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American Public Health Association

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American Public Health Association
Formation1872; 152 years ago (1872)
FounderDr. Stephen Smith
Founded atNew York City
PurposeImprove the health of the public and achieve equity in health status
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
  • United States
Executive director
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E)
Washington, D.C. office of the APHA

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is a Washington, D.C.-based professional membership and advocacy organization for public health professionals in the United States. APHA is the largest professional organization of public health professionals in the United States and host the largest gathering of public health professionals in the world at their annual meeting and exhibition.[citation needed] The organization focusses on a wide range of public health issues with programing related to academics, policy, capacity building, and advocacy.[1]


In 1872, American Public Health Association was founded by a group of physicians, including Dr. Stephen Smith and Dr. Henry Hartshorne.[2] APHA has been involved in every major significant public health program of the last 150 years. A list of major milestones can be found on their website, completed in celebration of their 150th anniversary.[1]


APHA has more than 25,000 members worldwide.[3] The association defines itself as an organization that: "champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a 150-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public's health." It defines its mission as: "Improve the health of the public and achieve equity in health status."[4]

Members are organized into sections, special interest groups, affiliates, forums, and caucuses. Sections are the primary organizing units in APHA composed of individuals with shared interest in topics, practice areas, or conditions. Affiliates are state-based public health associations which are separate legal entities from APHA but collaborate closely with each having a representative on APHA's Governing Council. Forums are cross-organization bodies around an interdisciplinary health topic. Special interest groups are groups organizing around a shared interest with the goal of becoming a section. Caucuses are outside professional organizations that are organized around social issues or populations in official relation with APHA.[5]


APHA is governed by a Governing Council composed of voting representatives from the various APHA member sections and independent state affiliates. The Governing Council receives reports from staff and member committees, adopts the official policy stances of the association, and elects a 24 member executive board to oversee the operations of the association. Members also serve in elected and appointed roles across the APHA member sections, committees, and several subordinate boards related to advocacy, education, science, publications, and other areas where collaboration is key.[5]


APHA has five types of membership: regular, retired, early-career professional, organizational, and student.[6] Members receive an online subscription to the American Journal of Public Health and The Nation's Health as well as a weekly newsletter, Inside Public Health, access to APHA's online community, and an extensive members only webinar series.[7]

APHA awards[edit]

National APHA awards[edit]

The accomplishments of public health leaders are recognized through an awards program. APHA presents its national awards during its annual meeting. National APHA awards include:[8]

Section awards[edit]

Many APHA member sections also present awards in their particular field or focus area.

The Public Health Education and Health Promotion section recognizes individuals in six award categories. The awards include the Distinguished Career Award, Early Career Award, Mayhew Derryberry Award for contributions of behavioral scientists to health education, Mohan Sing Award for humor in health education, Sarah Mazelis Award for health education practitioners, and Rogers Award for public health communication.[citation needed]

The Statistics section offers the Mortimer Spiegelman Award to a statistician under the age of 40 for contribution to public health statistics.[10]

Rema Lapouse Award – sponsored by the Mental Health, Epidemiology, and Statistics Sections, this award is granted to an outstanding scientist in the area of psychiatric epidemiology.[citation needed]


The American Public Health Association publishes more than 70 public health books. Several of these are the reference source for their specialty within public health practice. Some publication titles include:

  • Control of Communicable Diseases Manual
  • Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater[11]
  • Landesman's Public Health Management of Disasters: The Practice Guide
  • Public Health Newswire
  • Black Women’s Reproductive Health and Sexuality: A Holistic Public Health Approach[12]
  • Health Inequities and African Americans: A Comprehensive Examination[13]

In addition, APHA publishes the American Journal of Public Health, a monthly peer-reviewed public health journal covering public health and policy. APHA also publishes The Nation's Health, a monthly newspaper covering public health news and APHA updates.[14]

Annual meeting[edit]

The APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition is the largest meeting of public health professionals in the world. The meeting draws more than 13,000 attendees, offers 700 booths of exhibits and features more than 1,000 scientific sessions, representing the full spectrum of public health issues as well as the multifaceted nature of APHA in relation to the advancement of science and public health advocacy. Presentations cover new research and trends in public health science and practice.[15]

National Public Health Week[edit]

National Public Health Week is an observance organized annually by APHA during the first full week of April.[16] The week’s activities are designed to raise awareness around issues that are important to improving the public’s health.[16]

Affordable Care Act[edit]

In June 2019, The American Public Health Association firmly condemned official litigation with the United States of America by the Trump administration. At the end of the Trump administration, the APHA opposed a legal filing with the Supreme Court which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act.[17] This Supreme Court case was decided in June 2021, and the court left the Affordable Care Act in place.[18]

