Summaries of 2011 APHA Policies Adopted by Governing Council in November: New Policies Address Issues Such as Contraception, Children's Access to Vision Care, PVC Exposure

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THE FOLLOWING are brief descriptions of the policies adopted by the Governing Council at APHA's 139th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Three of the policies are latebreakers, meaning they did not undergo the same review as the other 2011 policies and will serve as interim policies until reviewed by the Governing Council at its regular 2012 meeting. For more information on any of these policies, email

(Disclaimer: These brief descriptions are not comprehensive and do not include every point, statement or conclusion presented in the policies. For the full policies, visit in January.)

20111 Access to over-the-counter contraception--Calls for Medicaid coverage for over-the-counter contraceptives and for health insurers to 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 and to not require a prescription for such coverage. Also calls for government agencies to implement policies to provide federal and state Medicaid coverage for over-the-counter contraceptives.

20112 Abortion care by nurses and physician assistants--Recommends collaboration to address barriers to nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants as qualified primary care clinicians and safe providers of abortion services. Also recommends adoption of the World Health Organization's core competencies in sexual and reproductive health by public health and primary care educators and that all health care professionals work to advance reproductive justice, eliminate health disparities and improve access to abortion services.

20113 Disclosure by crisis pregnancy centers--Encourages state and local governments to require crisis pregnancy centers to disclose that the center is not a medical facility, does not perform or provide referrals for abortion and does not prescribe or provide referrals for Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception. Also urges governments to only support programs that provide medically accurate, unbiased information and to enforce existing consumer protections that prohibit deceptive practices.

20114 Musculoskeletal disorders a public health concern--Notes that musculoskeletal disorders are the most common causes of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide and calls on public health agencies to make evidence-based musculoskeletal programs and resources available to health workers. Encourages the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate education materials for special populations. Urges the further development and dissemination of evidence-based guidelines for prevention and management.

20115 Minors' access to abortion services--Urges groups working with pregnant minors to advocate that minors' access to abortion services not be made conditional on parental involvement, but also to encourage voluntary involvement of one or both parents or an adult in abortion decision-making. Encourages educating providers and the public on minors' rights to confidential reproductive and sexual health services. Urges upholding measures that ensure minors' rights to privacy in accessing abortion services.


20116 Access to children's vision care--Recommends that the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, through its Maternal and Child Health Bureau, allocate new resources to improve access and reduce barriers to comprehensive vision care services for children. Also recommends that HRSA increase resources to state health departments by expanding performance measures to better coordinate, track and evaluate state vision screening and follow-up of comprehensive examinations and treatment.

20117 Improving opportunities for young immigrants--Calls upon Congress to pass legislation such as the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act to improve access to higher education opportunities and legal immigration status for undocumented immigrant youth and young adults. …