meeting Atlanta and are interesting in volunteering as a proxy, please contact me at jmkeralis@gmail.com, and copy our 2017 Governing Council Whip, Carol Dabbs, at carol_dabbs@yahoo.com.

Christopher Ibanga - Section Councilor
Christopher Ibanga, Section Councilor

My name is Christopher Ibanga from Nigeria. I started as a Nurse in 1988 but due to my interest in Health Education and Promotion, I went to study Health Education for my Bachelors and did my Masters in Public Health specializing in Health Education. I have worked in global health since the early 1990's, starting as a health journalist for some print and electronic media in Nigeria. I also volunteered to work in Rwanda where I was made the Head of Department of Nursing at the Byumba College of Nursing. I also assisted with health promotion activities at the refugee camp in Northern Rwanda. I have worked in Bermuda as a nurse and then with the World Health Organization in Nigeria as a Local Government Area Facilitator with a focus on Polio eradication and scaling up of immunization coverage. I am also involved in the training of Community Health Practitioners in Nigeria since being appointed Head of Department of Community Health at the Akwa Ibom State College of Health Sciences in 2016.

Left: Christopher leading a team of WHO field and local health staff to monitor immunization activities in the Riverine parts of Nigeria. Right: After a meeting with community leaders in one of the island communities of the River Niger Delta region.

What do Section Councilors do?

In summary, in our section, Section Councilors participate in monthly phone calls, staff the annual conference information booths and tables, serve on committees and working groups, attend the annual membership meetings at the conference and help make sure those go well, and generally participate in the life of the section.

Christopher staffing the International Health Section booth at the APHA Annual Meeting in 2014.

How can members get involved or become a Section Councilor?

To get involved is to first and foremost have that interest inside of you and then make yourself available to help the Section achieve its set goals and objectives. It could be sometimes stressful especially during the Annual Meeting, but it is the interest that drives you on to sacrifice your time and resources to do more. One can become a Section Councilor if you have the unwavering zeal to work for the advancement of the section in particular and APHA in general. Elections for Section Councilors are held every year. Section Councilors serve two-year terms. Anyone can nominate themselves to run for Section Councilor, no experience required. If you are interested in becoming a Section Councilor, email Amy Hagopian, Chair of the Nominations Committee, to find out more information.

“Transparency is critical in public health and epidemics; laypeople become either effective force-multipliers or stubborn walls.”

T.K. Naliaka

Explore IH Connect

By Jean Armas

Greetings from the Communications Committee!

We had a busy summer over at IH Connect. We recently welcomed two new bloggers: guest blogger Heather de Vries McClintock and regular contributor Kimberly Levitt. As always, we encourage all members to contribute to our blog, whether it is an upcoming conference or event you think our members would be interested in, global health job postings and internships, or commentary on global health policy and practice. We encourage you to visit our blog every week and read the latest opinion pieces from Section members, relevant Section news and global health news, as well as information on the upcoming Annual Meeting. While you’re there, don’t forget to join our over 1,300 followers and get new IH Connect content delivered to you via email.

IH Connect Spotlight

This summer, IH Connect featured a three-part series on health literacy by IH section member and guest blogger, Heather de Vries McClintock called: Global Health Literacy: Conceptual Basis, Measurement and Implications.

1) What is health literacy and why does it matter?

2) Health literacy: is educational attainment enough?

3) The evaluation and measurement of health literacy.

Section Announcements

Some of the exciting things that have been happening in APHA and our Section:

2017 International Health Section Section Election Results

2017 APHA International Health Section Award Winners Announced

IH Student Committee Hosted a Webinar on Pathways to Becoming a Global Health Professional on June 27th

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:

Improving LGBT Health Education in South Africa: Addressing the Gap by Kimberly Levitt

13 Years to Eliminate Morbidity and Mortality due to Viral Hepatitis - Global Partners Believe It Can Be Done! by Sophia Anyatonwu

The next big thing in global health innovation? A little less innovation, a little more implementation by Jean Armas

News Round-Ups

Our bi-weekly news round-ups, written by Abbhi Rajagopal and Steven Sur, 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.

September 24, 2017 News Round-up

August 30, 2017 News Round-up

Read our past news round-ups here.

Interested in Volunteering for IH Connect?

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.

Your Guide to the Annual Meeting

By Shazie Senen

Being a part of APHA is one of the exciting ways to welcome you to a world of public health. The Annual Meeting, for example, is one of its biggest perks and is an incredible way to network with like-minded individuals. It also offers a myriad of opportunities to connect with other IH Section member as over 12,000 public health professionals will be taking over Atlanta this fall. Opportunities for networking at the Annual Meeting are pretty much unparalleled.

There are different sessions available to cater to different interests.The IH Section, for instance, allows you to stay up to date with the latest public health work being done globally as well as learning about best practices. It is also a great way to get inspired to try something new or work towards manifesting your goals. Attending these sessions during this multi-day meeting can be overwhelming, however, as you are trying to absorb as much information as you can while trying to make connections with everyone else. For that reason, volunteering is a wonderful option to help you make those connections.

Amy Hagopian and colleague presenting their poster at APHA.

