November 1, 2016 Kim Krisberg 0Comment

Celeste Monforton and I are currently in Denver at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2016 Annual Meeting and Exposition — the year’s largest gathering of public health professionals. The meeting is packed with hundreds of scientific sessions, leading public health researchers and new findings on just about any public health topic you can imagine. Below are some highlights of the past few days, courtesy the APHA Annual Meeting Blog.

Trees don’t just make neighborhoods pretty. They can also save lives: With flowers in the spring, lush green leaves in the summer and changing colors in the fall, trees have long been appreciated for their natural beauty. A new report from the Nature Conservancy shows that they can also be appreciated for their ability to save lives.

Released at APHA’s Annual Meeting and Expo Tuesday, the “Planting Healthy Air” report finds that investing $4 per resident to plant trees in some of the world’s largest cities could lead to better health for humans. Trees reduce air pollution and cool urban streets, thereby providing health benefits to their human neighbors, said the report, which was created in partnership with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Continue reading

South Carolina flooding becomes case study in community resiliency: When Hurricane Joaquin hovered over South Carolina in the fall of 2015 causing historic flooding, state residents — particularly in the Midlands region — had to quickly discover what they were made of.

In the midst of disaster, researchers from the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health saw an opportunity to see how residents acted and adapted to a life-changing event. They presented on their work during Monday’s Annual Meeting session “Response, Recovery and Resiliency: Understanding Public Health in Practice During and After the Flood of October 2015.” Continue reading

Transgender health behind bars: How to improve care: In a Monday session on transgender health and health disparities, two presenters took a look at how to improve care for an even more marginalized group: transgender prisoners.

Kirsty Clark and Jackie White Hughto, two Yale University researchers, presented their findings during an Annual Meeting presentation on “Development and Pilot Testing of a Transgender Knowledge Intervention for Correctional Health Care Providers.” Continue reading

Insuring the right to health: Making the marketplaces work for everyone: It’s been six years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the nation’s uninsured rate has dropped to a record low. That’s the good news.

On the other hand, a cornerstone of the ACA — the health insurance marketplaces — are facing some real challenges in reaching some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, according to presenters at a Monday morning Annual Meeting session on “Insuring the Right to Health — Enrolling Underserved Populations through Health Insurance Exchanges.” Presenter Mary Pittman, president and CEO of the Public Health Institute, said the big questions facing the ACA today are how states address continuing barriers to insurance enrollment as well as ensure that affordable insurance is available to all. Continue reading

Opening General Session: ‘I’ve never been prouder to be on the side of public health’: “Everyone means everyone.”

That’s a quote from Opening General Session keynote speaker and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, and it pretty much sums up the overriding message of this year’s APHA Annual Meeting in Denver: That ensuring the right to health means recognizing, acknowledging and speaking out against the systemic social barriers — from racism and sexism to homophobia and classism — that give certain groups a built-in advantage toward healthier lives, greater longevity and greater prosperity. Continue reading

Catch up on all the news from the APHA Annual Meeting here.

Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for nearly 15 years.

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