Reflections on the 2022 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo

Elizabeth stands speaking into a microphone at a podium wearing a black sweater and conference badge.

“Bringing our cultural humility training to APHA for a second year has been a wonderful reminder that there is interest in the topic and lots more to be done.”

– Elizabeth Rojo

By Catherine Cortez

Last month, I had the honor and privilege to join my VTA+ colleagues at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo 2022 (APHA) in Boston, Massachusetts. 

The Annual Meeting is a space for public health professionals, students, and leaders to connect/reconnect, collaborate, and gain new insights on how we can continue to advance public health across the nation. This year’s theme, “150 Years of Creating the Healthiest Nation: Leading the Path Toward Equity,” guided our collective reflection upon how inequitable health and well-being across the nation has been shaped by intersecting historical, systemic, and structural factors. Leading a path toward equity balances celebrating significant strides in the field while embracing that there is always work to be done to create a more healthy and equitable nation. 

At APHA 2022, the VTA+ team had the immense honor of sharing significant strides of our own. Four sessions later, with over 100 attendees engaged at these sessions, and countless opportunities to reflect alongside colleagues on how we can continue leading the path toward equity — here are a few VTA+ APHA 2022 highlights.

VTA+ APHA 2022 highlights

“From conceptualizing an abstract, to reviewing it, to sharing it with the Town Hall and CDPH teams, and sharing it with VTA+, and then finally presenting it – I’ve learned so much and felt so supported and valued!”  

– Raman Kaur
7 VTA+ staff smiling and posing in front of a wall size APHA sign showing "150 years" in the conference check-in area
Day 2: Meeting for the first time after working together virtually for over 2 years. From left to right: Hana Azman, Joyce Imafidon, Ramanjot Kaur, Catherine Cortez, Elizabeth Rojo, Nova Wilson, Paola Manterola Bustamante
Joyce smiles and wears her conference badge to the side of a wall-sized poster
Joyce Imafidon at the APLPH Caucus Poster Session III: Recruit and Retain a Diverse and Culturally Responsive Workforce. Academic and Practice Linkages in Public Health Caucus
Paola sits at a round table wearing a mask, holding a paper in one hand while the other hand is held up and used to add emphasis to her verbal communication. The papers on the table are handouts and show the VTA+, UCSF, and UCLA logos and information she is presenting.
Paola Manterola Bustamante presents at the Pa’Lante- For Latino Advancement, Networking, Training, and Education Round Table, Latino Caucus
Esmeralda, Paola, and Joyce sit at the roundtable where Paola gave her presentation for the Latino Caucus. All three are wearing masks and presentation handouts are on the table in front.
From left to right: Esmeralda Melgoza, Paola Manterola Bustamante, and Joyce Imafidon
Raman, Daisy, and Hana stand close together, smiling, and wearing their conference badges. They stand in front of massive sign: "Welcome Public Health Heroes"
From left to right: Raman, Daisy, and Hana in front of the APHA Expo entrance
Luis Gutierrez Mock, Ramanjot Kaur (presenter), Hana Azman posing in front of a wall-sized screen in the conference room. Screen displays slide showing VTA+ logo, session title, and authors.
Presentation by Ramanjot Kaur: Lessons Learned As We Emerge from the Pandemic: Part 2, Academic and Practice Linkages in Public Health Caucus. From left to right: Luis Gutierrez Mock, Ramanjot Kaur, Hana Azman
Elizabeth stands speaking into a microphone at a podium wearing a black sweater and conference badge.
Elizabeth Rojo presenting on bias and defining cultural humility during the APHA Learning Institute course, Improving Health Equity through Cultural Humility Training for Public Health Professionals

Attending APHA 2022 was a very special moment of deep gratitude and appreciation for the VTA+ community as I continue my second year with the VTA+ Monitoring & Evaluation team. Central to our work is the iterative process of connecting with our learners, gathering their feedback, and adapting our offerings to continually respond to the state’s public health workforce needs. It was so exciting to witness my colleagues present a glimpse into our triumphs, challenges, and lessons-learned throughout this journey on a national level. 

Celebrating public health and APHA’s 150th birthday among our VTA+ team and over 10,000 in-person attendees was a truly meaningful experience. As we close the chapter on APHA 2022, we look upwards and onwards to new opportunities to share our work with others. 

Learn more about the VTA+ presentations at APHA

Paola Manterola Bustamante’s Handout: Training California’s Spanish-speaking Public Health Workforce Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Virtual Training Academy (VTA+)

Joyce Imafidon’s Poster: California Pathways into Public Health Mentorship Program: Supporting a Diverse Public Health Workforce

Ramanjot Kaur’s Presentation Slides: Utilizing Virtual Town Halls to Provide Timely Programmatic Support to Local Health Jurisdictions throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic

“After presenting at APHA, I felt I would like to have the opportunity to be there presenting once again. It was a great experience personally and professionally.”

– Paola Manterola Bustamante

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