CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo


Meeting theme: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness"

Submission Deadline: Sunday, March 21, 2021

The following APHA Forums and Sections are issuing this JOINT CALL for Abstracts and Full Session Proposals for the 2021 APHA Annual Meeting and Expo:

- The Breastfeeding Forum
- The Maternal and Child Health Section
- The International Health Section
- The Food and Nutrition Section
- The Public Health Nursing Section
- The Environmental Health Section

Please limit your abstract to 300 words.


  • You do not need to be a member at the time of submission. However, if your abstract is accepted, then you MUST become a member.
  • ALL presenters MUST be members of APHA at the time of the Annual Meeting.


  • Breastfeeding, Mental Health, and Substance Use
    This call is interested specifically in the breastfeeding experiences of women with mental health disorders and/or a history of substance use:

    • Harm reduction approaches among lactating women with substance use;
    • Evidence around breastfeeding women who have pre-existing mental health disorders;
    • Breastfeeding and postpartum depression.
  • COVID-19 and Breastfeeding
    We are seeking abstracts that present findings related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and breastfeeding. Some examples of the types of topics we are interested in are listed, below:

    • Impact of COVID-19 on access to breastfeeding support;
    • Impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding behaviors and infant feeding practices;
    • Intersection between structural determinants, COVID-19, and breastfeeding.

    Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. If you have other work that examines a breastfeeding-related topic within the context of COVID-19, we encourage you to submit your abstract.

  • Human Milk Expression, Pumping, and Sustained Breastfeeding
    We welcome abstracts that examine human milk expression and pumping in the context of sustained breastfeeding. Some topics of interest are listed, below:

    • Human milk exchange;
    • Pumping and breastfeeding duration;
    • The role of hand expression and/or mechanical expression in the early postpartum period impacts duration;
    • Expression/pumping interactions with work-place culture/practice;
    • Other topics in the area of milk expression and/or pumping.

    Please note, this is not an exhaustive list. If you have other work related to human milk expression, pumping, and/or human milk exchange, please submit your abstract. 

  • Industry and Commercial Determinants of Breastfeeding
    We are interested in research that explores the following topics:

    • Impacts of industry and commercialization on breastfeeding outcomes;
    • Effectiveness of the WHO Code on supporting breastfeeding practices;
    • Explorations of ethical frameworks that underpin managing COI;
    • Application of the WHO Code to our work as researchers and practitioners who work in breastfeeding. 

    These are just a small number of examples. Other topics in this space are likewise welcome. 

  • Latest in Breastfeeding Research
    If you have a breastfeeding research that does not fit into one of the other topics, please submit your abstract to this section.
  • Systems and Interventions That Support Breastfeeding
    • We welcome abstracts that describe researcher / community partnerships to support the right to breastfeed among systemically marginalized populations.
    • We also welcome abstracts in this area that discuss intervention / policy strategies that support breastfeeding as a right.
    • Abstracts that examine human milk feeding in the NICU are also encouraged. 
    • Explorations of policies/interventions through an equity lens are especially encouraged. As are examinations of breastfeeding through an anti-racism and decolonizing framework. 


If you have a novel project that is not listed above, please feel free to submit it. However, we will not entertain abstracts related to breastfeeding initiation, alone, unless it is truly novel. Work that discusses "risk factors" without considering the broader structural and institutional determinants of health will also receive low priority. 

Abstract Review

Abstracts submitted to this Joint Call undergo blinded peer-review. Abstracts that receive the highest scores are then arranged into sessions based on the program plan for that year. Reviewers assess abstracts based on the following characteristics: 

- Study aligns with priorities identified in call
- Study advances knowledge/discussion around infant feeding
- Study novelty in terms of topic, methods, and/or study design
- Methodological Rigor: Rigorous analytic methods appropriate to study
- Presentation of Results: specific, clear, concise
- Implications of Findings: breastfeeding research, policy, practice, and/or public health
- Measurable Learning Objectives

Each year, the Breastfeeding Forum recognizes two abstracts submitted to this Joint Call with an award:

(1) The Highest Scoring Abstract;

(2) The Highest Scoring Student Abstract.


Preference will be given to those abstracts that discuss breastfeeding duration, not merely initiation.

Abstract authors are strongly encouraged to conduct a literature search to ensure that their submission makes a novel contribution to the field of breastfeeding research; it must be clear to reviewers that the submitted abstract makes a unique and innovative contribution to the science of breastfeeding. 

Low Priority Abstracts
Abstracts that discuss other issues related to breastfeeding are welcomed, although they may receive lower priority in the peer-review process. It is important to note that the following types of abstracts will not be considered for oral presentation:

- Abstracts with incomplete results
- Abstracts that only discuss initiation or factors that influence initiation, without addressing any other aspect

Abstracts which lack novelty (in terms of topic, methods, and/or results) will receive low priority.

Continuing Education
APHA values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, health educators, and those certified in public health at its annual meeting. 

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 objective (“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)  You MUST complete a signed Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form with a relevant qualification statement.

Example of Acceptable Biographical Qualification StatementI 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.

Example of UNACCEPTABLE Qualification Statement: Please note that stating “I am a Principal Investigator/Project Coordinator of this project.” is NOT sufficient. This only gives submitter's job title or position. Please add more information about your experience and background.

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.

Suggested Dos and Don'ts:

- Conduct a literature review so that you can convince reviewers that your abstract is truly novel and impactful;
- Start early and have your friends, colleagues, and/or mentors proof read your work;
- Make sure to include your results;
- Make the public health significance and relevance to the field of breastfeeding clear;
- Do not focus on initiation;
- Do not submit work that has been previously presented at APHA;
- Do not wait to the last minute to contact the program planner. 

If you have any questions about this call or the identified priority areas, please contact Dr. Nathan Nickel, the scientific program planner for breastfeeding:


Program Planner Contact Information:

Nathan Nickel, MPH, PhD