In mid-November, some of the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) team flew into Atlanta, Georgia, to attend the premier public health event of the year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo 2023. The 4-day event allowed the CCPH team to connect with peers, build leadership skills, hear from leading experts, and present and facilitate conversations,

“A seminal moment of the Meeting was the speech delivered by Ella Greene-Moton as the new President of APHA. As a former CCPH Board member and chair, Ella is the consummate community leader whose voice matters at an important time in our nation’s history.”


– Al Richmond, MSW, CCPH Executive Director

Our team members work in cities nationwide, and APHA 2023 was the perfect and rare opportunity for the team to come together and collaborate in person. We asked some team members for their highlights from the event and how it benefits their work. You’ll notice a theme of relationship building and community focus come through their responses. Hear directly from some of the team members who attended in our interview with them below:

What was one of your biggest takeaways from the APHA Annual Meeting & Expo? 

“Meeting like-minded people who inspire both my personal and professional journeys in community-engaged research.” – Charisse Iglesias, PhD

“The highlight of APHA was meeting my CCPH colleagues and many other partners for the very first time. My takeaway from various meetings, presentations, dinners, and receptions is that I’m extremely fortunate to work with driven, compassionate, and highly skilled professionals across the country. Reflecting on the field of public health more generally, I noted a lot of discussion around the need to stay focused on addressing the health inequities illuminated by the pandemic. With new community-focused leadership from Ella Greene-Moton, as well as new community-led research opportunities such as Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS), I am hopeful that community partners will see more sustained investment and recognition from major institutions.” – Emily Finley, MPH

“My biggest takeaway from APHA was community, community, community. Without community we go nowhere and accomplish nothing substantial and effective.” – Kacia Vines, MPH, MSW

“The variety and depth of topics covered were truly impressive. The conference sessions addressed a diverse range of current issues and trends within public health, providing valuable insights that I can directly apply to my work. The speakers’ expertise and the thought-provoking discussions contributed significantly to the overall learning experience.” Alexis Hill

How did the APHA Annual Meeting & Expo benefit you in your work?

“From the many sessions I attended and conversations I participated in, there was a large emphasis on navigating the power dynamics in community-academic partnerships. As I build training and educational products, I’m encouraged that our CCPH Principles of Partnership focus on building structures at the very beginning of the partnership is what folks need to develop and sustain equitable partnerships.” -Charisse Iglesias, PhD

“The main benefit of attending APHA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Annual Meeting (CAM) was the opportunity to spend time in person with colleagues from CCPH and partner organizations, including University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Pitt CTSI), Morehouse School of Medicine, Westat, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the CEAL teams. Not only did we have important discussions about future directions and goals, but we also had the chance to socialize and get to know one another as humans. I am hopeful that our time spent team building within CCPH will increase our cohesiveness and internal collaboration.” – Emily Finley, MPH

“I think it just resolidified the work we need to continue – equity, community, and engagement. APHA connected us to like-minded individuals who care deeply about the work they are doing. It allowed us to form new connections and hopefully new partnerships in the future.” – Kacia Vines, MPH, MSW

How important was attending the APHA Annual Meeting & Expo to build upon the work that you’re doing?

 “Attending meetings like APHA serves multiple purposes like networking, sharing research, and overall skill building. It’s also a good refresher to be around mission-driven people who need the support to sustain and thrive in this work.” – Charisse Iglesias, PhD

“Attending APHA and CAM was extremely important to my work. I supported the Community Engagement Alliance Consultative Resource (CEACR) team in presenting four posters at APHA and served as a moderator for the Community-Based Organization Community of Practice roundtable session at CAM. All of these events were important opportunities to network and share CCPH’s work with colleagues, funders, current and future partners, and attendees who share our mission.” – Emily Finley, MPH

“Attending APHA for the first time was very overwhelming, but in the best possible way! I was able to network with community members and researchers, learn about new projects taking place, share my own research, and hear from leading experts.” – Kacia Vines, MPH, MSW

“Meeting NIH teams from CEAL and CEACR at APHA was wonderful- making that personal connection beyond a Zoom screen makes such a difference. I saw colleagues and friends from my alma mater and felt that CCPH was centered in the national discussion and work on community engagement, which was especially rewarding, professionally” – Alan Wells, PhD

“Attending APHA there were numerous opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, experts, and practitioners in the field of public health that can provide invaluable insights and perspectives. In addition, opportunities to exchange ideas and hear from others on the best practices, and lessons learned from diverse communities and projects.” – Alexis Hill