CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo

Medical Care Section

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

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 31, 2023

The Medical Care Section invites abstracts that fit with the theme of the annual meeting and with the Section's interest in advancing universal and equitable access to quality health care and health.

We welcome abstracts for oral or poster presentations that reflect good science, report methods and results clearly, and align broadly with the interests and values of the Section. After reviewers score abstracts, the program committee arranges the highest-ranking submissions into oral and poster sessions organized by topic. While we try to honor preferences for oral, poster, or roundtable presentations, this is not always possible. We reserve the right to give preference to abstracts submitted by Medical Care Section members when selecting highly scored submissions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: APHA allows all members to designate two sections as their APHA homes for free. If you are not yet a Medical Care Section member, please consider identifying Medical Care as one of your two APHA sections. As an added benefit, members receive free on-line access to the Medical Care Journal and to the Medical Care Blog (


The following topics reflect both historical concerns and current focus areas of various committees within the Medical Care Section. They are neither prescriptive nor exclusive. The Section's program planners may fashion new topics and combine or eliminate others according to the distribution and number of highly scored submissions. Please take a minute to review the themes below and use key words to identify in your abstract a theme of your preference.

Please add key words at the end of your abstract that, to the extent possible, align with the themes described below.

The themes reflect the interest of multiple subcommittees within the section. For a full list of section committees, please see the Medical Care Section website (

  • Climate Change
    For questions please contact Mona Sarfaty (
  • Drug Policy & Pharmacy Practice Committee
    This theme welcomes abstracts related to research, policy, and practice on drug policy and pharmaceutical services. Additionally, we welcome studies that aim to enhance the public health perspective on the regulation, economics, utilization, outcomes, safety, and policy of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical services. We encourage submissions addressing access to quality affordable and cost-effective pharmaceuticals (Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, national health care systems, incarcerated populations, etc.) and commercial health insured populations.

    For questions please contact Kevin Lu (

  • Health Economics & Health Services Research
    This theme welcomes abstracts that are relevant for health services research and/or health economics. Abstracts of studies that assess how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes (such as comparing treatment alternatives), geographic region, health technologies, behavioral health factors and clinical practice affect patient outcomes, including access to health care and the quality and cost of health care, are welcome. Other topics of interest include how hospital, physician, and health insurance reimbursement mechanisms affect health care cost and patient level outcomes. Economic evaluation studies including cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit, and cost utility analyses are also welcome.

    For questions please contact Katherine Virgo ( & Jessica Williams (

  • Health Equity
    The Health Equity theme welcomes research abstracts on studies of health disparities and inequities, and interventions to address these injustices, among vulnerable populations such as racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, asylees, and refugees, and individuals with lower incomes. Abstracts for studies addressing health disparities in rural and frontier communities are also welcome.

    For questions please contact Lisa Lines (

  • Justice & Incarcerated Health
    This theme seeks abstracts that address the health and socioeconomic impact of mass incarceration on individuals, families, and communities.

    For questions please contact Alison Jordan (

  • Quality Improvement
    The Quality Improvement theme welcomes abstracts on observational research describing the quality of care in clinical settings, communities, and among populations, as well as interventional studies (both quality improvement activities and experimental studies) examining the relationship between structure, process, and health within clinical and community settings. We also welcome abstracts describing new quality improvement approaches and tools that are ready for dissemination. This theme welcomes submissions addressing disparities in care by patient characteristics within a health care setting as well as between institutions. Submissions from students, junior faculty, and non-academic quality improvement professionals are encouraged.

    For questions please contact Brandyn Lau (

  • Rural & Frontier Health
    The Rural and Frontier Health theme welcomes abstracts on studies of public health, healthcare access, quality, and delivery, and population health to address the concerns of those living in rural and frontier health areas. We welcome abstracts that look at the intersection of rural and urban care as well. Submissions from students, junior faculty, and non-academic quality improvement professionals are encouraged.

    For questions please contact Cody Mullen (

  • Student Paper Awards
    Calling all students! Are you conducting research related to a topic mentioned above? Submit your paper to the Medical Care Section’s student paper competition!

    Typically, the Medical Care Section’s Student Papers Awards Committee selects four or five of the most highly rated student papers for presentation in an oral student session at the Annual Meeting. To be competitive, abstracts should address original research conducted by the student on timely topics that fall within areas of interest to the Medical Care section as listed above. Abstracts should include a short background indicating the niche in the literature filled by the research, data sources and methods, results and implications for clinical or policy audiences. When submitted, the abstract should indicate in the comments field that it has been submitted for the “Student Paper Competition”. Only original student papers not already accepted for publication will be considered for the Student Paper Award. Four to five finalists will be selected to publish in the Medical Care Journal.

    A letter from the student’s advisor is required verifying that the paper was primarily written by the student while a student. The letter must also confirm that the paper has not already been accepted for publication and that funding is available for the student to attend the conference if his/her paper is selected for presentation. Abstracts and recommendation letters from advisors will be submitted online through the APHA system. Abstracts submitted for the Student Paper Competition (and the accompanying letter from the student’s advisor) are due on the same date as all other abstracts submitted to the Medical Care Section. Only complete submissions will be considered for the Student Paper Award Competition.

    For questions please contact Katherine Virgo ( or Linda Green ( or Julie Zito (

  • Veterans & Military Health
    This theme welcomes abstracts related to research, policy and practice perspectives aiming at improving veteran and military health.

    For questions please contact Christy Colalancia (


Invited sessions are proposed at the initiative of individual organizer(s). It is the responsibility of the session organizer to plan and develop the session, secure the five presenters, and submit all materials through the Medical Care Section call for abstracts. The invited session process is highly competitive and slots are limited.

Individuals submitting abstracts to the Medical Care Section for consideration are advised of the following criteria:

  • Invited sessions should be organized around a common theme that aligns with the Medical Care Section focus areas
  • Abstracts should demonstrate their scientific quality and innovation
  • Work should have been carried out rather than just proposed or in progress.
  • Presenters at the Annual Meeting must be individual members of APHA Medical Care Section.
  • All presenters must register for the Annual Meeting
  • Abstracts may not be presented or published prior to the Annual Meeting.
  • Abstracts submitted to the Medical Care Section should not be submitted to any other APHA section.

Medical Care and other sections, Special Primary Interest Groups (SPIGs), Forums, and Caucuses are planning some sessions jointly. Please share your ideas for cross- or multiple-group sessions and, if inclined, help plan them. Our proactive collaboration should result in broad appeal across APHA groups.


APHA values the ability to award continuing education credit to health professionals at its annual meetings. To do so, APHA needs the following information, requested when submitting abstracts, with every abstract. APHA awards credit for entire sessions rather than for individual presentations. For sessions to be eligible for CE credit, presenters must submit:

1) Abstracts free of trade and commercial product names;

2) At least one MEASURABLE objective per abstract using action words such as Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define, or List (please DO NOT USE “to understand” or “to learn” as they are unmeasurable); and

3) Signed Conflict of Interest (Financial Disclosure) forms with relevant Qualification Statements. (Please see an example of an acceptable Qualification Statement in a Disclosure form on the APHA web site.)


Program Planner Contact Information:

Kara Allard,


Cody Mullen,