American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Exposition
Over 13,000 public health professionals attended the 138th American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Exposition from November 6-10, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. More than 1,000 scientific sessions, 700 booths, and over 4,000 scientific papers detailed the latest public health challenges. The theme of this year’s meeting focused on the link between social justice and public health and featured Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Bill Jenkins as the keynote speakers.
Complementary and alternative medicine was a topic of interest to many meeting attendees, with two days of CAM-related sessions held by APHA’s special primary interest group Alternative and Complementary Health Practices. Anne Doherty-Gilman, Associate Director of the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Program Chair for the Alternative and Complementary Health Practices group was very pleased with the quality of the CAM-related sessions. “This year's Alternative and Complementary Health Practices' sessions included an impressive array of innovative public health initiatives and scientifically rigorous studies that offered important guidance to those of us working in this field. It was truly inspiring to see the breadth of high quality work being done to advance the evidence base for these therapies and to promote access to wellness and whole person care,” said Doherty-Gilman. Highlights included a session on CAM for Cancer and Chronic Diseases and a special session that Dr. Isis Mikhail, MD, MPH, DrPH, OCCAM’s Extramural Research Program director and Dr. Wendy Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. from NCCAM led on NIH grants applicable for the public health field.
Dr. Mikhail, was also impressed with this year’s meeting. “There is a growing interest in CAM research at APHA. It’s evident not only through the CAM-related conference sessions, but also through the attendees I talked to about cancer CAM research and the research abstracts presented during the poster sessions.” Dr. Mikhail also participated in NCI’s “Meet the Expert” session at the NCI expo booth. As one of 19 NCI experts she was able to connect with many researchers interested in funding opportunities at NCI.
NCI has a large presence at APHA, connecting with health professionals about NCI programs, products, and services. This year the NCI expo booth won first place for a non-profit, island exhibit booth. Improved IT services at the booth allowed meeting attendees to order NCI publications and have them shipped directly to their offices. NCI also had a big screen TV showcasing NCI websites and a seating area for presentations of interest to meeting attendees.
OCCAM Staff Attends Leading Integrative Oncology Conference
The Society for Integrative Oncology hosted its Seventh International Conference at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City, New York November 11-13, 2010. The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) is a non-profit organization of research professionals and practitioners dedicated to studying and facilitating cancer treatment and the recovery process through the use of integrated complementary treatment options. SIO’s conference draws attendees from around the world because of its important lectures, scientific sessions and tight focus on the field of integrative oncology. The title of this year’s conference, “Integrative Oncology: Informing the Debate in Practice, Research and Public Policy”, placed an especially important focus on public policy in this time of health care reform and changes.
OCCAM’s Communications and Outreach Program exhibited at the conference and handed out research grant information and patient education materials to attendees as well as discussed aspects of OCCAM’s research portfolio. Information about funding opportunities in integrative oncology was of great importance to those that visited the booth.
Dr. Isis Mikhail, MD, MPH, DrPH, director of the Extramural Research Program(ERP) at OCCAM sat on a panel titled: “Career Development Workshop for CAM Practitioners and Students.” Dr. Mikhail noted, “This workshop was received very positively by the audience that included a group of physicians, junior research investigators, practitioners, post-doctoral fellows, among others. The panel included speakers from NIH (NCCAM, NCI, National Institute of Nursing Research), cancer research organizations (American Cancer Society and American Institute for Cancer Research), and academia; and addressed different areas of interest and prospects for career development. A number of attendees used this opportunity to communicate with the speakers who made themselves available for additional inquiries after the end of the session.”
Dr Dan Xi, PhD., program officer at OCCAM also took part in a panel titled: “Whole Systems Workshop” in which she presented a talk titled: “Traditional Chinese Medicine, Systems Biology and Systems Medicine”. She stated that the topics of the workshop were extremely relevant to Cancer CAM research because: “many CAM interventions use personalized whole systems approaches to patient care. This provided the platform for research methodology discussion, information exchange, and education.”
Conference chair Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD wrote that this year’s conference goals included addressing the challenges facing integrative oncology in the era of healthcare reform, indentifying gaps in integrative oncology comparative effectiveness research and issues related to reimbursement for services. Three days of scientific sessions covered various aspects of integrative oncology from emerging research in vitamin D supplementation, energy balance in cancer survivorship and patient advocacy. Information about the conference and the Society for Integrative Oncology are available at the Society’s website at http://www.integrativeonc.org/.