The American Public Health Association (APHA) is holding its 140th Annual Meeting in San Francisco on October 27-31, 2012. During last year’s meeting in Washington, D.C., I attended a 2-day learning institute entitled Shaping Policy for Health™: Defining and Communicating Public Health Problems. Learning institutes occur during the first two days of the annual meeting, before the scientific and poster sessions begin. Learning institutes provide a good opportunity to learn about a specific topic in depth and spend quality face-to-face time with the facilitators and other participants, whereas attending scientific and poster sessions are a good way to gain exposure to a variety of topics.
Of particular interest to students may be the APHA Student Assembly (SA) meeting on October 27, from 12:00-5:00pm at the Moscone Convention Center. Public health professionals and student leaders will present on public health topics and professional development. Concurrently, there will be a speed-mentoring event from 2:30-4:30pm, in which students will have the opportunity to interact with experienced public health professionals.
There are many ways for students to become involved in APHA. First, you can (and should!) join APHA if you haven’t already done so. The discounted membership fee for students is $61 (as opposed to regular membership, at $200). You must be enrolled in at least 6 credits to qualify for the student rate, and send them proof of such within a few weeks of signing up. Once you are a student member, you will begin to receive weekly e-mail updates from APHA-SA, which include information about scholarship and professional opportunities. Another way to become involved is to apply for a position or join a committee within APHA-SA. This past month, I became a Membership Ambassador and will be helping to individually welcome new APHA-SA members and inform them about upcoming activities and events. (There are many positions still available!) You can also contribute your writing skills by submitting an article for the quarterly APHA-SA newsletter, News & Views.
Even if you are unable to attend this year’s Annual Meeting, you can follow live on Twitter at #APHA2012 and/or visit the APHA Meeting blog. For news year-round, follow @PublicHealth (for APHA) and @APHAstudents (for APHA-SA). Also, be sure to “like” APHA-SA on Facebook to join the community and connect with other members.