Public health researchers and activists gather for 143rd annual meeting: Highlights from Day 1

Kim Krisberg and I are with our public health colleagues this week at the 143rd annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Thousands of researchers, practitioners, and advocates from across the US and the globe have gathered in Chicago to swap best practices, share new science and organize for healthier communities. As “the water cooler for the public health crowd,” The Pump Handle is reporting from Chicago. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s event courtesy of the APHA Annual Meeting Blog.

Standing with temp workers: Rainy weather didn’t stop advocates who took to the streets to call for safe and fair workplace conditions for temporary workers. Organized by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health and the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, a delegation of workplace safety activists, including members of APHA’s Occupational Health and Safety Section, paid a surprise “trick or treat” visit to Elite Staffing Inc., one of Chicago’s leading temporary staffing agencies. During the rally, activists delivered a letter calling on the staffing agency to provide safety training to temp workers as well as pledge to not retaliate against workers who speak out on dangerous workplace conditions. Continue reading

Health in all policies in Chicago: Drive through some streets of Chicago during the summer and you may find a double-dutch jump rope tournament where a line of cars used to be. That’s because since 2012, some of the city’s least busy routes transform into temporary play areas under Chicago’s Play Streets program, an example of coalition building for health presented during Monday’s session on “Chicago Community Partnerships: Local Examples of Integrating Health in All Policies.”  Continue reading

Hold the mushrooms please: “A Moldy Planet: Fungal Infections Are Everywhere,” a Monday morning Annual Meeting session, sounded a bit like the title of an old-school pulp comic. In fact, it made me want to frantically wash my hands. But when I left the session, I felt infinitely better. Public health was on the job. Continue reading

Public health nerds and apps: From apps that count steps to devices that monitor blood sugar, electronic gadgets have become an everyday part of health for many people. During the APHA Public Health Codeathon in Chicago this weekend, teams of public health professionals worked with technology builders to create tools that can help people have lives that are not only healthier, but also longer. Continue reading

Our destiny: generation public health: US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, APHA President Shiriki Kumanyika, and Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County were among those who gave destiny-inspired talks at the opening session of the annual meeting. Continue reading

For more from the largest annual gathering of public health researchers, practitioners, and activists, visit the APHA Annual Meeting Blog for dispatches from Chicago.