The Spirit of 1848 A Network Linking Politics, Passion, & Public Health 
an officially recognized caucus within the American Public Health Association

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2020 APHA Call for Abstracts
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(for pdf version of the Call for Abstracts click here.)

American Public Health Association
2020 Annual Meeting & Expo
San Francisco, CA
October 24-28, 2020


The official theme for APHA 2020 is: “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence.”

Motivating our theme is recognition that:

(1) It is essential to address the structural systems that foster violence -- for whose benefit, at whose cost – at multiple levels, ranging from state-sanctioned use of force by the military and police to interpersonal violence (in public, at home) to self-harm, with expressions of such violence ranging from physical to cultural and psychological

(2) It is essential to distinguish between use of force to dominate, exploit, and oppress, as opposed to use of force for self-defense and self-preservation, with the uses, respectively, of coercive force and of self-defense taking place at multiple levels (e.g., national, community, household, individual).

(3) APHA 2020 will take place just a week before the US 2020 elections, thus putting the spotlight on links between political power & the people’s health – and, related, the urgency of progressive mobilizing for the vote and fighting against voter suppression (see, for example, the new series in The Guardian, launched on Nov 7, 2019, re:  The fight to vote ).

And also: once again, we continue to note with concern the latent nationalism lurking in the phrasing of the APHA general theme of “creating the healthiest nation” which has appeared as the prefix to each annual meeting’s specific theme for the past few years – and we once again ask: why not instead have the goal be: “creating the healthiest world”!

Our 5 scientific sessions and our Spirit of 1848 labor/business meeting will be in the following slots:

Spirit of 1848 sessions – by day, name, and time, and whether an OPEN CALL for abstracts or SOLICITED ONLY  

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

Activist session

8:30 am to 10 am



Social history of public health

10:30 am to 12 noon



Politics of public health data

3:00 pm to 4:30 pm


Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020

Progressive pedagogy

8:30 am to 10:00 am



Integrative session

10:30 am to 12 noon



Student poster session

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm



Labor/business meeting

6:30 to 8:00 pm


Our new policy, effective this year, is: for each session we will 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 each session.

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) ACTIVIST SESSION (Mon, Oct 26, 2020 8:30am -- 10:00am):

Title: “Organizing against structural injustice & for health justice

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be SOLICITED (due: April 13, 2020).

The activist session will focus on “Organizing against structural injustice & for health justice,” drawing on case examples from the San Francisco Bay Area (where the APHA conference will take place). Possible topics include activist work that links health equity and:
(1) anti-eviction organizing;
(2) prison abolition organizing;
(3) harm reduction organizing;
(4) transformative justice & restorative justice organizing;
(5) decolonial organizing;
(6) activist health journalism;
(7) confronting growing attacks on science in the context of the climate crisis;
(8) countering voter suppression and mobilize marginalized voters to engage politically, including at the ballot box;
(9) countering structural violence.

Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Catherine Cubbin (email:, Rebekka Lee (email:, and Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot (email: will take the lead on organizing this invited session. Per our new policy, we will encourage submissions that bring a critical Indigenous lens, drawing on Indigenous theories, knowledge, and methods.

2) SOCIAL HISTORY OF PUBLIC HEALTH SESSION (Mon, Oct 26, 2020 10:30am -- 12 noon):

Title: “Critical Historical Perspectives on the Struggles Against Violence in the Bay Area and Beyond: Hypercapitalism, Genocide, Racism, and Liberation from 1848 to 2020

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be SOLICITED (due: April 13, 2020).

We are mindful of the fact that the year 1848, while ushering in movements for democracy and the peoples’ health, also marked the beginning of the California gold rush that greatly accelerated the ongoing genocide of settler colonists against the indigenous people of California. This year further marked the beginning of large-scale Chinese immigration to California – a process fraught with brutal labor exploitation, stark health inequities, and blatant racial discrimination. As the conference is being held on stolen land where these crimes and abuses occurred, we believe it is important to first acknowledge these facts and embrace them as relevant topics for our session, which addresses collective efforts to survive and counter structural violence in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, from 1848 to 2020.

These dark threads of California history weave through the Bay Area in disparate ways, but they are tied together by the themes of structural violence, collective resistance/survival, and liberation. Accordingly, for this session we seek to solicit abstracts of critical historical work highlighting collective strategies among indigenous peoples, racial minorities, and other marginalized groups to navigate historical traumas and different forms of structural violence and build strategies of collective resilience to advance the greater struggles of people for health justice and true democratic representation. This work can address a variety of types of structural violence: organized violence carried out by state or quasi-state entities to “clear” land for settlers or industries; efforts by private enterprise/capitalist actors, to oppress, suppress, or eliminate groups that may oppose their interests; or other, novel forms of violence fueled by hypercapitalism and its imperative for endless and rapid growth at the expense of human needs and lives. Further, it may involve a variety of tactics, from systematic labor abuses or policies focused on expulsion of people from their dwellings, encampments, and communities, to outright genocide. The work must also address a variety of strategies for collective resistance/resilience/survival, from organized action to works of art or performance to counter-histories. Finally, it can involve case studies from contexts both inside and outside of Alta California that are relevant to this particular historical context.

