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

Occupational Health and Safety

Meeting theme: Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now

Submission Deadline: Saturday, March 3, 2018

We are seeking high quality abstracts on topics related to workers’ health and safety for the 146th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Diego, CA. To complement the APHA 2018 meeting theme, preference will be given to abstracts which address health equity.  Please submit an abstract for a poster, oral, or roundtable presentation.  Accepted abstracts for oral and roundtable presentations will be grouped with other abstracts on complementary topics by the OHS program committee into 90-minute sessions.  Once you submit your abstract, please remember to join the OHS section.

Oral sessions:  The 90-minute oral sessions will typically feature four (18-20 minute each) scientific presentations and a brief time period for audience Q&A.  (Individuals wishing to propose a full 90-minute oral session should follow instructions provided below.)

Roundtable Sessions:  The 90-minute roundtable sessions will typically feature six to eight speakers who are given 3-5 minutes each to describe their research, outreach, advocacy, or discussion topic.  The speakers are then situated at different roundtables and audience members select a table and engage in a discussion with that speaker for a 20-minute period.  A second 20-minute discussion period is offered to allow the audience to switch tables and speak with a different presenter.  Projectors and other audio visual (AV) equipment are not provided in the roundtable sessions.  In this more interactive format, the OHS Section encourages speakers to use other methods to present their work, such as a handout, photos, a poster, or tablet/laptop display.  If a roundtable session is your preference, please write “interested in roundtable” in the notes section on the on-line abstract submission form.

Student and New Researchers Poster Competition:  This year we will again feature a Student and New Researcher Competition. All Students (currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs) and New Researchers (within 2 years of completion of last degree) are encouraged to submit abstracts on worker health and safety topics. If your abstract is accepted for a poster presentation, it will be evaluated by the Program Planning Committee for possible inclusion in the poster competition. (Evaluation criteria for the poster competition will be provided to the participants in advance of the meeting.) If you want to be considered for this competition, please submit under the "New researchers or new practitioners in OHS wanting to participate in the new researcher or new OHS practitioner poster competition (any OHS topics welcome by new researchers and students)" topic area. 

Special Information for Students and Community Members:  The OHS section encourages students and local community members to submit abstracts for our program.  The OHS Section offers a limited number of scholarships for students, labor union representative and community-based organizations.  Please see the OHS Section page on the APHA web site for scholarship information.  The OHS Section also has a limited number of one-day passes and will offer them to individuals with accepted abstracts who have limited means to pay for the conference registration fee.

Instructions for preparing abstracts:  Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words.  Where applicable, organize your abstract into four sections: Background and Objective(s), Methods, Results, Conclusion(s).  We understand that you may not have results at the time of submission; if not, please include preliminary results or expected outcomes. 

The OHS Section strives to offer a full program of scientific sessions at which participants are able to earn the following continuing education (CE) credits: CME, CHES, CNE, CPH, MCHES.  

For presenters who want to provide CE credits for their session. We require each abstract to include each of the following:

(1) At least one learning outcome, which must include one of the following action words: explain, demonstrate, analyze, formulate, discuss, compare, differentiate, describe, name, assess, evaluate, identify, design, define, or list. Note: ‘to understand’ or ‘to learn’ are not learning outcomes.  If there is a connection between your topic and health equity, please state it clearly and convincingly in the abstract as an objective.

(2)  No mention of any trade and/or commercial products.

(3) A signed Conflict of Interest form with a relevant qualification statement. 

(4) Your qualifications statement should list your unique expertise to present the information identified in your abstract.  Note: Examples of acceptable qualifications statement would be: “I have conducted research on the ABC topic for 5 years, and was the co-PI on this project,” or “I conducted the data analysis on this project.”  “I am a professor at XYZ university” is not deemed an acceptable qualifications statement by the CE accrediting organizations. 

