The Spirit of 1848 A Network Linking Politics, Passion, & Public Health 
an officially recognized caucus within the American Public Health Association

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Why 1848?

2017 APHA Call for Abstracts
2016 APHA Activities
Reportbacks & Attendance Analyses

(for pdf version of the call for abstracts click here.)

American Public Health Association
2017 Annual Meeting & Expo
Atlanta, GA
November 4-8, 2017


We recognize we are issuing this call for abstracts at a turbulent time in the US, one with implications for health equity & this planet’s health & that of its peoples (& other beings) world over. In light of the US election results, the fight for health equity and a sustainable future in which all can truly thrive is more urgent than ever. And so, building on the 2017 American Public Health Association conference theme (“Climate Change: Public Health’s Global Challenge”), and recognizing that we have no idea how things will be in February 2017 (when abstracts are due) let alone November 2017 (when the APHA conference takes place), our Spirit of 1848 sessions will feature work that addresses:


We seek to create sessions that include presentations & discussions that will address:

1) climate justice & environmental justice (in diverse nations and globally, whether or not tied specifically to the policies & actions of the Trump Administration), with an emphasis on links between the past, present, and increasingly unknowable future;

2) additional health equity implications of Trump Administration social, economic, military, and health policies (above & beyond, and also in relation to, climate justice & environmental justice), and their impacts both within the US and globally, in conjunction with the civil society ripple effects (whether in the US, other countries, or globally) involving increased racism & racial harassment & anti-immigrant bashing & anti-Muslim discrimination, increased fear of sexual assault and its legitimation, rollbacks on sexual & reproductive rights (including but not limited to access to contraception and abortion, LGBTQ rights), etc.

3) both the serious threats we face AND the active organizing people are doing in public health, in coalition with others, to counter these threats and to promote, instead, health equity & a sustainable future in which all can truly thrive.

We recognize that not every presentation will address all three themes specified above, but collectively each session will include presentations that cover the full range.

Note: we have an OPEN CALL for abstracts for 3 of our Spirit of 1848 sessions: (a) politics of public health data, (b) progressive pedagogy, and (c) student poster session. Abstracts will be solicited (by invitation only) for our two other sessions: the history session and the integrative session.

In setting out this call for abstracts, we affirm our critical tradition of linking politics, passion, and public health – and encourage you to submit your abstracts in this spirit! (And we likewise encourage you to read the “call” for our history session, because it provides important historical context to the work at hand …) Note: the 2017 APHA meeting will take place in Atlanta, GA (Nov 4-8, 2017).


We list our sessions in the chronological order in which they will be presented at the APHA meeting, as follows: (1) social history of public health; (2) politics of public health data; (3) progressive pedagogy; (4) integrative; and (5) student poster session.


1) SOCIAL HISTORY OF PUBLIC HEALTH SESSION -- APHA 2017 (Mon, Nov 6, 10:30am -- 12 noon):

Session title: “Learning from the 1980s: Critical Historical Perspectives on Reagan-Era Activism for Health Equity and Climate Justice”

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be solicited; no contributed abstracts will be accepted.

The Social History of Public Health Committee of the Spirit of 1848 Caucus will SOLICIT abstracts from speakers who can present recent historical case studies of U.S. activism for health equity, human rights, and climate justice.

The 1980s serves as the primary period of focus for this panel because the transition in the U.S. from the Carter to the Reagan administration heralded an ideological and practical shift in the politics of health, economic/financial policy, human rights, and environmental issues. Critical historical analysis of the organized response to this right turn in U.S. domestic and foreign politics as they related to health equity may provide insights relevant to current changes in federal government ideologies.

• Immediately upon his inauguration in 1981, the incoming president, who had promised during his campaign to “make abortion illegal,” met with anti-abortion groups and then fulfilled their request to fire the head of the CDC’s abortion surveillance unit. He also ordered the removal of the solar panels that his predecessor had installed on the White House – a blunt signal of the environmental deregulation that was to follow.