Examples of presentation topics may include:

A) The U.S. genocide of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their control over land and water in California, and the indigenous strategies of survival and resilience (including the 1969 American Indian occupation of Alcatraz). (See Madley, B., An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016))

B) The historical links between the U.S. gun industry and state-supported violence, from the U.S. takeover of California in the 1840s to the Mexican drug wars of the 21st century (See Delay, B. “How Not to Arm a State: American Guns and the Crisis of Governance in Mexico, Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries,” Southern California Quarterly Vol. 95, No. 1 (Spring 2013), 5-23)

C) The history of the Black Panthers (esp. in Oakland, CA) and the fight for health equity and against medical discrimination, (see Nelson, A., Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2011; Martin W., and Bloom, J., eds., Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, University of California Press, 2013, 2016); or the Black Panthers’ work with gay activists to collectively resist police brutality. (See Leighton, J., “All of Us Are Unapprehended Felons": Gay Liberation, the Black Panther Party, and Intercommunal Efforts Against Police Brutality in the Bay Area,” Journal of Social History, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2019, 860-885.)

D) The effort to recover the stories of Chinese railroad workers in California to address the historical trauma of exploitive, abusive labor without citizenship rights within the Chinese-American community and heal from collective historical trauma. (See the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University website,

Presenters may be joined by a discussant who can make connections between the different case studies and link them to the larger Spirit of 1848 theme, “Political Power & the People’s Health: Countering Structural Violence & Promoting Health Justice.”

Critical historical analysis of these cases as they relate to health justice may provide insights relevant to current collective struggles for reparations and reconciliation, and against different forms of structural violence in the Bay Area and beyond. The overall aim of the session will be to draw upon case studies and examples in order to understand, illuminate and inspire contemporary movements to protect and empower people to survive, resist, and overcome various forms of violent oppression in order to achieve health justice.

-- This session will be developed by the history subcommittee: Marian Moser Jones (email:, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, (email:, Luis Aviles (

-- Note: all abstracts for this session will be SOLICITED. Per our new policy, we will invite submissions that bring a critical Indigenous lens, drawing on Indigenous theories, knowledge, and methods.

3) POLITICS OF PUBLIC HEALTH DATA SESSION (Mon, Oct 26, 2020, 2:30 - 4:00pm):

Title: "Public health data & structural violence: from big data and countering algorithmic bias to confronting state and corporate surveillance"

NOTE: presentations for this session will be drawn primarily from abstracts submitted in response to the OPEN CALL for abstracts (Due: Feb 20, 2020), supplemented by solicited abstracts as warranted.

This session seeks to feature conceptual and empirical presentations of analyses (whether quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods) that are context-aware and historically-informed. Possible foci for presentations, all in relation to issues of health justice, might be:

(1) conceptual framing of complexities of data collection in relation to measuring and quantifying the adverse health impacts of structural violence in its many forms;
(2) uses of Big Data to counter structural violence by the state, as per how Black Data Matters is using big data to take on documenting police violence for accountability;
(3) uses of Big Data to bring new light to analyzing health justice issues for “small” populations, e.g., American Indians and Alaska Natives;
(4) critical analysis of the non-neutrality of algorithms and their role in entrenching health inequities, especially in relation to social services, health care, education, and the carceral state;
(5) critical analysis of who owns the data and the erasures of privacy – by state and corporate surveillance, drones, devices that monitor people’s health and their every move, phone call, email, twitter exchange, and more;
(6) public health threats associated with doxing, and with challenging on-line hate speech and violence;
(7) coding and misclassification of deaths (in the US and elsewhere) due to violence, including after police brutality and after military actions, plus underreporting of deaths in other countries after US and other military invasions;
(8) the politics that undercut accurate monitoring of, research on, and interventions to address gun violence; and
(9) analyses that link federal and state policies affecting voting rights, voter suppression, and political representation (e.g., gerrymandering) to health outcomes.

Per our new policy, we encourage submissions that bring a critical Indigenous lens, drawing on Indigenous theories, knowledge, and methods.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizers, who are Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Zinzi Bailey (email:, Catherine Cubbin (email:, Craig Dearfield (email:, and Nancy Krieger (email:

4) PROGRESSIVE PEDAGOGY SESSION (Tues, Oct 27, 2020, 8:30 - 10:00am):

Title: "Pedagogies for Survivance: Addressing Structural Violence in its Many Forms"

This session will have an OPEN CALL for abstracts for practical presentations that focus on pedagogy that enhances capacity for teaching and organizing for survivance, or active resistance against dominance, victimry, and structural violence. This includes the pedagogies that are being (re)developed through decolonizing epistemologies and other ways of re-framing knowledge and voice. We call for work that shows how such pedagogy can be carried out, in both: (1) diverse academic settings, e.g., universities and colleges (including community colleges), health professional schools (public health, nursing, medical, dental, veterinary, etc), high schools, and elementary schools, and (2) training programs for community and workplace activists, organizations, and members. We welcome student-led presentations focused on how to bring such pedagogy into their educational programs.

