CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo


Meeting theme: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social and Ethical Challenges"

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 31, 2023

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 November 12-15, 2023 in Atlanta, GA. The theme of the APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social and Ethical Challenges." Please consider this theme as you build your abstract submission for the Annual Meeting.


Full Session Proposals

Due: February 17, 2023

Successful Full Session Proposal Applicants Notified: on or about March 10, 2023

Presenter’s abstracts for Accepted Full Sessions Proposals due: May 12, 2023

Individual Contributed Abstracts (Hard Deadlines set by APHA)

Due: March 31, 2023

Email notification of abstract status sent: on or about June 1, 2023

Student Achievement Poster Award Abstracts

Due: March 31, 2023

Accepted Student Achievement Poster Award Abstracts Notified: on or about June 1, 2023

(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 4-5 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:

  • Air, Water, Land, and Climate
    E.g., air quality, ambient air pollution, industrial emissions, water quality and waterborne disease, access to safe drinking water, pharmaceuticals in drinking water, microbial risk assessment, including infectious and noninfectious agents, recreational waters, climate change and health, preparedness, Superfund sites, offshore oil drilling impacts, waste storage and processing, vulnerabilities in exposure to pollutants.
  • Building Healthy and Resilient Communities
    E.g., built environment, indoor air quality, healthy homes, relationships between health and urban infrastructure, urbanization and sprawl, sustainability, health effects of noise exposure, mobility/access, resource systems (food, energy, goods, etc.), impacts of energy use and public health, transportation, local environmental health impacts.
  • Chemicals and Health
    E.g., persistent bio-accumulative toxins, endocrine disruptors, chemical risk assessment, chemical policy and regulation, epigenetics, chemical exposures, nanoparticles, green chemistry and 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.
  • Emerging Fields in Environmental Health
    E.g., bio-and cybersecurity, emerging infectious diseases and the environment, nature and health, etc.
  • Environmental 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, regulation and enforcement.
  • 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, disparities in infrastructure, programs that have demonstrated success in improving environmental public health literacy in minority communities, fostering leadership, workforce development, use of lay community health workers for environmental education, citizen science. NOTES: 1) There will also be a collaborative session with the Community Health Planning and Policy Development section and the Black Caucus of Health Workers on how community health planning and policy development work to overcome social and ethical challenges in environmental health2) Relevant abstracts may be considered for inclusion in the Black Caucus of Health Workers topic, Environmental Justice and Health. 
  • Food and the Environment
    E.g., food system environmental impacts and threats, sustainable food production, food and farm policy and economics, food justice, food contamination in production and distribution, food systems local to global, 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 2023 conference theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social and Ethical Challenges” will be given priority.
  • 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 Session Proposals

Deadline: February 17, 2023

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.

○      Read the directions and complete the form; and

○      Return the completed form to the Program Planners BEFORE 11:59 PM (PST), February 17, 2023.

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 March 10, 2023. 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, May 12, 2023.

If the Full Session Proposal is not accepted, the Environment Section encourages submission of the individual abstracts by March 31, 2023.

Individual Abstract Contributions

Deadline: March 31, 2023 (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 31, 2023

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 31, 2023 (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, however 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 31, 2023 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 10 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 2022 and spring semester 2023 and remain in good standing or have graduated from their program between May-August 2023. 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 2023 Annual Meeting & Expo theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social and Ethical Challenges."

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.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Ursula Lauper,


Inyang Uwak, DrPH, MPH, MBBCh.