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 Environment Section is seeking abstracts and full session proposals supporting the theme of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Exposition to be held October 23-27, 2021 in Denver, CO, hybrid. The theme of the APHA 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness." Please consider this theme as you build your abstract submission for the Annual Meeting.


Full Session Proposals

Due: January 29, 2021

Successful Full Session Proposal Applicants Notified: on or about February 12, 2021

Presenter’s abstracts for Accepted Full Sessions Proposals due: no later than April 30, 2021

Individual Contributed Abstracts (Hard Deadlines set by APHA)

Due: March 21, 2021

Accept, Reject, or Waitlisted Assignments: on or about June 1, 2021

Student Achievement Poster Award Abstracts

Due: March 21, 2021

Accepted Student Achievement Poster Award Abstracts Notified: on or about June 1, 2021

Student Achievement Poster Award Revised Abstracts Due: no later than April 30, 2021

(For additional information, see description below.)

Presenter and Presentation Requirements


All persons making a presentation at the Annual Meeting & Exposition must pay a registration fee in order to participate in the program. All persons presenting an abstract must be an individual member of APHA during the time of the meeting. APHA does not pay an honoraria or expenses to any presenter.


Presentations may NOT be submitted to multiple Sections, SPIGs, Caucuses, or Forums and may be presented only once during the Annual Meeting & Expo. The presentation may NOT be presented or published prior to the APHA Annual Meeting. However, it is acceptable for students having abstracts accepted to finish MPH, MS, PhD or DrPH projects in partial satisfaction of degree requirements by May-June or August-September before Annual Meeting.

Descriptions of Session Formats

Oral Session:  90 minute session with 3-5 presentations, each 15–25 minutes in length.

Poster Session:  Sets of 10 posters organized and presented together within a 60 minute session.

Roundtable Session:  90 minute session with a set of “round tables” where each table has a different speaker. Participants rotate from table to table to participate in different discussions. NOTE:  Audiovisual equipment (e.g., computer, LCD projector, etc.) is not available during roundtable sessions.

Panel Discussion: 90 minute session comprised of 4-5 panelists discussing a specific topic or set of closely related topics.

Descriptions of Session Types

Research Presentations

Abstracts describing scientific research projects should focus on new knowledge of environmental public health issues. The abstract and presentation should include the purpose of the study, a hypothesis or study question, detailed methods and results, and specific conclusions.

Policy or Program Presentations

Policy or program abstracts should describe the application of knowledge to real-world problems or policies. Many times these types of abstracts are referred to as public health in practice. The abstract and presentation should include a problem statement and conclusions describing resolution of the problem. Strong preference will be given to abstracts that include systematic assessment of the policy or program, with detailed description of methods and findings.

Topics of Interest

The Environment Section encourages you to submit Abstracts and Full Session proposals describing research studies, innovative policies, or programs and practices including interventions addressing a global environmental public health problem by instigating a solution at the local level. While abstracts reflecting any innovative work highlighting environmental public health science and policy will be reviewed, the Section will place emphasis on abstracts related to the following topics:

