Insights from the APHA Annual Conference in DC

SurroundHealth Community Manager, Dominika Samojlik, MPH, CHES, shares her highlights from the APHA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 

What happens when you gather more than 13,000 public health professionals, 1,000 scientific sessions, and over 650 companies, organizations and agencies together in Washington D.C.?  An incredibly large and high energy conference: The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 139th Annual Meeting and Public Health Expo.

Last week SurroundHealth had the pleasure of attending this annual meeting in our country’s capital, and we are happy to report the conference was a great learning experience for our team, and a success.

Right from the start, the conference did not disappoint. The opening session was kicked off with Pamela Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association; Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Parks Service; and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. APHA President Linda Rae Murray challenged the audience with her powerful speech, asking if “We are where we need to be?” and demanding that as health professionals we need to “insist on the impossible,” because “the health of our people is in critical condition.” Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who was the 2011 recipient of the Presidential Citation, also delivered an inspiring speech, quoting Nelson Mandela: Your time is ripe. Your time is now.  It only seems impossible – until it is done.

SurroundHealth connected with many new Members at the Expo. The highlight of the conference for the SurroundHealth team were not just the sessions, but, also was the hundreds of health professionals we had the opportunity to meet while exhibiting at the conference. All of us were inspired and energized by the passion for public health we felt from just about everyone we spoke to. That energy was contagious, and we came back ready and excited to infuse it into the work we do here at SurroundHealth.

While at the conference, we expanded our SurroundHealth community by almost 250 members and began many conversations about possible new partnerships, all of which would not have been possible if not for our time in DC. We are excited to see what next year’s APHA conference in San Francisco will bring.

To see the videos of the opening session speakers, or to learn more about the conference, take a look at the links below:

APHA Annual Meeting Blog

Opening Session speeches:

SurroundHealth raffle results.  It’s not too late to win!  Raffle ends November 14th. Susan White was an APHA conference attendee that ended up winning an iPad2 just for joining our free online community. There are still 3 more chances to win! Join SurroundHealth as a Contributing Member before November 14th, and check off that you heard about us at the APHA conference. You will automatically be entered to win one of 3 $150 AmEx gift cards!


About Susan Collins, MS, CHES, RD, SurroundHealth Blogger

I am Community Leader for SurroundHealth (, a social network where health professionals from different backgrounds come together to learn from one another's expertise and to share knowledge and resources. We share a passion for improving the health and well-being of communities and individuals. I am also a registered dietitian and certified health education specialist.
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