• As the year wore on, the new president did nothing in response to alarming reports by federal health officials that an unusual cluster of rare cancers had appeared among otherwise-healthy gay men--later recognized as the first sign of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic. But he did not hesitate to take aggressive, immediate action to break the Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) strike—a move often viewed as the death knell for unions as a dominant political force in the U.S.

• The administration in 1981 also rushed to renew an aggressive arms race with the Soviet Union, embracing unlimited military spending and beginning proxy wars in Central America, including covert operations to arm and unify opponents to the revolutionary Sandinista (FSLN) government that had overthrown U.S.-backed Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979. Perhaps most importantly, the Reagan era marked the dawn of neoliberal ideology as official U.S. policy.

• The resulting withdrawal of the state from public services was felt domestically, and spawned protests against increases in hunger and homelessness including an encampment across from the White House that protesters dubbed “Reaganville.” But the most acute effects of neoliberalism would be felt in Third World countries. These countries would be pressured during the 1980s by the IMF and other Washington-based international lending bodies into draconian structural adjustment loans that forced them to cut off lifeline services that supported their citizens’ basic human needs.

Amidst these U.S.-led retrenchments from commitment to human well-being and human rights around the world, however, the Reagan era was also characterized by the growth of grassroots political movements to resist these developments: the Rainbow Coalition, which sought to build a more inclusive and equitable America; movements for affordable housing and an end to homelessness; the emergence of HIV/AIDs activism and the continued, related expansion of the gay, lesbian, & bisexual rights movement; the environmental justice movement; transnational struggles around reproductive health rights at home and abroad; organized opposition to covert U.S.-backed wars in Central America; and an expansion of U.S. activist involvement in the global struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

This session will involve professional historians as well as key historical witnesses in exploring ways that 1980s activist movements laid the intellectual and logistical groundwork for current and ongoing struggles against regressive health politics in the U.S. and around the world. The session may involve discussion of topics such as the environmental justice movement; women’s health activism; the Rainbow Coalition; HIV/AIDS activism; health aspects of the anti-Apartheid struggle and its links to the U.S. struggle for racial justice in health; movements to support Central Americans’ interrelated struggles for human rights, self-determination, and health; popular activist movements to resist the structural violence spawning the homelessness crisis of the 1980s; among others. The overall aim of the session will be to explicate the goals and strategies of the 1980s struggles for health equity and social justice, in order to inquire into their relevance to similar current-day resistance movements.

If you have any questions, please contact the Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members (Social History of Pubilc Health) involved with organizing this session: Marian Moser Jones (email:, Anne-Emanuelle Birn (email:, Luis Avilés (email:, also working on this session is subcommittee member Heather Orom.


2) POLITICS OF PUBLIC HEALTH DATA SESSION -- APHA 2017 (Mon, Nov 6, 2:30 - 4:00pm):

Session title: "Climate justice & toxic politics: Empirical research on effects on health equity and efforts to promote it"

NOTE: presentations for this session will be primarily drawn from abstracts submitted in response to the OPEN CALL for abstracts, supplemented by solicited abstracts, as warranted.

Abstracts are due on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017

The Spirit of 1848 Politics of Public Health Data session welcomes abstracts that use empirical research (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) to examine the overall theme of the Spirit of 1848’s Call for Abstracts: “Global climate change & toxic politics—and our urgent fights for health equity & a sustainable future.” Possible topics include:

• effects of Trump Administration policies on health and health-related equity in the US and/or elsewhere;
• effects of climate and environmental changes on health and health-related equity;
• using health data to advance organizing efforts to counter unequitable conditions due to fear, racism, and/or rollbacks on progressive policies;
• withholding, misrepresenting, or manipulating data to prevent action. We welcome submissions on other topics as well, as long as they pertain to the theme of the session.

We will have an open call for abstracts, with an option to solicit abstracts as well.

