What’s a small way to pack a big research punch? Poster sessions at APHA’s Annual Meeting and Expo allow attendees to take in research on a wide variety of topics, while allowing researchers to get their findings in front of many eyes. In just a few steps, visitors to Annual Meeting poster sessions, located inside the Public Health Expo hall, can easily run the public health gamut, from maternal health to physical activity to health equity. For attendees, there’s a whole world to explore in the meeting’s poster sessions.

For some far-flung research, presenter Janna Ataiants, a predoctoral fellow at the National Development and Research Institutes, offered her findings on the options offered to pregnant opioid-addicted women in Russia. While methadone has been approved for treating opioid addiction in pregnant women around the world, including in the U.S., the option is banned in Russia, so pregnant women are offered alternative options — and none are good.

For example, drug cessation, or quitting cold-turkey, can be extremely dangerous, and women who relapse are at a higher risk for overdose. Treatment at in-patient rehab facilities also pushes abstinence, and most clinics will not take in a patient who is pregnant, so women are forced to hide their pregnancies and end up missing out on crucial prenatal care. And harm-reduction options suggest that women continue to use dangerous opioids through their pregnancies, which Ataiants calls “the least of all evils. It’s a struggle between bad and worse.”

Ataiants said she hopes her research will inspire members of the international medical community to emphasize the importance of medication treatment for opioid-addicted pregnant women among Russian medical officials, noting that it could save countless women’s lives and ensure safer, healthier pregnancies.

“They’re trying to be good mothers,” she said. “For some, it’s a fresh start, but (a woman trying to stop using) has nothing to support her medically.”

In the U.S., researchers are also looking at maternal and child health. Kecia Ellick, a second-year PhD student in the Department of Family Sciences at the University of Maryland-College Park, explored how mothers’ attachment styles affect child behavior outcomes in teen-parent families. She pointed out that many studies on children’s behavior outcomes and parenting attachment styles only look at parents who are adults. However, teen parents — who themselves are still growing — are often overlooked.

“The teen mother still is a developing individual,” Ellick said. “We have to focus on her continued psycho-social development.”

Just a few rows down, Chisom Onyeuku, of the Georgia Department of Health, was presenting research he did at the University of South Carolina on the connection between lifestyle, physical activity and diet and breast cancer risk. Looking specifically at physical activity, Onyeuku found a startling connection: that young black women who exercised the most had the greatest instance of developing breast cancer. And as one might expect, women 65 and older of all races who exercised regularly throughout their lives had the lowest instances of breast cancer.

But there’s more to findings than one can fit on a single poster, Onyeuku pointed out. He noted that black women are more likely to have aggressive forms of breast cancer and are more likely to die from the disease. Therefore, he suggested, “they may be more active because they have seen a friend or relative with breast cancer.”

Poster sessions are often the first step for researchers hoping to get their work published, and for Onyeuku, that’s the next goal. His research could help build on the previous literature and then more conclusive findings could offer better types of interventions for black women, he said.

While you can learn a lot from reading a poster, you really get the most out of the poster sessions by striking up a conversation with the presenters. So attend some poster sessions — they’re held all throughout the Annual Meeting — and get to know the people behind the research. You’ll definitely learn something new.