The American Public Health Association adopted 23 policies at its 139th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in late 2011. Passed by APHA’s Governing Council, the newly adopted policies address a broad range of public health issues, from reproductive health and access to care to public health education and workforce, and implications of immigration policy on public health outcomes.

“APHA policies have guided the work of the Association and its advocacy in support of critical public health issues fordecades,” said Susan Polan, PhD, associate executive director with APHA. “While the new policies address contemporary issues, they’re still the result of a member-driven process and reflect the breadth of expertise available across the Association.”

Among the new policies is a call to improve access to over-the-counter contraception. The policy recommends Medicaid coverage for such contraceptives and that health insurers include coverage for all family planning drugs and supplies that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale over the counter. It urges that a prescription for such coverage not be required. Another policy urges reducing exposure to flexible polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, in schools, hospitals and other facilities, and another calls for a ban on consumer use of fireworks.

The Association’s policy statement development process is designed to be open to full participation by members and to ensure careful review by appropriate APHA boards, committees and other member groups. Only APHA members may submit a new policy statement proposal. The submission deadline for the 2012 policy process is Feb. 15. An “Instructions to Authors” guide is available online.

The new policies are now online and searchable in APHA’s policy database.