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?

2018 APHA Call for Abstracts
2017 APHA Activities
Reportbacks & Attendance Analyses

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

American Public Health Association
2018 Annual Meeting & Expo
San Diego, CA
November 10-14, 2018


Last year, we started our call for abstracts by stating: "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."

One year later, these words regrettably hold true. During the past year, the Trump administration and its allies have intensified their assaults on social justice and the people’s health in the US and worldwide. They have been giving new platforms to and advancing the agenda of: (a) the 1% and their avaricious agenda of increased privatization, tax cuts for the wealthy, and starvation of vital social services and government programs that protect the people’s health (as per the tax bill brought before Congress at the time of preparing this document); (b) the alt-right and other white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic zealots; (c) religious fundamentalists who would deny sexual and reproductive rights to women & LGBT communities; and (d) corporations whose profits derive from despoiling the world and the ecosystems which are the habitat for us humans and the myriad species with whom our lives are intertwined. Seeking to establish a world of “alternative facts,” the Trump administration and its allies have also trashed scientific evidence and targeted scientific agencies and researchers whose work stands in the way of their political and economic agenda.

And of course, the Trump Administration and its promoters and minions have not gone unopposed. Both in the US and globally, there has been intense resistance and organizing to oppose this horrific agenda, including within the public health community.

It is in this spirit that we are organizing our roster of Spirit of 1848 sessions, listed below, for the American Public Health Association (APHA) 146th annual meeting, to be held in San Diego, CA, November 10-14, 2018. The official conference theme is: “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now.”

Spirit of 1848 sessions – by day, name, and time, and whether an OPEN CALL for abstracts or SOLICITED ONLY  

Monday, 11/12/18

Special activist session

8:30 am to 10 am



Social history of public health

10:30 am to 12 noon



Politics of public health data

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm


Tuesday, 11/13/18

Progressive pedagogy

8:30 am to 10:00 am



Integrative session

10:30 am to 12 noon



Student poster session

12:30 pm to 1:30 pm



Labor/business meeting

6:30 to 8:00 pm


Below we provide: (1) the specific instructions for each session, and (2) the APHA instructions about preparing abstracts, with regard to word limits, membership & registration requirements, and information required to enable the session in which a presentation is included to qualify for continuing education credits.

We start by noting that our overall theme -- “Collective struggles for health equity: activists, allies & adversaries – past, present, and future” -- is motivated by our recognition that it is not enough to say we are for health equity: it is also essential to identify who and what are the obstacles to achieving health equity.

Our Spirit of 1848 sessions for the 2018 APHA meeting accordingly will both: (1) call out and name the adversaries to health equity, including the many institutions and social groups who benefit from social inequality, while also: (2) calling attention to the activists and allies engaged in the collective struggle for social justice, which promote health equity. Analysis of struggles led by activists & allies against their adversaries is needed at multiple levels: global, within countries, and within institutions, including the institutions in which many of us work and teach.

Our sessions will emphasize the need for: (a) structural analyses of the societal determination of health that is historically grounded, and (b) critical reflection on the concrete steps that activists and allies are taking to challenge exploitation and oppression, and to enhance possibilities for ensuring an equitable and sustainable future.

Our sessions will also emphasize principles of solidarity, for struggles within and across diverse societies, coupled with understanding of how histories of colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberal regimes have led some nations to benefit from exploiting the people and resources in other nations. We note with concern the latent nationalism lurking in the phrasing of the APHA general theme of “creating the healthiest nation” which has appeared as the prefix to each annual meeting’s specific theme for the past few years – and we ask: why not instead have the goal be: “creating the healthiest world”!

Our sessions will additionally emphasize the importance of approaches that call out the strengths of communities that are fighting for health equity, as opposed to focusing solely on their deficits in resources and deficits in health. We likewise will call for analyses that focus the challenge of calling for accountability in systems that are premised on inequality, both past and present.

In approaching this work, we draw on the keen insight of Raymond Williams (1921-1988), a radical English cultural theorist and activist, who remarked, during the heyday of the anti-nuclear campaigning in the 1970s, that for this fight to succeed, it requires:
   (a) being clear on what we are for, not just what we are against, and
   (b) “making hope practical, rather than despair convincing”

See: Williams R. The politics of nuclear disarmament. (1980). In: Williams R. Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, and Socialism; edited by Robin Gable. London: Verso, 1989.


Instructions for what we are seeking for each session (listed in chronological order) are as follows:

1) SPECIAL ACTIVIST SESSION (Mon, Nov 12, 8:30am -- 10:00am):

Title: “Spirit of 1848 special activist session: a Chicago case example of public health professionals allying with and training community members for the collective struggles for health equity”

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be SOLICITED (due: April 9, 2018).