Mortimer Spiegelman Award[edit]

The Mortimer Spiegelman Award, established by the APHA in 1970, honors a statistician under age 40 who has made outstanding contributions to health statistics, especially public health statistics.[19]


  1. ^ "About APHA". www.apha.org. Retrieved 2023-12-24.
  2. ^ "APHA History and Timeline". Archived from the original on 2007-04-03. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  3. ^ Morris, J. Cheston (1900). "Henry Hartshorne". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 39 (164). American Philosophical Society: i–xii. JSTOR 983785.
  4. ^ "American Public Health Association". APHA. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  5. ^ a b APHA Bylaws. Accessed 24 December 2023. https://www.apha.org/-/media/files/pdf/governance/gc/apha_bylaws.ashx
  6. ^ "Membership Types and Rates". www.apha.org. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  7. ^ "Your Member Benefits". www.apha.org. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  8. ^ "APHA Awards". www.apha.org. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  9. ^ "Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize". American Association for Public Health. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  10. ^ Mortimer Spiegelman Award - APHA Statistics Section
  11. ^ Eaton, Andrew D.; Greenberg, Arnold E.; Rice, Eugene W.; Clesceri, Lenore S.; Franson, Mary Ann H., eds. (2005). Standard Methods For the Examination of Water and Wastewater (21 ed.). American Public Health Association. ISBN 978-0-87553-047-5. Also available on CD-ROM and online by subscription.
  12. ^ "APHA releases two groundbreaking books tackling health equity and reproductive health". apha.org. Retrieved 2023-09-28.
  13. ^ "APHA releases two groundbreaking books tackling health equity and reproductive health". apha.org. Retrieved 2023-09-28.
  14. ^ "Publications & Periodicals". www.apha.org. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  15. ^ Librarian, IntraHealth. "APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition: Politics, Policy and Public Health". www.hrhresourcecenter.org. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  16. ^ a b "About NPHW". American Public Health Association. American Public Health Association. Archived from the original on 20 March 2024. Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  17. ^ "American Public Health Association Opposes Administration Legal Action on Affordable Care Act". insurancenewsnet. 29 June 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Court again leaves Affordable Care Act in place". SCOTUSblog. 2021-06-17. Retrieved 2022-01-06.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Awards". APHA. American Public Health Association. Archived from the original on 20 March 2024. Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  20. ^ "About Butch Tsiatis". North Carolina State University. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  21. ^ "Jeremy Taylor Of UCLA School Of Public Health Wins Spiegelman Award As Outstanding Young Biostatistician". UCLA School of Public Health. August 1, 1996. Retrieved Jun 29, 2016.
  22. ^ "Jeremy M G Taylor, Ph.D." University of Michigan School of Public Health. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  23. ^ "Honors and Awards". University of California, San Francisco Magazine. 15. 1994. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  24. ^ "Bradley P. Carlin PhD". University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  25. ^ "Daniel Weeks, Ph.D., Wins Prestigious Spiegelman Award From The American Public Health Association". University of Pittsburgh. October 18, 2001. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  26. ^ "Cupples Award Presented to Berkeley Professor". UC Berkeley School of Public Health. April 26, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  27. ^ "Dominici Named Mortimer Spiegelman Award Recipient". Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. July 7, 2006. Retrieved Jun 29, 2016.
  28. ^ "For the Record: Cheers". The JHU Gazette. 35 (40). July 24, 2006. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  29. ^ "2015 Minghui Yu Memorial Conference". Columbia University Department of Statistics. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  30. ^ "Biostatistics Professor Recognized for Contributions". Yale School of Medicine. May 30, 2008. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  31. ^ "Rafael A Irrizarys biographical sketch". Dana–Farber Cancer Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-07-14. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  32. ^ Schneider-Levinson, Wendy (November 2011). "Nilanjan Chatterjee Receives Prestigious Statistics Award". National Cancer Institute. Archived from the original on October 4, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  33. ^ "CPC Fellow Amy Herring receives APHA's Mortimer Spiegelman Award: Honors her achievements as a public health biostatistician". University of North Carolina. November 2, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  34. ^ "Debashis Ghosh awarded the Mortimer Spiegelman Award". Pennsylvania State University. May 6, 2013. Archived from the original on June 18, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  35. ^ "Tyler VanderWeele". Society for Epidemiologic Research. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  36. ^ Ruder, Esther Kim (May 20, 2015). "John Storey receives the 2015 Mortimer Spiegelman Award". Princeton University. Retrieved Jun 29, 2016.

External links[edit]