CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2024 Annual Meeting and Expo


Meeting theme: "Rebuilding Trust in Public Health and Science"

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 29, 2024

APHA’s Disability section invites abstract submissions for socio-behavioral including health education and program intervention research, epidemiological, health systems, health law and policy, and social justice research related to disability and public health that represent people with all types of disabilities (e.g., cognitive, physical, mental, and sensory) across the lifespan. The section encourages abstracts that feature domestic and international perspectives. Case studies and demonstration projects that represent best practices and have been evaluated are also highly encouraged.

Abstracts dedicated to any and all aspects of disability and public health will be considered.

When submitting an abstract, please identify it as falling into one of the following categories:

  • Approaching Public Health through a Disability Justice Lens
    This session will explore public health through a disability justice lens. The topics in this section should focus on the experiences of people who live at the intersection of disability and other marginalized identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and sexual orientation).
  • Emerging Public Health Issues Affecting People with Disabilities
    This session explores pressing and rising public health concerns uniquely impacting people with disabilities. Topics will cover the multidimensional factors influencing heightened risks, health disparities, and inequities faced by people with disabilities regarding emerging issues such as pandemics, climate change, chronic diseases, mental health, substance abuse, violence, and access to healthcare. Evidence-based strategies to advance disability inclusion in public health research, planning, policymaking, and programming will be discussed.
  • Health Promotion for People with Disabilities across the Lifespan
    This session provides an extensive overview of health promotion for people with disabilities across the lifespan. It will cover medical considerations, caregiver support, programs, and interventions to promote health and well-being from childhood through older adulthood. Topics include healthcare transitions for adolescents and young adults, long-term lifestyle and chronic condition management, and research on policy and environmental strategies to foster inclusive health promotion activities.
  • Healthcare Provider Education
    This session will survey disability knowledge, confidence in care, addressing medical bias, and education efforts for public health, medicine, and health professionals.
  • Promoting Environmental Justice for People with Disabilities
    This session will examine the intersection between disability justice and environmental justice movements. The Disability Justice movement advocates for the rights, dignity, and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of life. Environmental Justice seeks equitable access to clean environments, resources, and health opportunities for marginalized communities. Topics will cover inaccessible built/natural environments, including lack of sidewalks, unsafe roads, inability to access parks, recreation areas, and inadequate disaster planning. Research will be presented on heightened exposures to pollution, toxic sites, and heat risks experienced by people with disabilities. The session will highlight advocacy frameworks to promote disability inclusion in environmental justice efforts.
  • Promoting Physical Activity Opportunities for People with Disabilities
    Regular physical activity is important for health, functioning, and quality of life, but people with disabilities face barriers to participation. This session will explore evidence-based strategies to promote physical activity equitably within disabled communities across their lifespans. Topics will include research on disparities in activity levels among disabled populations and how inaccessible built environments and lack of adaptive equipment, transportation, and inclusive programming perpetuate the gap.
  • Rebuilding Trust with Disabled Communities in Public Health
    People with disabilities have experienced marginalization in scientific research and discrimination through public health policies, propagating distrust of health authorities. This session examines barriers, including lack of accessibility, inadequate consideration of disability perspectives, and unethical treatment. Strategies are explored for rebuilding trust through equitable partnerships with disability advocates, transparent communication, and reliably providing accommodations. Topics will include the effective collaboration of health agencies with disability communities in areas such as accessible health risk resources, inclusive vaccination promotion, and facilitating the participation of people with disabilities in scientific advisory boards guiding policy, including crisis standards of care.
  • Sexual Health and Reproductive Justice for People with Disabilities
    This session will explore issues related to people with disabilities and sexual health or reproductive justice. This includes topics concerning the right of disabled people to have children, not to have children, and to parent children safely and with dignity. This session will also explore sexuality and sexual health for disabled people, including access to quality sexual healthcare, information and education, relationships, sexual identity, etc. It will also examine maternal and child health topics for people with disabilities and their infants.
  • Surveillance and Data
    This session will describe and explore current datasets and surveys inclusive of and about people with disabilities in research and data. This includes equity in data and evaluation as well as monitoring disparities in social, economic, employment/occupation, and health among people with disabilities.

Preference will be given to abstracts that feature originality. The selection process will also consider the use of innovative approaches, the potential impact on the field, clarity of presentation, reliance on high-quality scientific data, policy and practice implications, and program evaluation.

Abstracts are limited to 250 words. Abstracts are reviewed anonymously and rated based on the following criteria:

  1. importance of the issue or problem addressed;
  2. clarity of content;
  3. the soundness of the methodology and conceptual framework used;
  4. substantive findings or recommendations;
  5. relevance to a broad audience; and
  6. applicability to improving public health for people with disabilities.

Abstracts accepted for presentation will be for either a 15 to 20-minute oral presentation or a 60-minute poster session. Abstracts accepted for APHA’s Annual Meeting may not be presented at any other meeting or published in any journal before November 2024.

Research in the pilot or development stages, small-scale studies, and project descriptions without a significant evidence base is best suited to poster presentations. Student submissions are encouraged, and students should indicate their status when submitting their abstracts.

Abstract submissions open in April 2024 for those interested in submitting an abstract for the film festival.

Attention students: Students who submit abstracts as first authors may be eligible to apply for the Disability Section Early Career Scholarship Program. More information here:

Presentation requirements: While it is not necessary to be a member of APHA to submit an abstract, all presenters must be members of APHA and must register for the annual meeting. Presentations must be accessible and adhere to Disability Section guidelines for accessibility.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Robyn Powell, JD, PhD


Lindsey Mullis, M.S.