APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health.
We all deserve access to a culture of health – living as long as you can, as well as you can and having a short but glorious ending. It also means having a system in place that ensures we can all achieve it.' – APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD.
Improve the health of the public and achieve equity in health status
Create the healthiest nation in one generation
Our values reflect the beliefs of our members from all disciplines of public health and over 40 countries.
Our strategic plan
Strategic plan summary
APHA publishes the American Journal of Public Health and The Nation's Health newspaper. At our Annual Meeting & Exposition, thousands of people share the latest public health research. We lead public awareness campaigns such as Get Ready and National Public Health Week. Together, we are creating the healthiest nation in one generation.
Get involved. Join us in discussing the latest news and research, sharing best practices and advocating for the health of all people.
The American Public Health Association was founded in 1872 at a time when scientific advances were helping to reveal the causes of communicable diseases. These discoveries laid the foundation for the public health profession and for the infrastructure to support our work.
From our inception, APHA was dedicated to improving the health of all U.S. residents. Our founders recognized that two of the Association’s most important functions were advocacy for adoption by the government of the most current scientific advances relevant to public health, and public education on how to improve community health. Along with these efforts, we have also campaigned for developing well-organized health departments at both the federal and local levels.
Issues we champion
In the years since our founding, APHA has continued to search for and support those policies and practices that are most likely to improve the health of the public. We have played a prominent advocacy role on many issues, including assuring the availability of clean air and water, creating a safe and nutritious food supply, guiding people to adopt healthy lifestyles, monitoring the environment for adverse effects on human health, guaranteeing comprehensive and appropriate maternal and child health services, expediting the full immunization of the population against vaccine-preventable diseases, facilitating the development of safe work environments and expanding access to quality, affordable health care and preventive health services.
We continue to seek solutions to public health issues and concerns as they arise. Our headquarters, located in Washington, D.C., provides ready access to the country's major policymakers for our advocacy and public policy efforts. Our 54 Affiliates, including those in all 50 states plus regional Affiliates in northern and southern California, New York City and metropolitan Washington, D.C., serve to connect us with public health issues at the local level. Included among our members are individuals from scores of disciplines who contribute to public health practice. The large majority of our members pursue their interests through one or more of our many Sections and Special Primary Interest Groups.
In 1966, at our 94th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, we sponsored an initial meeting of delegates from 13 different foreign counterpart associations that led to the establishment of the World Federation of Public Health Associations in 1967, convening a group of delegates representing 32 national public health associations during the World Health Assembly in Geneva with 16 core member associations. APHA is an active member of the federation, through which we are involved in public health concerns of more than 70 member countries. We also actively participate in the activities of the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.
In addition to developing and advocating for public health policies and programs, we engage in a number of other activities, including supporting the enhancement of the scientific base of public health through reports of our members' research activities at our meetings.
APHA has played a major role in providing continuing education for all public health workers through accredited educational sessions and programs.
We publish the American Journal of Public Health, which is a refereed journal, and books, issue briefs and monographs on public health issues. We keep our members informed about major health-related issues through our award-winning newspaper, The Nation's Health, Public Health Newswire, APHA Connect, e-newsletters, social media and more.
We are currently focusing our efforts on ensuring the right to health and health care, creating health equity and building public health infrastructure and capacity. We actively work to enhance collaboration with other professional organizations and develop public-private partnerships to help solve public health problems.
Each year in April, APHA serves as the organizer of National Public Health Week and develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners during the week about issues related to the theme. NPHW is celebrated in every state and we create organizing and outreach materials that can be used during and after the week to advance public health issues.
In 2006, we launched the Get Ready campaign to help Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards. The campaign includes a blog, fact sheets, podcasts and more.
Create the healthiest nation in one generation
The United States spends more on health care than any other country, yet we don' have much to show for it. A recent study ranked us last among 11 developed nations on measures like access to doctors, quality of care and living healthy lives. Our infant mortality rate is high. Measles cases have made a recent comeback due to confusion about the importance of vaccination. Many people live in communities where the healthy choice is not the easy choice.
APHA strives to change that through science-based advocacy and programs. The best policies and practices are based on research, with evidence that shows what works. The best innovations come from testing of new ideas and approaches.
Already, our efforts have helped lead to meaningful health reform and the regulation of tobacco products so fewer people start smoking and more have access to the tools they need to quit. Our members are involved at the ground level in bringing healthier foods to schoolchildren and making communities safer places to live, work and play.
Clean air and water, vaccines that prevent disease, food inspectors who ensure a safe food supply and seat belt laws that reduce traffic deaths - public health makes a difference. APHA makes sure the collective public health voice is heard loud and clear.
We have a lot of work to do when it comes to improving the nation's health. We need your voice to help us meet the challenge. Join us in realizing our vision of creating the healthiest nation in one generation.
These values have propelled us forward for nearly 150 years, leading to our greatest public health achievements. Today, these values form the foundation of the new APHA.Community
We are a 'home' for people who share a commitment to population health. We believe we have greater potential for impact when we create community to solve problems, share new ideas and explore different perspectives.Science and evidence-based decisionmaking
The best policies and practices are ones based on research, with evidence that demonstrates effectiveness. The best innovations come from testing new ideas and approaches.Health equity
We believe in conditions that give everyone the opportunity to reach their best health. This requires valuing all individuals and populations equally. It means addressing inequities in the places where people are born, grow, live, work, learn and age. When will we know we have succeeded? When health disparities are eliminated.Prevention and wellness
Preventing disease and injury, mitigating the impact of disasters through preparedness and ensuring an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice are worthwhile investments that lead to an overall improved human condition.Real progress in improving health
Our effort must result in forward movement in health impact. Sometimes that is a leap forward. Other times it's small steps. But always, it is real progress.
- We convene the pre-eminent meeting of public health professionals each year to discuss the latest research and share new ideas and best practices.
- We bring all disciplines of public health together so they can work together on issues cutting across many areas of public health.
- We publish a research journal and a monthly newspaper. We issue reports and hold meetings, webinars and social media gatherings throughout the year.
- We provide a collective voice to advocate at the federal level for laws and regulations that will advance the public’s health.
- We advocate for funding for critical public health programs from maternal and child health to bioterrorism preparedness to prevention of heart disease, diabetes and injuries.
- We provide educational opportunities so professionals can maintain their certifications and expand their areas of expertise.
- We believe in health equity and access to care for everyone in every community.
- We promote “health in all policies” by building partnerships, coalitions and connections with people outside the public health community such as community planners, transportation, K-12 education and other areas that can have a profound impact on public health.
- We champion prevention as both an effective and cost-efficient path to improved health and wellness.
- Get involved with APHA’s movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation.