CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo

APHA Public Health Funder Network

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

Submission Deadline: Sunday, March 21, 2021


The American Public Health Association is now accepting full session abstracts for Public Health Funder Network sessions to be held during the APHA Annual Meeting. All foundations and donors that fund in public health* are encouraged to submit full session abstracts for peer review. Additionally, funders and donors from the conference host city and state are invited to submit at least one session abstract, during which they can highlight their work before a national audience.

The Public Health Funder Network
is a community of grantmakers, donors and APHA members who recognize that philanthropy has an important role in the improvement of population health outcomes and the overall health of our communities. The goal of the PHFN is to promote a cross-sector approach to solving complex public health challenges by convening, networking and sharing best practices, with a special focus on philanthropy as a catalyst to drive change through innovative strategies and solutions in partnership with local communities and stakeholders.

* Note: Public health refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole. Its activities aim to provide conditions in which people can be healthy and focus on entire populations, not on individual patients or diseases.

Specific topics of interest to the Public Health Funder Network include but are not limited to:

  • Demystifying philanthropy examples of strategies connecting funders with practitioners, funders with funders; methods to encourage communication and connections
  • Building multi-sector collaboration examples of strategies to encourage collaboration among professions, across public health issues, among diverse funding partners, with evaluators
  • Assuming unique, nontraditional roles examples that drive change to improve the health of the public and/or address the social determinants of health; bring potential partners together, leverage institutional strengths to deliver programs and impact; commission research and evaluation, mobilize, catalyze, advocate; etc.
  • Sharing best practices or new replicable ideas examples of how and who you fund, monitoring and evaluation of grants, tracking changes in the communities you serve, and other areas of philanthropy
  • Sharing challenges, barriers and universal lessons learned; potential pitfalls; advice; evaluation
  • Sessions that connect the conference theme.

Public Health Funder Network Session Submission Procedures

Please be aware that this is a Call for Full Session Abstracts rather than a call for individual speaker abstracts. Session abstracts typically include multiple projects or multiple presenters from the same project. They often include multiple funders or projects from multiple cities. Instructions on submitting a complete session proposal are provided below.

PHFN sessions are 90 minutes in length, theme-related and should be created to appeal to a large cross-section of our meeting participants. The PHFN welcomes session abstracts submitted by public health funders and donors that involve grantees, partners and other stakeholders when possible, and encourages sessions that are co-sponsored by other APHA sections and/or that demonstrate ways in which public health funders engage across public health issues. Attendees should be inspired and challenged to move forward with new awareness of best practices and colleague networks.

Instructions on required elements when submitting a full session proposal

One person must be identified as the session Organizer, whose responsibilities include:

  • Complete the online conflict of interest disclosure form/biographical qualification statement before submitting the proposal.
  • Submit the session title, session abstract/overview (550 words or less) and up to 3 measurable learning objectives.
  • Submit the name and contact information of each potential speaker, along with their respective presentation title (as required for CE/CEU purposes). If a speaker has yet to be identified, make note of this fact in the session abstract. Also note if assistance with finding a speaker will be needed.
  • Handle all communications.
  • Share all relevant information with speakers.
  • Obtain any additional information/materials/logistics required by APHA from speakers by set deadlines.
  • Cooperate with APHA staff to ensure compliance with CE requirements.

After individual speakers are identified and added to the session abstract, each speaker will receive an email which links them to a submission form on which they need to complete the following:

  • A speaker presentation title distinct from the session title, and an abstract of at least 2 sentences that explains/describes the speaker's presentation to be given (250 words or less)
  • At least one measurable learning objective written in action terms that pertain(s) to the speaker's presentation
  • A conflict of interest disclosure form/biographical qualification statement

APHA requires that the session organizer and presenters join APHA, or renew APHA membership, and register for the Annual Meeting.

Session Format

Please indicate in your abstract the type of format you are considering for your session. Options include:

  • Oral
  • Panel discussion
  • Roundtables

We encourage creativity in designing your session. For example, a group discussion might be facilitated within the panel discussion format, where panelists frame an issue or offer opening views and a moderator poses questions to stimulate an open, thought-provoking discussion; or a panel discussion might take an interview or talk show design, where a moderator poses a series of questions to panelists. Use of videos might also be considered, for example, to have a grantee's perspective represented at a roundtable.

AV/Audio standard package includes a laptop, PowerPoint slide advancer, LCD projector and screen. Once a session has been accepted, a separate AV/Audio order form will be made available to order additional computer audio, microphones (up to 4), phone lines and internet, all at additional cost.

Selection Criteria

The Public Health Funder Network Program Planning Subcommittee oversees the planning, implementation and evaluation of all session abstracts submitted within this track. In the selection phase, the Program Planning Subcommittee will consider the proposed session using the criteria listed below under Review Criteria.


  1. The PHFN will give preference to session abstracts that have panelists identified.
  2. The PHFN encourages session proposals by foundations and donors that include participation/presentations by grantees, agency partners, other funders and/or stakeholders. We also welcome session abstracts that are co-sponsored by other APHA sections and/or that demonstrate ways in which public health funders engage across public health issues.
  3. One session will be offered to the local/state foundations to allow them to highlight their work.

Review Criteria:

  1. Importance of issue or problem addressed
  2. Innovative, emerging approach or perspective
  3. Compelling potential to attract a broad audience, cross sector of conference participants
  4. Thorough discussion that creates a learning opportunity, including the how and why, and not just the what; and learnings that are widely applicable to large and small organizations and philanthropic groups
  5. Alignment with the theme of the conference

Session organizers will be notified of abstract selection by March 20, 2020.

Continuing Education Credit

As an organization, APHA is committed to providing quality continuing education (CE) activities to its membership and meeting registrants. For a session to be eligible for CE, a session abstract must include 3-5 speaker abstracts where each includes:

  • A speaker presentation title distinct from the session title
  • An abstract of at least 2 sentences explains/describes the presentation to be given
  • At least one measurable learning objective written in action terms
  • Content of sound science and evidenced-based
  • Include a signed Conflict of Interest (Disclosure) form with a relevant Qualification Statement


Program Planner Contact Information: