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Dallas: NACCHO

July 10-12, 2013. The NACCHO acronym denotes National Association of County and City Health Officials.  The theme was “Public Health by the Numbers. Our Story. Our Time. Our Future.” Local health departments face a rapidly changing landscape. They encounter pressure from limited resources and must increasingly focus on new and traditional roles, government accountability, and effectiveness models.  NACCHO delegates could explore the current and future status of public health, and interact with the professionals who work every day to promote health and safety. Seminars offered opportunities to learn about research breakthroughs, new technologies, and innovative solutions and products.  The public health finance balance sheet— came under scrutiny, as a way of understanding the numbers that inform strategies.  All in all, NACCHO was definitely ‘healthier’ than… well… eating nachos, for instance.

San Francisco: American Public Health Association (APHA)

Oct. 27 – Nov. 1, 2012. APHA stands for the American Public Health Association.  APHA claims to be the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world, attracting more than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and related health specialists. The meeting program addressed current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health. Hurricane Sandy was an unwelcome visitor, since a large contingent of attendees always comes from the Eastern seaboard states, but APHA decided that “the show must go on”.  There were more than 1,000 scientific sessions, roundtables, poster sessions, institutes and panel discussions at which over 5,000 scientific papers were presented. Full and half-day educational programs were on offer, all designed to provide an in-depth learning experience in the latest public health trends and topics.  All “healthy” reasons for making the trip…

Boston: PestWorld

Oct. 17-20, 2012. Pests are not a trivial problem, and controlling them costs between 6 and 7 billion dollars annually.  They destroy homes and buildings and their contents; termites alone cause over $5 billion in damage annually.  They can transmit disease-causing organisms like West Nile Virus and malaria.   Without pest management, pests could destroy more than 50 percent of our food crops.  PestWorld is run by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members from around the world, originally established to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. Their commitment is reflected both in the continuing education of pest management professionals and the dissemination of timely information to homeowners and businesses.  According to a recent survey, insects and bugs rank as the public’s third most common fear, behind public speaking and heights.  But don’t let that bug you.