Last week, over 12,000 people attended the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in Chicago, where important scientific discoveries were announced, best practices for delivering health care were discussed, and strategies for advancing the best health policies were debated.
Two of those 12,000 people were HAI’s own Mary Anne Mercer and Amy Hagopian, who spoke on panels, presented research, and attended events such as the Activist Dinner. Here are some highlights:
Mary Anne Mercer organized and moderated a panel on Trade and Health, which is one of HAI’s pillars of advocacy. The panel discussed specific examples of the effects of international trade on health, trade agreements under negotiation, and possibilities for making those agreements more appropriate to the promotion of global health.
Mary Anne also presented on a panel that discussed the Sustainable Development Goals, cautioning against claiming that the MDGs were a major cause of the poverty and health improvements that occurred during the MDG period, as they mostly continued a trend from previous years.
Amy Hagopian won the 2015 Distinguished Section Service Award for her tireless work on the International Health Section. Congrats Amy!
Amy was also involved in many presentations and panels, including health promotion in Palestine, the role of labor union contracts in protecting public health, and problem- and case-based learning in MPH programs.
Two HAI-sponsored resolutions were adopted by APHA:
20155 Environmental cleanup in Iraq, Afghanistan — Knowing that the U.S. military used open-air burn pits to manage waste in Iraq and Afghanistan and that such emissions can contain toxins known to be harmful to human health, urges federal policymakers to prohibit such activities. Encourages U.S. military leaders to implement a training program in partnership with Afghan forces with the aim of eliminating such burn pits. Calls on federal policymakers to fund research on the health and environmental effects of burn pits and encourages congressional lawmakers to pass legislation requiring the U.S. military to repair any ecological damage created as a result of military action abroad. Calls on veterans affairs officials to fully launch the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.
201512 Protecting health in trade agreements — In an effort to consolidate existing APHA policies on trade and health and acknowledging the potential health and safety consequences of trade liberalization, calls on the U.S. trade representative, federal policymakers and the global public health community to ensure trade agreements prioritize public health over commercial interests. Urges all negotiating parties to make sure trade agreements do not interfere with a government’s ability to protect public health as well as to support measures that exclude tobacco and alcohol control from all agreements. Recommends negotiating parties assess the health and human rights impact of trade agreements and steer clear of creating barriers to health care services and medicine, such as limiting clinical trial data transparency.