Highlights from APHA: a Q&A with Professor Guohua Li

Earlier this month the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting took place in Denver. The event brought more than 12,000 health professionals together, from across the U.S and the rest of world, to discuss issues related to this year’s theme ‘Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health’. Attending the event was Journal Development Editor Helen Metherell and Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Open journal Injury Epidemiology Professor Guohua Li. Here Helen interviews him on his role at the conference and his personal highlights. This blog was originally posted by Springer Open, a sister company of Biomed Central.

Colorado Convention Center
Colorado Convention Center

Could you tell us about APHA and the conference this year?

APHA is arguably the oldest and largest organization for public health professionals. It held its first meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1873. Although APHA is a US-based organization, its annual meeting attracts about 15,000 public health professionals across the world.

Can you tell us about your relationship with APHA and your role at this year’s conference?

This year, I organized a special session on aging and driving safety and co-authored a few presentations about the opioid epidemic.

I have been a member of APHA for over 25 years. My involvement centers primarily on the scientific program of the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section. I have served as a presenter, a reviewer, and a moderator over the years, and played a role in institutionalizing the spot-light session on innovative methods in injury research. This year, I organized a special session on aging and driving safety and co-authored a few presentations about the opioid epidemic, which claims more lives in the United States than motor vehicle crashes and any other injury causes.

What were your conference highlights?

The highlights are always social functions: seeing longtime colleagues, making new friends, and learning the latest developments in the broad field of public health. This year, we held our first editorial board meeting for the journal Injury Epidemiology thanks to Ms. Helen Metherell of BioMed Central. Over 20 board members showed up and discussed the journal’s future development over lunch.

How important was this for Injury epidemiology? What are the important messages for injury prevention and control?

It was the debut of Injury Epidemiology at APHA. In three to five years, the journal will become the premier publishing outlet for injury epidemiologists and researchers.

Could you also give me a quick sentence or two about the session you chaired and the importance of the subject?

Due to declines in cognitive and physical functions, older adult drivers are at heightened risk of being involved in crashes.

Older adults are the fastest growing demographic group in the US and most other industrialized countries.  Driving as the preferred mode of personal transportation is important for maintaining mobility and health for older adults. Due to declines in cognitive and physical functions, older adult drivers are at heightened risk of being involved in crashes and dying from crashes. The special session on aging and driving safety featured a series of presentations of cutting-edge research about crash risk identification and mitigation in older adult drivers.

 

The APHA annual meeting will return in 2017, November 4-8 and will be held in Atlanta.

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