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

Human Rights Forum

Meeting theme: Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now

Submission Deadline: Monday, February 26, 2018

Extended Deadline: The new deadline for abstract submission is February 26th.

The Human Rights Forum of the American Public Health Association (APHA) seeks abstracts for the APHA's Annual Meeting occurring November 10th – 14th in San Diego, California. The goal of the Human Rights Forum is to advance the idea that human rights are an essential foundation of public health and to mainstream human rights in all spheres of public health practice.

Human rights are now held up as a modern guide for public health, a vision that all public health scholars and practitioners should uphold in their work. Under this rights-based approach to health, public health practitioners have framed health disparities as "rights violations," offering universal standards by which to frame government responsibilities and evaluate health outcomes.  These international human rights standards have been shown repeatedly to impact public health, restricting and emboldening government action to realize the highest attainable standard of health. With human rights inextricably linked to the achievement of public health goals, a growing discipline has arisen in Health and Human Rights. This discipline examines the human right to health and interconnected rights to underlying determinants of health. In this light, the Human Rights Forum aims to be a cross-cutting venue and encourages input from all types of experts whose work affects public health.

The theme of this year's APHA Annual Meeting, health equity, is particularly germane to the Human Rights Forum. Health equity is an essential component of the right to health. Universality and non-discrimination are fundamental principles of human rights; likewise, health equity is an essential part of a fair and effective health system. However, health equity alone is insufficient to satisfy the right to health. Who determines what is equitable or when equity has been achieved? Affected communities must have a say in every step of public health policy decision making.

Abstracts should address issues that arise at the intersection of public health and human rights and should be designed to help attendees recognize and respond to human rights issues in public health practice. Addressing both the health equity theme and other pressing public health issues, abstracts may consider issues ranging from:

  • A Rights-Based Approach to Global Health Governance
    This topic recognizes that public health advocacy doesn't stop at national borders. With the rise of global health as a concept comes the rise of international organizations, institutions, and advocacy aimed at advancing the discipline. This is a core issue of the Human Rights Forum, and this topic is included in every year's call for abstracts.
  • Human Rights Forum: Business Meeting
  • Right to Health Advocacy in the United States
    This topic concerns the practice of human rights, including the usage of the language of rights or having a rights-based approach, in promoting public health in the United States. This is a core issue of the Human Rights Forum, and this topic is included in every year's call for abstracts.
  • Right to Participation and to Access Information
    This topic is related to the theme of the Annual Meeting. From medical testing to implementing public health programs, individuals and communities are affected at all stages of public health program design. However, many such interventions have limited participatory mechanisms or don't provide their findings in an accessible way to the impacted populace. This topic focuses on means to ensure communities' meaningful participation in public health interventions that affect them.
  • Sanitation and Homelessness in California: Social Determinants' Impact on Health
    This topic is related to the theme of the Annual Meeting. California's rapid economic rise in the last few years has been matched with a rapid rise in homelessness. Lack of rent control and affordable housing has pushed a record number of people onto the streets. Lack of sanitation has sparked outbreaks of communicable diseases, including Hepatitis A. The inequity is furthered by the fact that it is the urban centers of wealth, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, where disproportionately more people have lost their homes. This topic focuses on this current issue and is particularly relevant as the annual meeting is hosted in San Diego.
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
    Between local and state restrictions on access to abortion and the re-imposition of the Mexico City Policy--popularly known as the Global Gag Rule--2017 saw backtracking on the realization of sexual and reproductive rights. It is unlikely 2018 will be any less eventful, especially as the Supreme Court recently announced it will hear arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra: judging whether California's law imposing signage requirements on anti-abortion pregnancy crisis centers is constitutional.
Abstracts must be submitted under one of the categories above. The submission deadline is February 26, 2018. All submissions must relate to human rights as a basis for public health. Abstracts are limited to 250 words. Referral to web pages or URLs may not be used for abstracts. An author may not submit the same abstract to more than one Section, SPIG, Caucus or Forum. Note that oral presentations are generally 13-15 minutes in length while those presenting posters should display be available to answer questions throughout the scheduled 60-minute poster session. If you have any questions, please contact the program planner Gabriel Armas-Cardona, Esq. at


Program Planner Contact Information:

Gabriel Armas-Cardona, Esq.
Independent Expert