CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo

Spirit of 1848 Caucus

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

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 31, 2023

SPIRIT OF 1848: A CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – APHA 2023 (Nov 12-15, Atlanta, GA)



*** due date for abstracts: Friday, March 31, 2023 ***

The official theme for APHA 2023 is: “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social and Ethical Challenges.” We in the Spirit of 1848 take the next step and call for: CONTESTING STRUCTURAL ASSAULTS ON PUBLIC HEALTH WHILE BUILDING ANEW: RADICAL ALTERNATIVES FOR HEALTH JUSTICE

Motivating our theme is our longstanding approach to grounding present-day struggles for health justice in the histories of our field and in the principles of solidarity and bolstering critical analysis and action for fostering inspiring, equitable, sustainable, joyful, and dignified futures for all.

Below we provide: (1) the specific instructions for each session, and (2) the APHA instructions about preparing abstracts, with regard to word limits, membership & registration requirements, and information required to enable the session in which a presentation is included to qualify for continuing education credits. 

Instructions for what we are seeking for each session (listed in chronological order) are as follows:

1. Social History of Public Health (Mon, 10:30 am -12 noon) – invited speakers

Health Workers Resist! Radical Historical Moments of Struggle and Reimagining for People’s Health and Health Care

How do past experiences of radical health worker resistance inform current struggles around (re-)building socially just healthcare? This panel explores varied forms of mobilization and aspirational calls around health/care justice among activist nurses, community health workers, and other medical and public health professionals in North America and around the world.

2. Politics of Public Health Data (Mon, 2:30 – 4:00 pm) – invited speakers

Who’s strengthening and who’s attacking data for health equity?

This will be an invited session focused on the structural assaults on public health data, including privatization, censorship, and disinvestment – and also mobilizing to counter or buffer against these assaults and spark action for better data for health justice …

3. Activist Session (Mon, 4:30 – 6:00 pm) – OPEN CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Organizing to contest structural assaults and build for health justice

Note: presentations for this session will be drawn primarily from abstracts submitted in response to the OPEN CALL for abstracts, supplemented by solicited abstracts as warranted.

The Activist Session welcomes abstracts that describe activism around the overall Spirit of 1848 theme of “Contesting structural assaults on public health while building anew: radical alternatives for health justice”.  Possible examples include organizing to counter racism in the public health sector; mutual aid and labor struggles to build power for community health justice; new forms of collective agency to redistribute power and combat inequalities at the community, state, and national levels; radical alternatives to disaster preparedness & recovery; climate justice activism; and efforts to reinstate abortion rights and advance reproductive justice. Given that the conference will take place in Atlanta, GA, we especially welcome abstracts from activists engaged in locally-based organizing, and will ensure this call is seen by relevant progressive groups in the area. 

4. Integrative Session (Tues, 10:30 am – 12 noon) – invited speakers

The long fight for health justice: movements, data, and transformational pedagogy 

In accord with our Spirit of 1848 theme for APHA 2023 -- Contesting structural assaults on public health while building anew: radical alternatives for health justice – the invited speakers for our Spirit of 1848 integrative session will tackle these issues in relation to the core foci of the Spirit of 1848 Caucus: social history of public health, politics of public health data, progressive pedagogy, and activism for health justice. Topics to be addressed include: (1) histories of fighting for data and power for workers’ health and environmental justice; (2) building radical institutions to expose injustice and generate data for health justice; and (3) transformational pedagogy about the roots of health inequities.

5. Progressive Pedagogy (Tues, 2:30 – 4:00 pm) – OPEN CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Teaching for health justice and against attacks on public health

We seek abstracts for presentations discussing pedagogy, exploring how we contest and fight the structural assaults on public health while also envisioning and planning what new structures and social formations can take us into a more just future. The focus can be on teachings about public health capacity, radical initiatives within and outside educational institutions, or the social injustices that give rise to public health inequities as well as progressive efforts to strengthen the public health workforce. We invite presentations that focus on how pedagogy can be carried out from community activists, public health practitioners, and academic teachers.

6. Student Poster: Social Justice & Public Health (Tues, 1:00 – 2:00 pm) – OPEN CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Spirit of 1848 Social Justice & Public Health Student Poster Session Call for Abstracts

For the APHA Annual Meeting 2023, the Spirit of 1848 Social Justice & Public Health Student Poster Session is issuing an OPEN CALL FOR ABSTRACTS for posters that highlight the intersections between social justice and public health from a historical, theoretical, epidemiological, ethnographic, and/or methodological perspective.

This session will have an OPEN CALL for submissions by students (undergraduate or graduate) that are focused on work linking issues of social justice and public health. This can include, but is not limited to, work concerned with the Spirit of 1848’s focus for APHA 2023 on “Contesting structural assaults on public health while building anew: radical alternatives for health justice.

Per our Spirit of 1848 policy, we encourage submissions that bring a critical Indigenous lens, drawing on Indigenous theories, knowledge, and methods, to the specific topic that is the focus of this session, i.e., student posters on links between social justice & public health.

The submitted work can address one or more of many interlocking types of justice (e.g., racial, Indigenous, political and/or economic, gender and/or sexuality-related, environmental, restorative, etc.) We are interested in submissions not only from students in schools of public health and other health professions (e.g., nursing, medicine) but also from students in schools & programs focused on law, political science, public policy, social work, government, economics, sociology, urban planning, etc. For examples of abstracts selected in prior years, see our annual reportbacks.

Instructions for abstract submission can be found on the APHA abstract submission website.

Abstracts will be evaluated on the following criteria:

(1) Relevant to the Sprit of 1848’s broader mission and theme (Spirit of 1848’s theme for APHA 2023 is “Contesting structural assaults on public health while building anew: radical alternatives for health justice”);

(2) The rigor of the research methods and theoretical foundation;

(3) Originality; and

(4) Scholarly or practical importance

NOTE: to address the on-going problem of student uncertainty about funding, which has led to students with accepted posters withdrawing their submissions, we will continue with the successful approach we implemented in 2016, whereby we will: (1) accept the top 10 abstracts (the limit for any poster session); (2) set up a waitlist of all runner-up potentially acceptable posters (ranked in order of preference); and (3) reject abstracts that either are not focused on issues of social justice and public health or are not of acceptable quality. If any accepted poster is withdrawn, we will replace it with a poster from the waitlist (in rank order).

For any questions about this session, please contact Spirit of 1848 Student Poster Coordinating Committee member Charlene Kuo.


NOTE: it is important that our Spirit of 1848 sessions be approved for CE credits, so that public health & clinical professionals can get CE credits in sessions focused on the links between social justice & public health! – so please be sure to read these instructions carefully!!! 


  • Abstracts should be no more than 250 words
  • All presenters must be Individual members of APHA in order to present.
  • All presenters must register for the meeting.
  • Abstracts cannot be presented or published in any journal prior to the APHA Annual Meeting. 


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 (and this includes the names of any books you have published!) 
  • At least one MEASURABLE outcomes (DO NOT USE “To understand” or “To learn” as objectives, they are not measureable).
  • 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.

Examples of Acceptable Biographical Qualification Statement: 

“I 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.” 

“I am qualified because I have conducted research in the area of maternal and child health for the past 20 years and have given multiple presentations on this subject.” 

Please note that I am the Principle Investigator of this study is NOT an acceptable qualification statement. Nor it is acceptable to state: “I am qualified because I am a professor at XYZ University.” 

Contact Mighty Fine at if you have any questions concerning continuing education credit. Please contact the program planner for all other questions.


  • Health Workers Resist! Radical Historical Moments of Struggle and Reimagining for People’s Health and Health Care
  • Organizing to Contest Structural Assaults and Build for Health Justice
  • Teaching for Health Justice and Against Attacks on Public Health
  • The Long Fight for Health Justice: Movements, Data, and Transformational Pedagogy
  • Who’s Strengthening and Who’s Attacking Data for Health Equity?
  • Spirit of 1848 Social Justice & Public Health Student Poster Session


For additional information about the Spirit of 1848, including our mission statement and why our name is “Spirit of 1848,”please see below--and also please visit our website, where you can learn more about our Caucus and see past sessions that we have organized at APHA:                         

            And, if you are a dues-paying APHA member: 

  1. A) at our website you can sign up on our form to state your affiliation with our Caucus

(& for more explanation about why we need this information, see:

  1. B) you can also modify your APHA member profile to show you consider yourself to be affiliated with our Caucus

1) login in at:

2) click on the bottom part of where your name shows up, which will reveal the “menu” for options

3) click on “update profile”

4) click on the tab for “communities”

5) scroll down to “caucuses,” go to “Spirit of 1848,” and choose the option for “current participant”!