The CE accrediting organizations expect the educational learning content to be of sound science or professional practice, and serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills and professional competence of the health professional. Learning content should be evidence-based if available. A list of over 20 areas will be provided online from which to choose. You will be asked to choose at least one or up to six areas that your presentation will address. Failing to address the mentioned CE guidelines, may result in abstract rejection.

Abstract reviewers will focus on the following, please use this as a guide in developing your abstracts.  Abstracts with high scores should:

  • Describe the research, policy analysis, or other OHS activity clearly
  • Integrate policy or practical implications in the presentation of the research
  • Involve a particularly urgent OHS topic
  • Involve a novel OHS topic or research methodology
  • Describe how their research addresses health equity in occupational health and safety, as described near the end of this call
  • Describe how the research/intervention/program reflects and supports the requirements that employers bear the responsibility for providing safe and healthful workplaces
  • List an OHS Section resolution number if any connection exist to the abstract. To review the OHS Section resolutions, please go to: OHS Section Resolutions and then Click on the “OHS Section Resolutions, 1949-Present”.

Information for those who wish to submit a proposal for a full 90-minute session:  

The OHS Section will also accept abstracts that propose a complete session with 4-5 presenters.  The organizer of a proposed session must submit a “session abstract.”  The title of the abstracts should begin: “Full Session:” e.g., “Full Session: H&S hazards for animal control officers.”  In the first sentence of the abstract write, “this is an abstract for a 90-minute session,” and then describe briefly the session objectives.  In the "Comments to Organizers" box in the Title step, include the names of each proposed presenter and the title of their presentations. (Do not include the names of each proposed presenter and the title of their presentations in the body of the abstract.)   List the organizer or key contact person for the proposed session as the “first author” on session abstract. 


In addition to the “session abstract,” each proposed speaker must also submit an abstract.  The organizer of the session is responsible for ensuring that the “session abstract” and all individual abstracts are submitted by the submission deadline of February 23, 2018.  They should indicate in the ‘notes’ field of the on-line abstract submission form that their abstract is part of the [proposed title of session] organized by [name of organizer].


It is the session organizer’s responsibility to inform each proposed presenter that, if their abstract is accepted, they will be required to register for the conference, and pay the registration fee.  All presenters are also required to be a member of APHA, and session organizers should ask their presenters to designate the OHS Section as one of their APHA Sections.

Slots for 90-minute sessions are very competitive.  Proposals for a 90-minute session will be evaluated by the OHS Section reviewers based on the quality of each individual abstract, as well as the degree to which the individual abstracts complement each other, the diversity of the speakers e.g., different disciplines, organizations, backgrounds and the proposed session’s potential contribution to the overall OHS Section scientific program. If the full session proposal is not accepted, we will consider integrating the individual abstracts into other OHS Section sessions.

You will be notified on or around June 4, 2018 if your session abstract is accepted or rejected.  Due to large number of abstracts we receive and limited time slots available for presentations, preference will be given to speakers who designate “Occupational Health & Safety” as one of their APHA Sections.

If you have any questions about where you think you might fit or if you want to propose a full session please contact the program planners.

