CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA's 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo


Meeting theme: Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health

Submission Deadline: Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Law Section of APHA is interested in receiving submissions that focus on current hot topics in public health law and are relevant to APHA’s 2019 Annual Meeting theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health.” We welcome all outstanding abstracts that address research on the impact of law and policy on public health, legal theory with important implications for public health, or the practice of law to advance health. 

The Law Section also seeks and encourages collaboration with other APHA sections to bring law to a wider audience, to engage with practitioners and researchers with content expertise in the topic areas, and to integrate law into important discussions of current public health issues rather than perpetuate law as a silo in matters of health and health care.

Therefore, we seek presentations (oral and poster) on the legal research, theory, and practice and will do our best to partner with other sections to facilitate rich and meaningful discussions related to each of these priority areas:

  • Behavioral Health
    Public health concerns related to mental illness and substance misuse and abuse require a balance between individual rights and safety along with broader issues of public safety. The Law Section invites submissions that address the ways in which laws can address behavioral health issues including access to services, suicide prevention, violence prevention, , overdose prevention, adverse childhood events (ACEs), other associated behavioral health outcomes.
  • Chronic Disease
    The average life span has significantly increased over the last few decades but the consequences of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, Alzheimer's disease and others has also increased. Law can be a powerful tool to address factors associated with these conditions such as promoting physical activity, access to health foods, access to appropriate care, and air quality. The Law Section seeks presentations on ways in which to effectively use law to decrease morbidity associated with chronic conditions.
  • Environmental Health
    The Law Section is interested in abstracts that address laws and policies that help to promote healthy environments and limit exposure to harmful substances. Potential topics may include climate change, air quality, environmentally-associated respiratory disease, and water and soil contamination.
  • Human Rights, Law and Health Care
    For 2019, the Human Rights Forum and Law Section are partnering to offer a collaborative session focused on issues at the intersection of human rights, law and health care. The 1946 WHO Constitution states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” The Human Rights Forum and Law Section are interested in submissions that explore relevant issues like the value of rights-based approaches to health care and in particular the human rights implications of current health care law and policy.  
  • Infectious Disease
    Reduction and prevention of infectious diseases is a primary function of public health. Law has been a critical tool in implementing public health efforts such as vaccination, isolation and quarantine, and other disease control measures, to prevent spread of communicable diseases.  Law is also a critical tool in prevention and control of foodborne and vector borne diseases. The Law Section is interested in presentations that explore current trends in the use of law to address infectious disease.
  • Intentional and Unintentional Injury
    Laws and policies have been used as a means of public health intervention to prevent a range of injuries by discouraging or prohibiting high-risk behaviors and reducing dangerous environments. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, firearms, sports-related injuries, vehicle related injuries, and domestic violence.
  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
    Law Section encourages submissions that explore overarching legal theories and doctrine. Submissions will be considered on important topics such as public health agency structure and authority; decision-making, responsibility, and liability; preemption; lobbying and advocacy; First Amendment; and other cross-cutting legal issues.
  • Social Determinants of Health
    The environment - physical and social - are major factors that shape the way we live, work, thrive, learn and die. The Law Section seeks presentations that address these factors that influence our health and well-being including, but not limited to, education, employment, housing, law enforcement and public safety, food access and other similar topics.
  • Other
    Public health law encompasses broad topics and themes that may not otherwise be listed above.

    Important Abstract Guidelines:

    • Authors must submit abstracts electronically
    • You must indicate your intended audience in your abstract or in the “Note to Planner” field (e.g., public health lawyers or others with legal expertise, public health professionals without legal expertise, etc.).
    • We highly recommend drafting the abstract and learning objectives offline in a word document so you can edit them before pasting into the submission form.
    • The time allotment for presentations in our panels is usually 15 minutes.
    • We give awards for best student abstract, so please note in the “Note to Planner” field if you are a student. We highly encourage the submission of student work.
    • Abstracts are limited to 250 words.
    • Do not include names or identifying information in the text of the abstract.
    • Do not submit work that is in-progress and will not be complete by the time of the meeting. Preliminary findings are acceptable, but we do not want presentations just on the study design.
    • 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.
    • 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 flexibility.
    • All presenters must be members of APHA by the date of the meeting and must register for the meeting.
    • We also strongly encourage you to check the dates of the meeting to ensure that you are able to attend if your abstract is selected. With a high volume of abstracts submitted and only a limited number of presentation time, we do not want to accept presentations if the research will not be ready to present or if the investigators are unable to attend.

    Panel Submissions

    Panels are groupings of individual abstracts. Each presentation requires an individual abstract submission. Panel proposals must adhere to the following procedure:

    1. One abstract must be submitted for each individual presentation with a unique title and abstract body. Do not include names or other identifying information in the body of the abstracts. During submission process, please indicate in the “Note to Planner” field that the abstract is to be considered as part of a panel and note whether author would still be interested in presenting the abstract if the panel is not accepted as a whole.
    2. Panel organizer must send an email to the Program Stacie Kershner, at with the following information: (1) the panel title; (2) submission #s of all abstracts to be considered part of the panel; (3) a brief paragraph explaining the objective of the panel; and (4) the names of other panel presenters.

    Continuing Education Credit

    APHA values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, health educators, and those certified in public health at its annual meeting. Please complete all required information when submitting an abstract so members can claim credit for attending your session. These credits are necessary for members to keep their licenses and credentials. 

    For a session to be eligible for Continuing Education Credit, each presenter, panelist, discussant, and/or faculty must provide:

    1) An abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names;
    2) At least one MEASURABLE SINGLE outcome (“to understand” or “to learn” are not measurable objectives and compound objectives are not acceptable).  Use ONLY the following Measurable Action Verbs:

    • Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define or List.

    3) A signed Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form with a relevant qualification statement;
    Example of Acceptable Biographical Qualification Statement: (I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the epidemiology of drug abuse, HIV prevention and co-occurring mental and drug use disorders. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for preventing HIV and STDs in out-of-treatment drug users.) 

    4) All continuing education learning content must 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 30 areas will be provided online for you to choose from. You will be asked to choose at least one or up to 6 areas that your presentation will address.

    Thank you for your assistance in making your session credit worthy. Contact Mighty Fine at if you have any questions concerning continuing education.

    Continuing Legal Education

    While APHA does not submit for CLE, the Law Section prepares and compiles materials for attorneys to self-submit to their home bar association for eligible Law Section sponsored panels.


    Authors will be notified of the abstract review decisions by June 3, 2019.


    For program questions, contact the Program Chair for the Law Section - Stacie Kershner at


    Program Planner Contact Information:

    Stacie Kershner, J.D.
    Center for Law, Health & Society
    Georgia State University College of Law
    PO Box 4037
    Atlanta, GA 30303