     (note: selecting a Caucus affiliation does NOT count against the choice of 2 Section affiliations)  

            Lastly, if you are interested in subscribing to our email bulletin board, we welcome posting on social justice & public health that provide:                          

  1. a) information (e.g. about conferences or job announcements or publications relevant to and making explicit links between social justice & public health), and                         
  1. b) substantive queries or comments directly addressing issues relevant to and making explicit links between social justice and public health.                         

If your posting is only about social justice/political issues, or only about public health issues, and does not explicitly connect issues of social justice & public health, please do not post it on this listserv.                         

Please note that the listserv does not accept attachments. For petitions, please post only the text, accompanied by the explicit instruction not to reply to the listserv but to reply to you directly with signatures.                          

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To subscribe or un-subscribe send an e-mail to the address specified above with the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the subject line.              

For more information, please see the Spiritof1848 Listserv Semi-Regular Reminder or e-mail the list owner.                                                 


November 2002                          

The Spirit of 1848: A Network linking Politics, Passion, and Public Health                        

Purpose and Structure                        

The Spirit of 1848 is a network of people concerned about social inequalities in health. Our purpose is to spur new connections among the many of us involved in different areas of public health, who are working on diverse public health issues (whether as researchers, practitioners, teachers, activists, or all of the above), and live scattered across diverse regions of the United States and other countries. In doing so, we hope to help counter the fragmentation that many of us face: within and between disciplines, within and between work on particular diseases or health problems, and within and between different organizations geared to specific issues or social groups. By making connections, we can overcome some of the isolation that we feel and find others with whom we can develop our thoughts, strategize, and enhance efforts to eliminate social inequalities in health.                         

Our common focus is that we are all working, in one way or another, to understand and change how social divisions based on social class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, and age affect the public's health. As an activist and scholarly network, we have established four committees to conduct our work:                         

1) Public Health Data: this committee will focus on how and why we measure and study social inequalities in health, and develop projects to influence the collection of data in US vital statistics, health surveys, and disease registries.                         

2) Curriculum: this committee will focus on how public health and other health professionals and students are trained, and will gather and share information about (and possibly develop) courses and materials to spur critical thinking about social inequalities in health, in their present and historical context.                         

3) E-Networking: this committee will focus on networking and communication within the Spirit of 1848, using e-mail, web page, newsletters, and occasional mailings; it also coordinates the newly established student poster session.                         

4) History: this committee is in liaison with the Sigerist Circle, an already established organization of public health and medical historians who use critical theory (Marxian, feminist, post-colonial, and otherwise) to illuminate the history of public health and how we have arrived where we are today; its presence in the Spirit of 1848 will help to ensure that our network's projects are grounded in this sense of history, complexity, and context.                         

Work among these committees will be coordinated by our Coordinating Committee, which consists of chair/co-chairs and the chairs/co-chairs of each of the four sub-committees. To ensure accountability, all public activities sponsored by the Spirit of 1848 (e.g., public statements, mailings, sessions at conferences, other public actions) will be organized by these committees and approved by the Coordinating Committee (which will communicate on at least a monthly basis). Annual meetings of the network (so that we can actually see each other and talk together) will take place at the yearly American Public Health Association meetings. Finally, please note that we are NOT a dues-paying membership organization. Instead, we are an activist, volunteer network: you become part of the Spirit of 1848 by working on one of our projects, through one of our committees--and we invite you to join in!                         

NB: for additional information the Spirit of 1848 and our choice of name, see:

--Coordinating Committee of Spirit of 1848 (Krieger N, Zapata C, Murrain M, Barnett E, Parsons PE, Birn AE). Spirit of 1848: a network linking politics, passion, and public health. Critical Public Health 1998; 8:97-103.

--Krieger N, Birn AE. A vision of social justice as the foundation of public health: commemorating 150 years of the spirit of 1848. Am J Public Health 1998; 88:1603-6.                         

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First issued: Fall 1994; revised: November 2001; November 2001; November 2002 


WHY "SPIRIT OF 1848"? 