  • Building Healthy and Resilient Communities
    (e.g., indoor air quality, healthy homes, relationships between health and urban infrastructure, urbanization, sewer/water infrastructure, creating indicators of sustainability, issues resulting from the autocentric design of our cities/urban sprawl, mobility/access, offshore oil drilling impacts, environmental justice via goods movement, food and environment via food miles traveled, impacts of energy use and public health, transportation sector contributions to climate-global health, local environmental health due to Safe Routes-to-Schools)
  • Chemicals and Health
    (e.g., persistent bio-accumulative toxins, endocrine disruptors, chemical risk assessment, chemical policy reform, chemicals in people, epigenetics, National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures, emerging issues: nanoparticles, green chemistry & green products, including green-washing)
  • Children's Environmental Health
    (e.g., fetal origins of chronic diseases, environmental risks at home and at school or daycare, environmental health risks with disproportionate impacts on children, disparate impacts of exposure, epigenetic change and contribution to obesity, interaction between environmental and maternal/child health)
  • Clean Air, Water, and Soil
    (e.g., water quality and waterborne disease, access to safe drinking water, pharmaceuticals in drinking water, tertiary water purification systems, microbial risk assessment, air and water pollution [both ambient and indoors] including infectious and noninfectious agents, vulnerabilities in exposure, individual pollutants, epigenetic markers)
  • Climate Change and Human Health
    (e.g., climate change prediction, policy change, adaptation and mitigation measures to protect/improve health, preparedness and community resilience around extreme events and other climate change impacts, disparate impacts of climate change especially on vulnerable communities and people, including the older and younger generations)
  • Emerging Fields in Environmental Health (One Health, Planetary Health, GeoHealth, etc.) and/or Human Health and Nature Stewardship
    (e.g., natural events as sentinel predictors of human health, emerging infectious diseases and the environment, sustainable use of land, resources or energy, interactions between ecosystems and human health, engagement with nature, impacts of storms on water safety and security, etc.)
  • Energy Systems and Policy
    (e.g., environmental and health benefits of renewable energy technology, environmental and health risks of renewable energy technology, links to worker health and safety, energy infrastructure and security issues related to built environment/urbanization, energy use and policies)
  • Environmental Justice and Health Equity
    (e.g., influence of social, economic, or cultural factors on environmental health risks; exposure, impact, or policy inequities; access to environmental resources, programs that have demonstrated success in improving environmental public health literacy in minority communities)
  • Environmental Public Health Policy and Practice
    (e.g., Biomonitoring, environmental health tracking, health impact assessment, cumulative risk assessment, risk communication, environmental health literacy, Health in All Policies, community development, infrastructure, disparities in infrastructure, fostering leadership, workforce development, use of lay community health workers for environmental education, citizen science)
  • Food and the Environment
    (e.g., environmental impacts of and threats to the current food system and the food system that will serve future generations, sustainable food production and water, food and farm policy and economics, food justice, food contamination in production and distribution, food environments/environmental impacts on food choices, interventions and policies targeting the aforementioned topics, food systems local to global, water safety and security, safe drinking water and recreational waters, food waste, health disparities in the food environment/food chain, food agriculture and climate change, obesity and environmental health)
  • Health Impact Assessment (organized jointly with the Public Health Education and Health Promotion section)
    Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process to evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project or policy before it is built or implemented. An HIA can provide recommendations to increase positive public and environmental health outcomes and minimize adverse health outcomes. HIA brings potential public health impacts and considerations to the decision-making process for plans, projects, and policies that may fall outside the traditional public health arenas, such as transportation and land use. Abstracts of completed HIA projects that are related to the conference theme, Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness will be given priority.
  • Nature and Human Health
    (e.g., natural events as sentinel predictors of human health, emerging infectious disease and environment, sustainable use of land, resources or energy, interactions between ecosystems and human health, engagement with nature, and natural disasters, dying oceans, exposures in subsistence fishing communities, impacts of storms on water safety and security)
  • Noise and Health
    (Characterization of ambient noise in the environment, exposure assessment of noise in occupational and environmental settings, health effects of noise exposure, source attribution, and strategies to reduce the population health impact of noise in the environment)
  • Physical Activity and Environment (organized jointly with the Physical Activity section)
    Physical activity is usually done in parks, trails, fitness centers, schools and pedestrian sidewalks, as these environments are intentionally designed to foster physical activity. In recent years, scientific interest has increased notably in measuring how different environments may affects physical activity behavior. Intervening on the environment is one way to promote physical activity and improve health, but evidence on intervention effectiveness is mixed. This session will provide examples from government agencies, community organizations, and public-private partnerships to discuss the effectiveness of interventions and share lessons learned to improve and apply measurements more broadly.
  • Student Achievement Poster Award Track
    (submit abstract on any of the topics above for consideration for the Environment Section's Student Achievement Poster Award)

The topics and examples listed above are meant to stimulate ideas for abstract submission. The topics are not exhaustive or mutually exclusive. In fact, the Environment Section encourages integrative approaches to environmental public health. When choosing a “topic session” for abstract submission, authors should select the one they feel best represents the major focus of the abstract.

Full “Invited” Session Proposals

Deadline: January 29, 2021

Proposals for Full Sessions are welcome. Full Sessions are comprised of invited speakers who will address different aspects of the same topic of high interest. A variety of formats are acceptable including oral sessions, roundtables, and panel discussions.

To submit a proposal, you must:

○      Request the Full “Invited” Session Proposal Form from the Program Planners by emailing both program planners at and

○      Read the directions and complete the form; and

○      Return the completed form to the Program Planners at: and BEFORE 11:59 PM (PST), January 29, 2021.

