CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA's 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Meeting theme: Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now

Submission Deadline: Monday, February 19, 2018

The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Section invites submission of abstracts for presentation at the 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo (November 10-14, 2018; San Diego, CA). The ATOD Section will emphasize several topical areas in its program (described below); however, all abstracts related to substance use are welcome.


Given the annual meeting theme (Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now), the ATOD Section encourages abstracts that address substance use disparities under any of the submission categories. Abstracts may focus on any dimension of inequity, including (but not limited to) race/ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, socio-economic status, immigration status, access to health care, or geographic location.


Abstracts submission categories are:

  • Alcohol
    Submissions under this category may address: heavy and hazardous drinking, risk or protective factors, drinking-related harms to others, alcohol use disorders and comorbidities, screening, prevention interventions, and treatment services, alcohol policy, and contextual influences, among other topics.
  • Cannabis use
    Submissions under this category may address: novel research and evidence-based practice that will extend our understanding of cannabis use. We encourage submissions from different perspectives including, but not limited, to regulatory models and approaches (e.g., medical vs. recreational use), public policy, criminal justice, surveillance, lessons from alcohol or tobacco control, impaired driving, workplace impact, and smoke-free air/secondhand exposure, among others.
  • Harm reduction strategies
    Submissions under this category may address: interventions and policies to manage or reduce the negative consequences of substance use, such as modifying the environment, providing educational or supportive services, and reducing (but not stopping) substance use, among others.
  • Innovative Substance Use Policy
    Submissions under this category may address: novel policy and systems approaches to address harmful substance use. Submission may include, but are not limited to, city, state, or national policy, innovative and promising policy approaches in specific communities, policy and system change campaigns that were unsuccessful but led to important public health policy lessons, and any other policy, system, or environmental change efforts that hold promise in addressing the many impacts of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
  • Integrated behavioral health: Mental health and substance use
    Submissions under this category may address: co-occurring mental health problems and substance use diminish the capacity of individuals and communities to thrive. In partnership with the Mental Health Section, we seek submissions for a collaborative session that bridges these aspects of behavioral health. Presentations may include, but are not limited to, basic research on dual diagnoses, prevention of substance use in the context of mental health treatment, program performance measures, workforce development, or integrated treatment services, among others.
  • Opioid epidemic
    Submissions under this category may address: all aspects of the current opioid epidemic, including the cascading effects that penetrate all societal systems. We seek submissions that address the complexity of the opioid epidemic, such as coordinated, comprehensive efforts to address overall health and social circumstances, preventing opioid misuse and overdose, surveillance and outcomes monitoring, treatment services, the role of the criminal justice system, professional development, and community capacity building, among others.
  • Outstanding student work (award candidates)
    The ATOD Section seeks to recognize promising work by students in any ATOD topical area. To be considered for an award, students must submit an abstract under the Student Award Candidate Showcase category. Accepted abstracts will be included in a special poster session highlighting student work. Award winners will be selected from poster session participants and announced at the ATOD Section reception.
  • Substance use treatment
    Submissions under this category may address: efficacy of various treatment types (e.g., individual or group counseling, in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation, 12-step groups, medication assisted therapy, recovery coaches, peer support); costs, insurance and funding; barriers to treatment; and interventions to increase uptake and engagement in treatment, among others.
  • Tobacco
    Submissions under this category may address: tobacco products in all forms (e.g., cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, cigarillos, hookah, smokeless tobacco and electronic delivery systems), patterns of use, tobacco control policies, product regulations, prevention, cessation, and other related topics. Submissions may focus on specific policy or intervention strategies, prevention or control initiatives as well as those directed toward specific population groups (e.g., K-12 students, college students, minorities, women).
  • Other drugs
    Submissions under this category may address: all aspects of other drug use (i.e., distinct from cannabis use and the opioid epidemic) such as illicit drug use, prescription drug misuse, polysubstance use, safe disposal of prescription medications, overdose prevention, and harm reduction strategies, and emerging issues and research, among others.

Authors must submit abstracts electronically through the APHA abstract management web site: The web site provides complete instructions on the length and format of abstracts. Authors may also contact the Program Chair, Paul Gilbert (, for clarification or assistance if needed.


Session proposal are not solicited in the call for abstracts; however, they will be considered. Please contact the ATOD Program Chair, Paul Gilbert ( for specific instructions regarding session proposals.


The ATOD Section prefers structured abstracts. For original research submissions, the abstract should include the following sections: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. For policy, descriptive, or other types of submissions, the abstract should include the following sections: Issue, Description, Lessons Learned, and Recommendations.

Abstracts are limited to 300 words or less.


All abstracts must include at least one measurable learning outcome that uses one of the following measurable action verbs: explain, demonstrate, analyze, formulate, discuss, compare, differentiate, describe, name, assess, evaluate, identify, design, define, or list. Please note that understand, know, and learn are NOT measurable learning outcomes and should not be used.

EXAMPLE: Compare risk of substance use disorders by gender and race/ethnicity.


All abstracts must be free of trade and/or commercial product names in order to qualify for continuing education credit; however, speakers may mention trade and/or commercial product names during their presentations.

EXAMPLE: State “a major tobacco company” rather than naming the business or its products.


Presenting authors must provide a conflict of interest disclosure and a qualification statement that specifically justifies their presentation of the material. A general statement of the author’s training or degrees earned is NOT sufficient.

EXAMPLE: I am qualified because I have worked in this area for the past 12 years. I was a member of the team that conceptualized this project and have been actively involved in all aspects of its execution, including the evaluation of outcomes described in this presentation.


The ATOD Section has made offering continuing education credit for its oral scientific sessions a priority. Authors must select at least one continuing education core area that their abstract addresses during the online submission process. A list of over 30 areas will be provided during the online submission, and authors may choose one to six areas.


Authors may indicate their preference for “oral only,” “poster only,” or “no preference” at submission. Oral sessions are limited and highly competitive.  We encourage authors to select “no preference” to maximize likelihood of acceptance.


All presenters must be members of APHA by the date of the annual meeting and must register for the annual meeting.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Paul A. Gilbert, PhD, ScM
University of Iowa College of Public Health
145 N. Riverside Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-384-1478

Robert Carroll, PhD(c), MN, RN, ACRN
Digital Strategies, Health Communications Group
IQ Solutions
11300 Rockville Pike
Suite 901
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 206-351-7525
Fax: 301-984-1473

Steven Kritz, MD
START Treatment & Recovery Centers
22 Chapel Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: 718 260-2955