Selected notable events in and around 1848 


Louis René Villermé publishes the first major study of workers' health in France, A Description of the Physical and Moral State of Workers Employed in Cotton, Wool, and Silk Mills (1840) and Flora Tristan, based in France, publishes her London Journal: A Survey of London Life in the 1830s (1840), a pathbreaking account of the extreme poverty and poor health of its working classes, including sex workers*; in England, Edwin Chadwick publishes General Report on Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population in Great Britain (1842); first child labor laws in the Britain and the United States (1842); end of the Second Seminole War (1842); prison reform movement in the United States initiated by Dorothea Dix (1843); Friedrich Engels publishes The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845); John Griscom publishes The Sanitary Condition of the Laboring Population of New York with Suggestions for Its Improvement (1845); Irish famine (1845-1848) despite high agricultural output and protests against British agricultural and trade policies; start of US-Mexican war (in Mexico, known as “La invasión de Estados Unidos a México,” i.e., “The United States Invasion of Mexico”) (1846); Frederick Douglass founds The North Star, an anti-slavery newspaper in the United States (1847); Southwood Smith publishes An Address to the Working Classes of the United Kingdom on their Duty in the Present State of the Sanitary Question (1847)


World-wide cholera epidemic

Uprisings in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Sicily, Milan, Naples, Parma, Rome, Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, and Dakar; start of Second Sikh war against British in India

In the midst of the 1848 revolution in Germany, Rudolf Virchow founds the medical journal Medical Reform (Medizinische Reform), and writes his classic "Report on the Typhus Epidemic in Upper Silesia," in which he concludes that preserving health and preventing disease requires "full and unlimited democracy" and radical measures rather than "mere palliatives"

Revolution in France, abdication of Louis Philippe, worker uprising in Paris, and founding of The Second Republic, which creates a public health advisory committee attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce and establishes network of local public health councils

First Public Health Act in Britain, which creates a General Board of Health, empowered to establish local boards of health to deal with the water supply, sewerage, and control of "offensive trades," and also to conduct surveys of sanitary conditions

The newly formed American Medical Association sets up a Public Hygiene Committee to address public health issues

First Women's Rights Convention in the United States, at Seneca Falls, New York

Henry Thoreau publishes Civil Disobedience, to protest paying taxes to support the United States’ war against Mexico

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto

77 enslaved persons in the District of Columbia attempt to escape to freedom aboard The Pearl schooner. While the attempt is unsuccessful and many participants are sold to Southern plantations, the Pearl Incident provokes renewed activism for abolition of slavery in the U.S. Frederick Douglass highlights the hypocrisy of enslavers in Washington who stopped the Pearl while “feasting and rejoicing over” the 1848 democratic revolution in France.*

The Seneca Nation of Indians is founded as a modern democracy with a constitution and elected representative government, building on a democratic self-governing tradition begun in 1200 C.E. by the Hodinöhsö:ni’or Six Nations Confederacy.*

First Chinese immigrants arrive in California: Chinese immigrants comprise 90% of workers who build the Central Pacific Railroad and complete the transcontinental rail system. Paid 30% less than white workers, suffering high injury rates from this hazardous work, and excluded from citizenship, they persist and form the foundation of vibrant Chinese American communities (with parallel migration and exploitative labor experiences across the Americas).*


European and US-settler prospectors, mostly White, flock to California during the 1849 Gold Rush, bringing disease, ecological destruction, and waves of genocidal violence against Indigenous communities. These events, followed by wars against Indigenous peoples throughout the West and Southwest U.S. (1849-1892), seed Indigenous resistance movements that continue into the 21st century.*

Elizabeth Blackwell (1st woman to get a medical degree in the United States, in 1849*) sets up the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children (1849); John Snow publishes On the Mode of Communication of Cholera (1849);  Lemuel Shattuck publishes Report of the Sanitary Commission of Massachusetts (1850); founding of the London Epidemiological Society (1850); Compromise of 1850 retains slavery in the United States and Fugitive Slave Act passed; Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852); Sojourner Truth delivers her "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Fourth Seneca Fall convention (1853); John Snow removes the handle of the Broad Street Pump to stop the cholera epidemic in London (1854); James McCune Smith (1st African American to get a medical degree, awarded in 1837 by University of Glasgow) co-founds the interracial Radical Abolitionist Party (1855)* 

* denotes entries added since the original list created in 1994 (version: 6/21/22)


Program Planner Contact Information:

Nancy Krieger, PhD, MS