two attendees talking with woman at LGBT booth

Where can you find baskets of condoms, an animated satellite map of the changing area of arctic sea ice, cactus-shaped pens and “This is Public Health” stickers? The Public Health Expo, which offers way more than free souvenirs to bring back home after the APHA Annual Meeting.

The Expo’s exhibitors represent everything from schools and programs of public health to government agencies, health-related organizations and advocacy groups. The Public Health Law Center (booth #917) has free “I love lawyers” bumper stickers. The Houston Health Department (booth # 609) is drawing people to its exhibit with a fun prize wheel (I won a water bottle!) and while you’re there, you can find out about current job openings.

The first thing I do when hitting the Expo is visit my alma mater’s exhibit and pick up a sticker for my name badge (Go, Gators!). Anyone interested in pursuing a public health degree can find information about a wealth of college and university programs. And their swag is fun and useful. Thank you, Howard University Master of Public Health Program (booth #352) for the handy eyeglass cleaner. And while picking up a cow-shaped stress ball from Virginia Tech’s booth (#346), I found out their MPH program is housed within the college of veterinary medicine. That’s One Health in action!

Among all the Expo’s public health delights, you can relieve some stress by painting at the Walden University booth (#322) and learn more about digital storytelling from the guys with LiveStories (booth #1017). And pick up their punny stickers, especially the one shaped like a peach because we’re in Georgia. A whiteboard at the American Institutes for Research booth (#1412) asks visitors to answer “What Does Public Health Mean to You?” People are giving some great answers.

For all you social media fans, there’s a new contest this year called #APHAPLAY2017. Prize winners will be announced daily.

Be sure to visit Everything APHA at the back center of the Expo Hall. Not only can you fill out and post a sticky note letting us know what climate change solutions you’re putting in place, you can have your professional headshot photo taken at the APHA Membership booth, purchase books and T-shirts at APHA Press, and peruse information on Generation Public Health and every APHA Section.

And honestly, the poster sessions are a must-see. Researchers are on hand to tell you about the snapshots of their studies on everything from diabetes to physical activity among people with disabilities to the nutritional value of chocolate (that definitely needs more study). Check them out along the right-hand side of the Expo Hall.

The Expo is open Monday and Tuesday 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. It’s not open on Wednesday this year, so plan ahead. You really don’t want to miss it.

Above, the APHA LGBT Caucus of Public Health Professionals welcomes visitors to their booth at the Public Health Expo. Photo by Michele Late, courtesy The Nation’s Health