While APHA Annual Meeting attendees are working hard to improve the public’s health, APHA is looking out for the health and well-being of public health practitioners.

“It just makes sense that, as a public health association, we would focus on the overall wellness of our attendees,” said Cynthia Zhu, APHA’s meetings and exhibits coordinator.

Zhu coordinates the APHA Annual Meeting Wellness Center, which is located in the San Diego Convention Center’s Sails Pavilion and will offer meeting attendees a full schedule of daily activities on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Sponsored by AARP, Wellness Center activities include walking groups, relaxation games, meditation, stretching, chair massages and, of course, everyone’s favorite, the APHA Dance Party! In fact, the dance party has become so popular in recent years that we’re expanding from a short flash mob to an hourlong party with a DJ and refreshments.

“Our 10- to 15-minute flash mob dance routine of the past wasn’t enough for our attendees, who love to dance!” said Angelica Walker, APHA meetings and marketing coordinator. So, mark your social calendars: the APHA Dance Party takes place on Sunday, Nov. 11, 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Lobby C of the San Diego Convention Center. And you still have time to learn the group dance moves on APHA’s YouTube channel.

Of course, dancing is also a great way to log steps for the APHA 2018 Steps Challenge. “We want to encourage attendees to sign on and ‘walk the walk’ literally and help us reach our goal of 8 million steps during this year’s Annual Meeting,” said Zhu. And because we’re in sunny, walkable San Diego, the opportunities for logging those steps outside the convention center are endless.

The convention center itself features four miles of waterfront walking and jogging paths just outside its back terraces, as well as 16-plus blocks of the historic Gaslamp Quarter just a few steps from its front doors. The Little Italy neighborhood sits just to the north of the convention center, the trendy East Village to the south, Barrio Logan’s 7.4-acre Chicano Park to the east, and the sands of Coronado Island to the west. Plus, Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo are just a trolley ride away. As is becoming Annual Meeting tradition, the APHA Steps Challenge is the perfect excuse to take a break and explore our host city.

The Steps Challenge officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, and ends at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Participants can connect any activity-tracking device to the MoveSpring health platform to begin. Winners in the Walkers and Runners categories will be notified by email.

Brand new this year, we’re pleased to offer an additional wellness space, APHA’s Zen Room, in the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Green Room, where people can relax and participate in acupressure sessions on Monday and Tuesday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and enjoy reiki on Monday. Visit our Wellness Center page for a full list of activities and to sign up for the APHA Steps Challenge or look up the APHA Wellness Center schedule using the APHA 2018 mobile app.