If you have any questions, please contact the Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members (Politics of Public Health Data) involved with organizing this session: Catherine Cubbin (email:, Zinzi Bailey (email:, Craig Dearfield ( and Nancy Krieger (email: Additional subcommittee members working on this session are: Melody Shlashinski, Laura Stein, and Jelena Todic.


3) PROGRESSIVE PEDAGOGY SESSION -- APHA 2017 (Tues, Nov 7, 8:30 - 10:00am):

Session title: "Progressive Pedagogy: Teaching about Links Between Toxic Politics and Climate/ Environmental Equity and Public Health"

NOTE: presentations for this session will be primarily drawn from abstracts submitted in response to the OPEN CALL for abstracts, supplemented by solicited abstracts, as warranted.

Abstracts are due on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017.

This session will have an OPEN CALL for abstracts regarding courses and training programs focused on the links between environmental justice, population health, and health equity AND/OR focused on the health impacts of the social, economic, and health policies of the Trump administration.

We welcome presentations about any such courses and training programs that variously seek to include (separately or jointly): students (high school; undergraduates; graduate); community activists, community organizations, and community members; government employees (whether in public health agencies, other state agencies, or in legislative or executive branches of government); or other groups.

Examples of topics can include (but are not restricted to) critical approaches to pedagogy that address:

Links between climate justice, environmental justice, and health equity;
Links between the health impacts of the social, economic and health policies of the Trump administration;
Community organizing about climate justice, environmental justice, and health equity, including current discussion about how to teach about Standing Rock;
Community organizing to address the health equity implications of the Trump administration;
Student-led efforts to radicalize the material they are taught so that they learn critical content and skills pertaining to climate justice, environmental justice, and health equity including student-led efforts to raise consciousness about threats of climate change and environmental injustice, as tied also to student-led efforts to have their educational institutions divest from fossil fuels.

If you have any questions, please contact the Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members (Progressive Pedagogy) involved with organizing this session: Lisa Moore (email:, Vanessa Simonds (email:, and Bekka Lee (email:; also working on this session is subcommittee member Wesley Epplin.

4) INTEGRATIVE SESSION -- APHA 2017 (Tues, Nov 7, 10:30am -- 12 noon:

Session title: "Planetary Emergencies: Climate Change & Toxic Politics – And Global & Indigenous Fights for Health Equity & A Sustainable Future."

This session focuses on one topic from the perspective of the 3 foci of our Spirit of 1848 caucus: social history of public health, politics of public health data, and progressive pedagogy.

For this year, we are exploring co-organizing this session with the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Caucus.

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be solicited; no contributed abstracts will be accepted.

The Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee member leading the organizing of this session is Nancy Krieger (email:

5) SOCIAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC HEALTH: STUDENT POSTERS -- APHA 2017 (Tues, Nov 7, 12:30 - 1:30pm):

For the APHA 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo (Atlanta, GA, November 4-8, 2017), the Spirit of 1848 Social Justice & Public Health Student Poster Session is having an *OPEN CALL FOR ABSTRACTS* for posters that highlight the intersection between social justice and public health from a historical, theoretical, epidemiological, ethnographic, and/or methodological perspective (whether quantitative or qualitative).

Abstracts are due on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017.

We welcome submissions by students (undergraduate and graduate) that are focused on work linking issues of social justice and public health, with a particular emphasis on work pertaining to climate change & toxic politics. This can include but is not limited to abstracts focusing on health equity, sustainable societies, discrimination, and decriminalization, including as related to health impacts of the social, economic, and health policies of the Trump administration.

We are interested in submissions not only from students in schools of public health and other health professions (e.g., nursing, medicine) but also from students in schools & programs focused on law, political science, public policy, government, economics, sociology, urban planning, etc. The work presented can be global, country-specific, or local.

Moreover, given that the call is open to students who may not have any experience submitting abstracts for a public health conference (e.g., undergraduates, and also students in disciplines outside of public health), we would like to point interested students to examples of abstracts selected in prior years for the student poster session (see 2016). Additionally, we plan to pair any undergraduates who have an abstract accepted with a student poster session committee member, to offer technical as well as conceptual guidance with regard to preparing a poster!