Volunteering at the International Attendees Welcome Desk is an incredible way to welcome our international colleagues and help ease their way into a successful Annual Meeting. All international attendees are encouraged to stop by our desk to pick up relevant information specific to each session. This volunteer opportunity staffs 2 people per 1-hour shift during this meeting, so when traffic is low, it can be used as a way to wind down and genuinely connect with other attendees with similar interests. This is a great opportunity for everyone, so whether you're a senior IH member, a student, or an early career professional, it is ideal for anyone seeking to develop solid career connections. Instructions will be provided to both newbies and veterans alike, so you will be well-equipped for the job regardless! To volunteer, sign up here.

Other beneficial ways to network include attending the Community-based Primary Health Care and Community Health Workers one-day workshop (additional fee). You can also attend the IH Section Open House and Membership Meeting on Sunday afternoon. You can also attend the social events, such as the Awards Ceremony, hosted receptions and ticketed luncheons (like the International Health Luncheon) at an additional fee. These events are a great way to network and meet people in a fun and relaxed environment.

IH Awards Reception. Photo credit: Mark Strand

Aside from that, there are a multitude of IH Section sponsored sessions. With the help of our abstract reviewers working hard late winter and early spring, the chosen abstracts are presented at the 40+ IH Section oral and poster sessions. These sessions include a wide array of fields - human rights, maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases, mental health, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and refugee health - just to name a few. You can meet the leader of your member group in the Public Health Expo at the Section/SPIG pavilion, mix and mingle at the Mix and Mingle Lounge in between sessions, or in the Expo where you get to meet exhibitor reflecting your interests.

Regardless of whether it's your first time to the Annual Meeting or you're a veteran, attending the New Member/Student Orientation the Sunday before the meeting will be useful in learning something new. You will be exposed to people from different fields and learn about the work of our committees and working groups. Being involved with them is also fruitful way of getting to know global health professionals while showing off your skills and dedication. Another interactive way to connect with professionals in the field is by attending APHA’s Global Public Health Film Festival, where they will be screening feature films and provide you the chance to meet with the experts and people involved in each film's development.

Some useful tips for first-timers:

  • Be prepared - APHA will be taking over Atlanta, so whether you're at the Annual Meeting or exploring city, be prepared with some business cards as you may never know who you'll meet.
  • Wear your badge - This lets other attendees know who you are, which may lead to a conversation. It also lets people know that you’re part of the event.
  • Download the mobile app - Attendees can share and communicate through the mobile app.
  • Set goals - With a rise of bullet journaling, make it your personal goal to meet at least six new people every day. You can interact, exchange information, and follow up with insightful conversations.

Ask meaningful questions when you meet someone. Instead of asking what they do, strive to find out what they are passionate about, what amplifies them in their work, who they are hoping to meet at the conference or what their personal interests are. This will establish a more meaningful relationship when you genuinely reach a deeper level.

Continue networking after the meeting. Networking doesn't stop at the Annual Meeting. In fact, post-meeting connections are just as important, so be sure to follow up.

Wherever your interests lie, attending the Annual Meeting will be a stepping stone in your career development. Not only will you be interacting with individuals with parallel interests, but you will also be inspired to ignite change personally, professionally, and collectively with others around you.

“In times of stress and danger such as come about as the result of an epidemic, many tragic and cruel phases of human nature are brought out, as well as many brave and unselfish ones.”

William Crawford Gorgas, Sanitation in Panama

Member Highlights

This section highlights the accomplishments and achievements of IH Section members. Readers can send their submissions to theresa.majeski@gmail.com to be featured in the next issue of Section Connection.

Featuring: Dr. Inon Schenker

APHA International Health Section Recognized as an Emerging Leader in Global Health Innovation

Dr. Inon Schenker, an active member of the IH Section is the recipient of the 2017 Velji Emerging Leader in Global Health Innovation Award- an international recognition of public health excellence in saving lives of populations in developing countries through global health innovation. The Award was presented to Dr. Schenker at a special ceremony held in Washington DC in the presence of leading scientists, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Directors, and Deans of Medical, Nursing and Public Health faculties from around the world, and members of his family.

Dr. Schenker, a researcher, manager and social entrepreneur was the founding chair of Jerusalem AIDS Project and is now Senior Director Global Public Health at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. He is also on the faculty of the Global Health Program at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Inon is representing the IH Section on the APHA Global MCH Network Steering Committee together with Laura Altobelli and Jason Paltzer.

Dr. Inon Schenker was honored for “his long distinguished career in public health and for innovations that are saving millions of lives in Africa and elsewhere”. He initiated and developed: ‘HIV as a Bridge for Peace’ -first implemented with Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians and later in the Balkans; ‘Operation Abraham Collaborative’ pioneer initiative in voluntary medical male circumcision for AIDS prevention; introduction of manikins and simulations in teaching surgical skills to South African community doctors; cartoons in school AIDS education -adapted in 29 countries including Myanmar, among other public health innovations.

The Award was presented to Dr. Schenker at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) annual conference in Washington DC attended by 1800 participants primarily from North America.

