CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA's 2020 Annual Meeting and Expo

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Meeting theme: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence"

Submission Deadline: Monday, February 24, 2020

The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Section invites submission of abstracts for presentation at the 2020 Annual Meeting & Expo in San Francisco, CA, October 24-28. The ATOD Section encourages abstracts that address the annual meeting theme: “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence” under any of the submission categories, described below).  However, all abstracts related to substance use are welcome.

The ATOD section values health equity in all content areas, and encourages submissions that reflect a focus on social determinants of health that move our work forward to improve the lives of marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Within each of the following Topic categories, authors are encouraged to submit work that incorporates or addresses the conference theme of "Preventing Violence," as well as work focused on marginalized, vulnerable and/or underrepresented populations.  In addition, work that cuts across the topics, including efforts that focus on multiple drugs or strategies, are welcome.


  • Alcohol
    Submissions under this category may address the widest range of alcohol-related topics relative to policy, prevention, intervention, care and treatment, education, and social/environmental impact.
  • Cannabis Use
    Submissions under this category may address novel research and evidence-based practice that will extend our understanding of cannabis use. These topics may include, but are not limited to issues of surveillance, policy, law, and social/environmental impact/s, as well as issues related to health, safety, secondhand exposure, prevention, marketing, education, and treatment/cessation approaches. In addition, submissions may focus on the overlap between cannabis and tobacco use.
  • Harm Reduction Strategies
    Submissions under this category may address interventions and policies to manage or reduce the negative consequences of substance use.
  • Innovative Substance Use Policy
    Submissions under this category may address innovative policy and systems approaches to address harmful substance use. Topics are encouraged across all levels of public and/or private/corporate policy, as well as those focused on select vulnerable populations.
  • Integrated Behavioral Health:  Mental Health and Substance Use
    Submissions under this category may address research, education, interventions and stigma across a wide range of co-occurring mental health problems. Special emphasis is encouraged on the ways by which substance use compromises and/or diminishes the optimal functioning of individuals, families and communities. In addition, we seek submissions in partnership with the Mental Health Section for collaborative session/s that bridge these aspects of behavioral health.
  • Opioid Use/Opioid Epidemic
    Submissions under this category may address all aspects of opioid use and/or the current opioid epidemic, including the cascading effects that penetrate all societal systems. Topics may include, but are not limited to policy, legal considerations, education, surveillance, assessment, prevention, intervention, and care/treatment.
  • Students: Outstanding 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 and Prevention
    Submissions within this category may address novel and innovative approaches to the widest range of treatment approaches, including barriers and facilitators to effective outcomes. Submissions may also focus on all aspects of cost, insurance coverage, and other funding considerations. In addition, we seek submissions in partnership with the Public Health Education and Health Promotion for collaborative session/s related to substance use, its diagnosis and treatment, and the role of health education and promotion in its prevention.
  • Tobacco
    Submissions within this category may address: tobacco products in all forms (e.g., cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, hookah, smokeless tobacco and electronic delivery systems), patterns of use, secondhand smoke exposure, tobacco control policies, product regulations, prevention, cessation, and other related topics. In addition, submissions may focus on the overlap between tobacco and cannabis use. Submissions may focus on specific policy or intervention strategies, prevention or control initiatives, as well as those directed toward specific populations (e.g., K-12 students, college students, minorities, women employees/workers).
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  • Other Drugs
    Submissions under this category may address all aspects of other drug use (distinct from cannabis and opioids. Topics may include but are not limited to illicit drug use, prescription drug misuse, polysubstance use, drug disposal/collection, and harm reduction approaches such as overdose prevention.
  • Authors must submit abstracts electronically through the APHA abstract management web site: web site provides complete instructions on the length and format of abstracts. Authors may also contact the Program Planning Chair, Robert Carroll (, for clarification or assistance if needed.
  • Session proposals are not solicited in the call for abstracts; however, they will be considered.
    • Submit an abstract for each individual presentation following the steps on the submission form.
    • Submit an abstract for the overarching session and in the ‘Comments to Organizer’ text box located on the title step of the submission form, indicate the abstract ID numbers and presenter names of those abstracts that should be included with the proposal. Also indicate that each abstract will be blind reviewed and accepted on its own merit and that all abstracts must be accepted in order for the entire proposal to be accepted.
    • Please contact the ATOD Program Chair, Robert Carroll ( for specific instructions regarding session proposals.
  • Structured abstracts are preferred for submission to the ATOD Section, Consequently, abstracts that do not reflect the following two formats may be less favorably scored by abstract reviewers.
    • Original research submissions: the abstract should include the following sections: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • APHA and the ATOD Section values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, health educators, veterinarians, 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 must provide:
    • An abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names.
    • At least one MEASURABLE outcome (DO NOT USE “To understand” or “To learn” as objectives, they are not measurable). Examples of Acceptable Measurable Action Words:  Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define or List.
    • A signed Conflict of Interest (Disclosure) form with a relevant Qualification Statement. See an example of an acceptable Qualification Statement on the online Disclosure form.
    • Contact Mighty Fine at if you have any questions concerning continuing education credit. Please contact the ATOD Section program planning chair (Robert Carroll) for all other questions.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Robert Carroll, PhC, MN, RN, ACRN
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
3538 Ridgewood Rd.
Akron, OH 44333-3122

Elvira Elek, PhD
Substance Use Prevention and Research Program
RTI International
One Metro Center
701 13th Street, NW, Suite 750
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-728-2048

Steven Kritz, MD
START Treatment & Recovery Centers
157-59 17 Avenue
Whitestone, NY 11357
Phone: 9179695502