• We encourage students at ALL levels of training to submit abstracts, whether undergraduates, MPH or other master’s students, medical or nursing students, or doctoral students; submissions will be judged in accordance to expectations appropriate for each level of training. Postdoctoral fellows are NOT eligible to submit posters.

• Abstracts should focus on furthering understanding and action to address the ways that social inequality harms, and social equity improves, the public’s health. Examples of social inequality include inequitable social divisions within societies based on social class, race/ethnicity, nativity, Indigenous and immigrant status, gender, and sexuality, as well as inequitable relations between nations and geographical regions.

•This session will take place at the APHA 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo (Atlanta, GA, November 4-8, 2017) on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 in the 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm APHA time slot.

-- Please note that if your abstract is accepted we expect you to present your poster at the APHA conference. We understand that emergencies may occur; however, if you are not able to attend we ask that you find someone to present or stand with your poster so that we can maintain a full program. We make this request out of our commitment to fairness to other students – because any slot that turns into a “no show” could have been a slot in which another student could have presented. We will accept 10 abstracts (the maximum permitted) and create a waitlist, in case there are any cancellations among the 10 accepted abstracts.

• Abstracts are due on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017; all relevant instructions can be found at the APHA abstract submission website; see:

For any questions about this session, please contact Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Nylca Munoz (,other subcommittee members are: Jerzy Eisenberg-Gyuot, Lauren Stein, David Stupplebean, and Jelena Todic.

APHA Reminders re: Abstract Requirements & Continuing Education Credits:

• Abstracts should be no more than 250 words
• All presenters must be Individual members of APHA in order to present.
• All presenters must register for the meeting.
• Abstracts cannot be presented or published in any journal prior to the APHA Annual Meeting.

APHA values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, health educators and those certified in public health at its annual meeting. Please complete all required information when submitting an abstract so members can claim credit for attending your session. These credits are necessary for members to keep their licenses and credentials.

Each session presenter, faculty, responder, or panelist MUST HAVE: (a) Abstract Content; (b) Learning Outcomes; and (c) Conflict of Interest Disclosure

1. Title - Individual titles cannot be the same as the session title

2. Abstract - Each presenter needs an abstract describing what will be presented.
• An abstract should clearly state the purpose, the relevance, content and evidence based on the needs assessment for the topic
• At least one singular measureable learning outcome (formerly referred to as learning objectives)
No mention of commercial entity brand names product or service or promoting a single or specific product or service
• Author/faculty information

3. Learning Outcomes (formerly learning objectives)
A learning outcome reflects what the learner will be able to do as a result of participating in this educational activity. Each abstract needs at least one measurable SINGLE learning outcome based on the presenter’s abstract. No compound learning outcomes.

• Use the following verbs ONLY: explain, demonstrate, analyze, formulate, discuss, compare,differentiate, describe, name, assess, evaluate, identify, design, define or list.
Understand or learn are not measureable outcomes.

4. Qualification Statement
Each presenter MUST fill out the statement that describes their qualification for presenting and area(s) of expertise.
NOTE: this has been a big issue in the past and some sessions were not granted CE for this reason. Having a poor qualification statement can make a session ineligible for CE.

Good Example: “I am qualified because I have conducted research in the area of maternal and child health for the past 20 years and have given multiple presentations on this subject.”

Bad Example: “I am qualified because I am a professor at XYZ University.”

5. Conflict of Interest Statement
Each organizer, moderator, presenter, faculty, respondent, etc, MUST answer the “Required Disclosure” section on the Conflict of Interest Disclosure form.

“During the past 12 months have you, or your spouse or partner had a financial relationship that might potentially bias and/or impact content of the educational activity/session?”

Each organizer, moderator, presenter, faculty, discussant, responder, panelist MUST also sign the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form. Electronic signatures are accepted.

“Resolution: I agree not to promote any products, goods or services or to bias the educational content and to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest Policy, Commercial Support Standards, as they become applicable to me.”

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