Left to right: Dr. Keith Martin Executive Director, CUGH and former member of Canadian Parliament; Prof. Ann Kurth, Dean of Yale University School of Nursing; Prof. Pierre Buekens, Dean Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Chair of CUGH Board; Prof. Anvar Velji, Associate Dean Global Health Sciences and Director of the Center for Global Health Research at the California University of Science and Medicine; Dr. Inon Schenker; Prof. Judith Wasserheit, Washington University Chair of the Department of Global Health; Prof. Nelson Sewankambo, Principal and Dean of Medicine at Makerere University in Uganda.
Featuring: William Rosa

In September 2015, as the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) neared completion, all United Nations (UN) member states unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Agenda. Comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, the Post-2015 Agenda illustrated a worldwide plan to end disparities, ensure human rights, and secure the future safety of the global village. The 17 SDGs call on the commitment and integrity of all nations, disciplines, and sectors to holistically address People, Peace, Prosperity, Partnerships, and Planet. Ultimately, the 2030 Agenda, expands the scopes of practice for global public health workers and creates innovative possibilities in research, practice, education, and policy.

According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 20.7 million nurses and midwives globally, creating up to 70% of the health care workforce and delivering up to 90% of all primary health care services. Despite our numerical power, nurses have been historically absent at decision-making tables of power and in leadership roles in the broader global health arena. My new book, A New Era in Global Health: Nursing and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, identifies roles for nurses related to each of the 17 SDGs and opportunities to contribute to the essential collaborative initiatives of our time.

This work emphasizes the importance of translating global priorities into local actions, and contextualizing local policies and public health measures to global settings. It invites nursing to take off potentially limiting disciplinary blinders, and seek ways to integrate the SDGs throughout all aspects of their advocacy at individual, family, group, community, and national levels.

Additionally, it reminds readers that being a “global” health care worker does not equate to venturing on mission trips or working abroad; it is really about elevating our consciousness to include concern and empathy for all peoples everywhere, being aware of the interpersonal and international implications of our personal-professional actions (and inactions), and ensuring the well-being of the planet. Stemming from the heritage of Nightingale - the quintessential scientist, economist, statistician, and public health advocate – A New Era in Global Health empowers nurses to co-create healing environments that are human-centered, environmentally sustainable, culturally reverent, ethically sound, and equitable in their accessibility.

While this book celebrates the work of nursing and provides future directions for our professional development, it is also a statement on the public health work we have yet to accomplish in having all specialties represented at the tables where these agendas are birthed and disseminated. In the end, A New Era in Global Health represents a new era in the need for respectful interdisciplinary partnerships and the synergy of all public health workers invested in a healthier planet.

Student Spotlight

By Alison Griner

Featuring: Beth Peterson

Beth Peterson

Walking around her neighborhood with a UNICEF box at five years old, Beth Peterson has been dedicated to social justice from a young age. Her passion for global health stems from her recognition of the great need for public health throughout the world. Specifically, Beth feels called to end HIV/AIDS. Thinking of all of those with HIV who are living in countries with limited health infrastructure and community resources. Even with PEPFAR - a USG initiative supporting HIV/AIDS care and treatment in developing countries - only about half the people who should receive treatment can actually access it. HIV/AIDS operates at the intersection of health, poverty, behavior, and justice, and particularly in global health the need is immense.

Beth began working in HIV/AIDS research in 2001 and spent time in developing nations organizing HIV training programs geared toward physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff as PEPFAR was scaled up in 2004. She has volunteered at the Anawim Mission in Nigeria and worked as a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counselor and also as a Medical Case Manager. Combining her global health and programmatic experience has strengthened her public health practice. Currently, Beth, a BEAT-HIV Project Manager for the BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory to Cure HIV-1 Infection by Combination Immunotherapy, works with many international partners to advance the field of HIV cure research. She serves on a Community Advisory Board for HIV cure research and volunteers as an AIDS Walk Team Captain. She hopes to combine her varied experiences and natural organizational abilities to not only advocate for research, but to be involved with a world-wide scale up of a cure for HIV.

Beth with some local children during her time at Anawim.

Beth has been passionate about public health for years, but only recently became involved with APHA. Last year, at the suggestion of a professor, Beth joined APHA. She was selected to join the International Health Student Committee and chair the Career Development Committee. The position has enabled her reach out to colleagues and professors to offer their experiences in a professional webinar series. She is very excited about the most recent speaker, who shares similarities to herself, enrolled in and MPH program and already working in public health. Beth has enjoyed the opportunity to chair the committee and is considering running for another position next year in order to interact more with IH Section members and leadership.

Click here to watch the webinars.

Connect with us:

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Background photo credits, in order:

2016 Tushar Sharma (Courtesy of Photoshare), 2013 Gregorio B. Dantes Jr. (Courtesy of Photoshare), 2012 Akintunde Akinleye/NURHI (Courtesy of Photoshare), 2012 Sanghamitra Sarkar (Courtesy of Photoshare), 2014 Prasanta Biswas (Courtesy of Photoshare), 2017 Riccardo Gangale (Courtesy of Photoshare), 2016 Sean G. Smith / Critical-Care Professionals International (Courtesy of Photoshare), UNMEER/Samuel Shilajiru

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