Possible topics, all with a focus on health justice, might include:
(1) courses about anti-militarism and public health;
(2) courses about settler-colonialism and its impact on health inequities & Indigenous health;
(3) critical analysis about the health equity impacts of the presence of police in schools;
(4) teaching about structural violence and its health impacts via the theatre of oppressed;
(5) critical analysis of how inadequate policies about discrimination and sexual harassment in schools harm students & pedagogy;
(6) critical analysis of how people seeking to teach about structural violence & health justice have been blocked from teaching such courses; and
(7) teaching about people’s political power, voting rights, voter suppression, and their implications for health equity.

Per our new policy, we encourage submissions that bring a critical Indigenous lens, drawing on Indigenous theories, knowledge, and methods.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizers, who are Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee members Vanessa Simonds (email:, Lisa Moore (email:, Rebekka Lee (email:, and Nylca Muñoz (email:

5) INTEGRATIVE SESSION (Tues, Oct 27, 2020, 10:30am -- 12 noon:

Title: "US Census 2020, Political Power & Resources: Health Equity Implications of New Policy of Differential Privacy, especially for small populations and census tract data"

NOTE: All abstracts for this session will be SOLICITED (due: April 13, 2020).

Recognizing the profound role of the US census in providing the population counts for redistricting, and thus the allocation of power, as well as the allocation of resources (via funding formula for programs that rely on census counts), the intent of this session will be to bring public health professionals, researchers, advocates, activists, and policy analysts up-to-date regarding a MAJOR change affecting public use of the 2020 census data. At issue is the new policy of differential privacy (see: ).

-- In brief, the US Census has determined that it can no longer protect people’s privacy by releasing data as it has in the past, given increased capacity to use non-census big data resources to identify individuals even in aggregated census data. The public use data accordingly will have controlled statistical “noise” introduced to protect people’s privacy, in a way that preserves accuracy at higher levels of geography. A trade-off, however, is that this means there will be less accurate data on small population and small areas (e.g., census tracts) – with implications for denominators, contextual measures based on census data, and survey sampling frames, especially for health equity research that is place-based and focuses on population sub-groups (i.e., not just the total population), however divided (e.g., by race/ethnicity, by income level, etc).

-- The public health and health equity implications of the shift to differential privacy (which commences with the US 2020 decennial census, with a target date of 2025 for implementation with American Community Survey data) are under-researched and little known. Controversies exist over what the impacts will be (see, for example: & also ).

-- The aim of this session accordingly will be to bring together relevant US Census officials, data scientists, and health equity analysts to generate awareness of the shift to differential privacy and what it may mean for public health monitoring and action to advance health justice. Per our new policy, we will invite submissions that bring a critical Indigenous lens, drawing on Indigenous theories, knowledge, and methods.

If you have any questions, please contact the session organizer, Spirit of 1848 Coordinating Committee member Nancy Krieger (email:

6) STUDENT POSTER SESSION: SOCIAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC HEALTH (Tues, Oct 27, 2020, 1:00 - 2:00pm):

For APHA 2020, the Spirit of 1848 Social Justice & Public Health Student Poster Session is having an *OPEN CALL FOR ABSTRACTS* for posters that highlight the intersection 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 and graduate).Submissions can include, but are not limited to, work concerned with the Spirit of 1848’s focus for APHA 2020, “Political power & the people’s health: countering structural violence & promoting health justice.”The submitted work can address one or more of the many interlocking types of justice at issue, e.g., racial justice, Indigenous justice, economic justice, gender justice, queer justice, environmental justice, climate justice, reproductive justice, healing justice, restorative justice, electoral justice, etc. We are interested in submissions not only from public health and health professions students, but also from students in schools & programs across the social sciences, humanities, and other professions. See, for example, abstracts selected in prior years: 2019, 2018, and 2017

Abstracts are due Thurs, Feb 20, 2020; all relevant instructions can be found at the APHA abstract submission website; see:

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 (1) accept the top 10 abstracts; (2) create an ordered waitlist of potentially-acceptable abstracts that were not initially accepted; and (3) reject abstracts that are not focused on issues of social justice and public health or are not of acceptable quality. If any accepted abstracts are withdrawn, we will replace them with an abstract from the waitlist.
For any questions about this session or advice on abstract submission, please contact Spirit of 1848 Student Poster Coordinating Committee members Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot (, Nylca Muñoz (, and Monique Hosein (


APHA Reminders re: Abstract Requirements & Continuing Education Credits:

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 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, panelist, discussant, and/or faculty 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 outcome (DO NOT USE "To understand” or “To learn” as objectives, they are not measurable).

o 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.

o 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 if you have any questions concerning continuing education. Please contact the program planner for all other questions.

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