Our 2nd-ever "special activist session" will focus on the activism of public health workers in Chicago who have been allying with and setting up sessions to train community members to prepare testimony for city council and legislative hearings, to write op-eds, or engage in other public forums.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizers, who are Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Rebekka Lee (email:, and Catherine Cubbin (email:, who will be working on this session with Jim Bloyd (email:


2) SOCIAL HISTORY OF PUBLIC HEALTH SESSION (Mon, Nov 12, 10:30am -- 12 noon):

Title: “Health Justice at the Border/Land: Critical Historical Perspectives on Struggles for the Peoples’ Health in the Transnational Political Economy of Alta/Baja California.”

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be SOLICITED (due: April 9, 2018).

The Social History of Public Health Committee of the Spirit of 1848 Caucus will SOLICIT abstracts from speakers who can present historical case studies of movements for health justice as they have played out within and across the transnational border/land that spans California and Mexico. This region lies at the heart of transnational and U.S. debates over immigrant and migrant workers’ struggles for health equity.

Presenters, who will include witnesses to history, agents of historical change, and professional historians, will address how migrant and immigrant communities within this region have fought for their rights to collective health and well-being, land, and social citizenship. These presentations may involve analysis of organized movements or community-based struggles for health justice and may explore how people, communities and movements have: confronted formidable adversaries such as corporations, landowners, and government actors; resisted restrictive immigration policies and oppressive labor conditions; and built alliances locally and/or across borders to empower and strengthen their communities and the peoples’ health.

Examples of presentations may include:
• a) An examination of historical and ongoing movements among day laborers to organize for improved occupational health and safety and for rights as immigrants, (See;

• b) An analysis of how a trans-border agricultural labor force, while denied the benefits of U.S. citizenship, became central to the agricultural economy of California during the twentieth century, as well as how these members negotiated lives across borders and fought for their health and well-being;

• c) A presentation by a leader in the movement for farm workers’ rights addressing struggles against large agricultural corporations for protection of migrant farm workers for a healthy and safe work environment - especially one that not only protects workers against harmful pesticides and overwork, but that protects women workers against the danger of assault and harassment in the workplace (See

Presenters may be joined by a discussant who can make connections between these overlapping struggles for health justice and the larger politics of race, class, and citizenship within the region of Alta/Baja California.

Critical historical analysis of these cases as they relate to health justice may provide insights relevant to current struggles in distinct contexts in their confrontations with/resistance to institutions, groups, and interests that have endangered or opposed the peoples’ health, and by elucidating ways that these sometimes formidable adversaries have been effectively countered or disarmed. The overall aim of the session will be to draw upon these case studies in order to illuminate and inspire contemporary movements for health equity/health justice across geographic, political, and cultural boundaries.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizers, who are Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Marian Moser Jones (email:, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, (email:, Luis Aviles (email:, and Nancy Krieger (, and also Miranda Worthen (email:


3) POLITICS OF PUBLIC HEALTH DATA SESSION (Mon, Nov 12, 2:30 - 4:00pm):

Title: "Data for collective action: empirical evidence about structural determinants of health to aid struggles for health equity"

NOTE: presentations for this session will be primarily drawn from abstracts submitted in response to the OPEN CALL for abstracts (Due: Feb 19, 2018), supplemented by solicited abstracts as warranted.

The Spirit of 1848 Politics of Public Health Data session welcomes empirical presentations of analyses of structural determinants of population health (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods) geared towards producing evidence for action.

Abstracts/presentations should (1) include historically-grounded structural analyses of the societal determination of health inequities and/or health equity, and (2) show how such analyses can be done, as opposed to provide critiques without concrete analyses.

Examples of the structural analyses would include but not be limited to:
• (a) struggles over neoliberalism and public disinvestment and their impacts on health inequity;

• (b) struggles over city budget and planning policies (including in relation to housing and gentrification) and their long-term health consequences;

• (c) struggles over health care financing and profits and their implications for health inequities, using health expenditure data;

• (d) the health impact of militarization of the police; and

• (e) how structural changes for equity (outside as well as in public health and other health arenas) can promote health equity.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizers, who are Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Zinzi Bailey (email:, Catherine Cubbin (email:, Craig Dearfield (email:, and Nancy Krieger (email:


4) PROGRESSIVE PEDAGOGY SESSION (Tues, Nov 13, 8:30 - 10:00am):

Title: "Making Hope Practical: Progressive Pedagogy That Enhances Capacity for Civic Engagement in the Collective Struggle for Health Equity"

NOTE: presentations for this session will be primarily drawn from abstracts submitted in response to the OPEN CALL for abstracts (Due: Feb 19, 2018), supplemented by solicited abstracts as warranted.

This session will have an OPEN CALL for abstracts for practical presentations that focus on pedagogy that enhances capacity for civic engagement in the collective struggle for health equity, including capacity to identify the relevant adversaries as well as allies and activists. 

We call for work that shows how such pedagogy can be carried out, as well as student-led presentations offering a critical analysis of the pedagogy they wish to be part of that may not be currently part of their educational programs.

A key concern is how to teach about health inequities that “makes hope practical,” in a way that enables those who are learning to expand their political analysis and understanding of context so as to build up solidarity to challenge inequities, rather than becoming overwhelmed and despairing.