All Full Session Proposals will be peer-reviewed and ranked for quality, topic applicability, adherence to Full Session Proposal Form requirements, and relation to overall Section priorities. Please review the Evaluation Criteria (below). The Program Planning committee will make extra efforts to fill Sessions that relate to the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition theme.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal by February 12, 2021. If a Full Session Proposal is accepted, submitter(s) will then be directed to enter the individual abstracts comprising the Full Session online during the APHA window for “invited” abstract submissions, April 12-30, 2021.

If the Full Session Proposal is not accepted, the Environment Section encourages submission of the individual abstracts by March 21, 2021.

Individual Abstract Contributions

Deadline: March 21, 2021 (uploaded by 11:59 PM PST)

Individual abstracts are welcome. Program Planners will combine accepted individual abstracts into 90 minute sessions (4-5 individual abstracts of 10-20 minute oral presentations) or sets of poster presentations. Please state your preferred format: oral presentation or poster presentation or either option.

To submit your abstract, you must:

○      Submit online via APHA’s Website

○      Complete all specified steps and click “SUBMIT ABSTRACT”

○      Ensure the abstract is 300 words or less

○      Submit by 11:59 PM (PST) on March 21, 2021

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and ranked for quality, topic applicability, adherence to abstract requirements, and relation to overall Section priorities. Please review the Evaluation Criteria (below). Every effort will be made to accommodate the author’s presentation preference for accepted abstracts (e.g., oral presentation or poster). However, the Environment Section may not be able to accommodate all presentation preferences.

Student Achievement Poster Award Track

Deadline: March 21, 2021 (uploaded by 11:59 PM PST)

Students of programs in environmental health, public health, and other related fields are encouraged to submit abstracts pertaining to their academic research. Interested students should submit their abstract online via APHA’s Website; abstracts should be submitted into the Environment Section’s “Student Achievement Poster Award Track.”  Please note that abstracts submitted into other topic related tracks will NOT be considered for the award, but, students may be considered to present in both the Student Poster Award Session(s) and a topical session.

Students must submit an abstract including a well thought out study purpose and detailed methods (300 words or less). Submitted abstracts will be reviewed for relevance to environmental public health and the student’s clarity in describing the work that will be or has been done. While it is understood that results may not be available by the March 21, 2021 abstract submission deadline, it is expected that final student posters (and revised abstracts due late, if accepted) will include details about the study purpose, methods, results and specific conclusions.

Up to ten abstracts (and 1-2 alternates) per group (1-2 Sessions conducted in past years) will be selected for poster presentation during the Environment Section’s Student Achievement Poster Award Session, which is typically on Monday mid-morning. During the poster session, students and their posters will be judged for presentation style, knowledge of the subject matter, and project quality. Up to three finalists will be honored at the Environment Section’s Social Hour.

Eligibility requirements:

  1. Work must have been completed by the student as part of an environmental health, public health, or other health related degree program.
  2. A student must be enrolled as a full or part-time student in the fall semester 2020 and spring semester 2021 and remain in good standing or have graduated from their program between May-August 2021. If the abstract is accepted for presentation, proof of student status will be requested.
  3. The student must be the first and presenting author on their contributed abstract.
  4. To be eligible for an award, the student must present the work at the APHA meeting and attend the Environment Section Social Hour, which is typically on the Monday night.
  5. Students that have received an award in previous years are not eligible to resubmit unless they are working on a different degree, (e.g., doctoral degree at present but master’s before).
  6. At the time of presentation, the student should be an Environment Section Member.

Evaluation Criteria

Both Individual Abstracts and "Full" Session Proposals will be evaluated by the same criteria. The criteria are broad to allow for the evaluation of science, policy, and public health practice proposals. They are: 1) Importance to environmental health; 2) Originality of work; 3) Defined objectives/purpose; 4) Sound methodology/philosophy; 5) Reasonable conclusions; and 6) Overall reviewer enthusiasm.   

In addition to this set of evaluation criteria, Program Planners will pay special interest to abstracts that cover the APHA 2021 Annual Meeting & Expo theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness."

Crafting Learning Objectives

Please note that learning objectives are required for each submitted abstract. Applicants are encouraged to list at least one MEASURABLE objective. Learning objectives should be written from the vantage point of the participant; what applicable knowledge will the participant learn from the presentation. (See examples below).

Continuing Education Credit

APHA 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 outcomes (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 program planner for all other questions.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Natasha DeJarnett


Raquel Silva