  • 293.1 Joint Environment and Occupational Health & Safety Sections Career Panel
  • Aging & Young Workforce Health and Safety
  • Disaster response (Disaster cleanup, Spill remediation, Disaster, Climate Change)
  • Food safety, workers safety and safe environments (essential for sustainable food systems)
  • Fractionalized workforce and/or occupational health disparities (e.g., low-wage workers, temporary workers, day laborers, temp workers, misclassified workers, force labor, human trafficking)
  • Healthcare, community health workers, & intersection of patient and worker safety
  • History of occupational health & safety in U.S. and across the globe
  • Illness related to work (e.g., cancer, dermatitis, chronic disease)
  • Industrial hygiene & exposure assessment (e.g., biomonitoring; laboratory safety; nanotechnology)
  • Infectious disease (Bloodborne pathogens, Zika, Healthcare and non-healthcare (e.g., waste handling, transportation, airport workers, agriculture, food, etc.)
  • Injuries related to work (e.g., acute and chronic, ergonomics, slips/trips/falls)
  • International experiences and efforts in OHS
  • LUNCH: OHS 2018 Awards
  • New researchers/practitioners in OHS poster competition (any OHS topics welcome by new researchers, practitioners, and students)
  • OHS Business Meeting 1
  • OHS Business Meeting 2 - New Member Orientation OHS/ENV
  • OHS Business Meeting 3
  • OHS Business Meeting 4
  • OHS surveillance (e.g., state/local agency surveillance, BLS SOII and CFOI, injury epidemiology methods)
  • Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP)
  • Occupational and Environmental Health Justice
  • Safety in the workplace (e.g., new hazards, effective interventions, safety culture)
  • Violence in the workplace
  • Work organization and health (e.g., extended shifts, bathroom breaks, labor standard (wage/hour), schedule control, workplace wellness programs (pros, cons, controversies))
  • Workers' compensation including Department of Energy workers' compensation: Community and worker impacts
  • test
  • Other OHS Topics (e.g., intervention effectiveness, prevention through design, built environment)

Health Equity

Creating health equity is a guiding priority and core value of APHA. By health equity, we mean everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health.  Inequities are created when barriers prevent individuals and communities from accessing these conditions and reaching their full potential. Inequities differ from health disparities, which are differences in health status between people related to social or demographic factors such as race, gender, income or geographic region. Health disparities are one way we can measure our progress toward achieving health equity.

How do we achieve health equity? We value all people equally. We optimize the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, learn and age. We work with other sectors to address the factors that influence health, including employment, housing, education, health care, public safety and food access. We name racism as a force in determining how these social determinants are distributed.

Health Equity in Occupational Health and Safety

Higher levels of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities that are closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage are known as occupational health inequities. Some workers face increased risk for occupational injuries and illnesses as a result of social and economic structures historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

Social and economic structures that can contribute to occupational health disparities include:

  • Social institutions such as racism, xenophobia, sexism, and classism (Social exclusion based on characteristics such as race, class, age, nativity, and gender)
  • Employment arrangements such as temporary work and growing job insecurity for many employees and lack of employee representatives, such as labor unions.
  • Organizational factors such as business size

Some ways social and economic structures can lead to occupational health inequities include:

  • The overrepresentation of workers from certain social groups in dangerous occupations
  • Differential treatment on the job
  • Limiting access to resources that help protect workers on the job

A central challenge of securing occupational health equity is that the same structures that contribute to higher injury and illness risks also operate within occupational safety and health institutions, organizations and programs. As such, workers are not only at greater risk for injury at work but also can be excluded from institutional efforts to document and prevent workplace illness and injury. Occupational health organizations need to continue developing the internal capacity and institutional relationships to effectively work with these communities.

The primary responsibility of employers to identify and eliminate or reduce health and safety hazards has been long recognized by those working in this field.  In 1934, Sir Thomas Legge, the first British Medical Inspector of Factories, wrote in his four axioms for the control of occupational lead poisoning “Unless and until the employer has done everything-and everything means a good deal-the workman can do next to nothing to protect himself, although he is naturally willing enough to do his share.”  1

Presenters should address the how health equity relates to occupational health and safety in their abstract and presentation. This can be accomplished a variety of ways.  Presenters could discuss differential roles and power relationships in workplaces between employers and workers. Presenters could also mention how workers were represented in the research, program, or policy discussed, such as through participatory research. Presenters could also discuss the role of unions in the research, program, or policy discussed.

1 From: P J Landrigan, E K Silbergeld, J R Froines, and R M Pfeffer.  Lead in the modern workplace. American Journal of Public Health August 1990: Vol. 80, No. 8, pp. 907-908.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Alfreda Holloway-Beth, PhDIL

Mark D. Catlin, BS BA
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 730-7290