We welcome presentations about any such pedagogic initiatives that variously include (separately or jointly): teachers (i.e., train teachers to teach such material and approaches); students (high school; undergraduates; graduate); community activists, community organizations, and community members; government employees (whether in public health agencies, other state agencies, or in the legislative or executive branches of government); or other groups.

We are also aware that we are encouraging this focus in a time of intensive struggle over the meaning of “free speech” and threats to academic freedom, and will also seek presentations that discuss practical ways to engage with these struggles within educational institutions, framed by analysis of adversaries, allies, & activists.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizers, who are Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Vanessa Simonds (email:, Lisa Moore (email: and Rebekka Lee (email:

5) INTEGRATIVE SESSION (Tues, Nov 13, 10:30am -- 12 noon:

Title: "Taking on adversaries & creating new allies in the collective struggle for health equity: insights from initiatives from across the public health rainbow"

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be SOLICITED (due: April 9, 2018).

As usual, this session will include presentations that together address our chosen Spirit of 1848 social justice & public health theme, drawing on insights from the 3 foci of the Spirit of 1848 caucus:
• (1) the social history of public health;

• (2) the politics of public health data; and

• (3) progressive pedagogy.

The session’s invited panelists will provide short presentations (5-7 minutes each) that describe lessons learned about taking on adversaries and creating new allies in the collective struggle for health equity. The focus will be on initiatives and campaigns that confront health-harming policies and practices of both governments and the private sector in the US and globally, including in relation to racial justice, environmental justice, climate justice, reproductive justice, LGBTQ and reproductive rights, Indigenous rights, immigrant rights, policing & mass incarceration, and economic justice. A half-hour will then be devoted to spirited exchange between both the panelists & the audience to build on the ideas and inspiration seeded by the session.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizer, Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee member Nancy Krieger (


For the APHA 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo (San Diego, CA, November 10-14, 2018), 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).

NOTE: Abstracts are due on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2017; all relevant instructions can be found at the APHA abstract submission website.

We welcome submissions by students (undergraduate and graduate) that are focused on work linking issues of social justice and public health. This can include, but is not limited to, work concerned with the Spirit of 1848’s theme for the conference: “Collective struggles for health equity: activists, allies & adversaries – past, present, and future.” Our sessions at the conference will both:
• (1) call out and name the adversaries to health equity, including the many institutions and social groups who benefit from social inequality, while also:

• (2) calling attention to the activists and allies engaged in the collective struggle for social justice, which promote health equity.

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

Note: since our 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, for example, 2017 and 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 about preparing a poster!

We encourage students at ALL levels of training to submit abstracts, whether undergraduates, MPH or other master 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 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo (San Diego, CA, Nov 10-14, 2018) on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 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 are requesting this commitment out of fairness to other students submitting abstracts, 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 of 5 abstracts, in case there are any cancellations among the 10 accepted abstracts. Persons on the waitlist will be notified that they will be contacted if one of the students for the 10 accepted abstract posters needs to withdraw. Because the withdrawal notification may be as late as August/September, we will ask persons selected for the waitlist if these terms are ok, and, if not, we will remove them from the waitlist and replace them with the next highest ranked person.

For any questions about this session, please contact Spirit of 1848 Student Poster Coordinating Committee members Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot (email: and Nylca Muñoz (email:, or subcommittee members Jennifer Tsai (email:, Lauren Stein (email:, David Stupplebeen (email:, Jelena Todic (email:, and Monique Hosein (email:

APHA Reminders re: Abstract Requirements & Continuing Education Credits:

NOTE: it is important that our Spirit of 1848 sessions be approved for CE credits, so that public health & clinical professionals can get CE credits in sessions focused on the links between social justice & public health! – so please be sure to read these instructions carefully!!!

• 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.

For a session to be eligible for Continuing Education Credit, each presenter, panelist, discussant, and/or faculty must provide:
1) an abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names (and this includes the names of any books you have published!);

2) at least one MEASURABLE SINGLE outcome (“to understand” or “to learn” are not measurable outcomes and compound outcomes are not acceptable).
Use ONLY the following Measurable Action Verbs: Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define or List.

3) A signed Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form with a relevant qualification statement

Examples of Acceptable Biographical Qualification Statement:
“I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the epidemiology of drug abuse, HIV prevention and co-occurring mental and drug use disorders. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for preventing HIV and STDs in out-of-treatment drug users.”

“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.”

Please note that "I am the Principle Investigator of this study" is NOT an acceptable qualification statement. Nor it is acceptable to state: “I am qualified because I am a professor at XYZ University.”
4) All continuing education learning content must be of sound science or professional practice and serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills and professional competence of the health professional. Learning content should be evidence-based if available. A list of over 30 areas will be provided online for you to choose from. You will be asked to choose at least one or up to 6 areas that your presentation will address.

Thank you for your assistance in making your session credit worthy. Contact Mighty Fine at if you have any questions concerning continuing education. For program questions, contact the program planner listed below.

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