APHA Annual Meeting participants discussed issues ranging from influenza and other infectious diseases to prescription drug abuse, disaster preparedness, obesity, violence, stress, wellness, and many more.

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Wellness, Preventable Illnesses in Focus at APHA Meeting

"Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span" was the theme of the 140th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association last month. One keynote speaker, Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, spoke of "a tsunami ... a tidal wave of preventable illness [that is] coming into a delivery system that we cannot afford."

The 140th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association wrapped up Oct. 31 at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center after four busy days focused on solving a host of public health and unintentional injury problems, including prescription drug abuse, influenza, immunizations, HIV and other infectious diseases, preparedness for Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters, obesity, violence, stress and anxiety in the workplace, healthy eating and health school lunches, wellness, and many more.

"Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span" was the meeting's theme, and the authors who filled up the excellent APHA Meetings Blog -- bloggers Donya Currie, Daniel Greenberg, Trina Hulamm, Kim Krisberg, and Charlotte Tucker -– covered all of it, or so it seemed.

High points of the meeting included the Public Health Award Reception and Ceremony the evening of Oct. 30, the public health expo, and the opening general session Oct. 28, where author Gail Sheehy and Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, executive vice president and chief of medical affairs for UnitedHealth Group, were the speakers.

Tuckson thanked his audience for devoting their meeting to tackling the challenges of preventable health conditions and decisions, calling the problem "a tsunami ... a tidal wave of preventable illness [that is] coming into a delivery system that we cannot afford."

He also called for a holistic, integrated model of health and medical care engagement, focusing not only health organizations' needs, but also on patients' needs. "It means we will have to blow up outmoded, myopic silos and institution-centric thinking," Tuckson added.

Big data and analytics are key to accomplishing these goals, he argued.

APHA's 141st Annual Meeting is set for Nov. 2-6, 2013, in Boston, with the theme, "Think Global, Act Local: Best Practices Around the World."

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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