The Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS) is a scientific organization with a commitment to making science count. IAPHS members are scientists and population health practitioners who are interested in advancing both the science of population health and the translation of this science to improve the health of population.
IAPHS has three primary goals. First, we are concerned with advancing population health science. Second, we aim to improve population health by promoting the communication and application of science. Third, we aim to support population health scientists in their careers, towards the end of building a robust pipeline of scholars who will be the population health scientists of the future.
IAPHS views population health as the health outcomes of groups and the distribution of such outcomes within groups. We are centrally concerned with health within geographic and politically-defined communities, as well as within subgroups characterized by age, socioeconomic status, or race/ethnicity, among other factors. However, IAPHS recognizes that the promotion of population health requires the bridging of population and individual health concerns, bringing together population health science and clinical medicine. IAPHS has a strong interest in being a bridge between these perspectives, creating opportunities for dialogue between health care leaders and population health scientists.
The concept of diversity is central to the identity of IAPHS. We welcome individuals who will bring diversity of all kinds to the organization, recognizing that this makes us stronger and better equipped to address current health issues and challenges and anticipate emerging health challenges. We welcome people of all disciplines, sectors, and career stages, and those with varying life experiences and perspectives based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and abilities. To create a space where we can debate science and its implications openly, we invite a variety of political and cultural perspectives.
IAPHS aims to be a pragmatic organization, concerned with the advancement and dissemination of science. In line with an interest in connecting upstream and downstream determinants of health, a major strength of IAPHS is the integration of research across the social, behavioral, and biological sciences. IAPHS embraces a big tent approach that includes a wide range of the basic and applied disciplines – from biology to anthropology, from epidemiology to health education, from medicine to social work, and from urban planning to transportation engineering. We define science broadly as any and all activities that involve a disciplined approach to producing generalizable knowledge through observation and/or experimentation. This can include the neuroscientist trying to understand how stress responses reduce immunity to disease, the historian studying the evolution of food systems, or the architect investigating how building design can affect health. IAPHS also seeks to advance the evidence base for improving population health. It aspires to engage thoughtfully with those who will be using population health science and welcome them into our tent.
Aiming to operationalize its goals, IAPHS works in three principal domains.
First, IAPHS advances the science of population health by convening interdisciplinary conferences that connect population health scientists from across disciplines with public health professionals and policy makers. These conferences provide forums for scientists to learn how to make their research agendas more responsive to needs “on the ground” and for professionals to keep up with the latest insights and data.
Second, IAPHS communicates consistently about state-of-the-field population health science through its blog, website, newsletters, and social media. These electronic communications deepen the connections that are generated by in-person meetings and offer ongoing opportunities for dialogue, discussion, and debate that can advance the field. This way, we can share a variety of perspectives about population health science, strategies to improve population health, and tools for population health scientists. We welcome authors who will challenge readers’ thinking, and debate and controversy that is grounded in a scientific approach to the issues.
Third, IAPHS provides mentoring, training, and other forms of professional development for emerging scientists, both aiming to create a solid pipeline of emerging scientists interested in the advancing population health as a value and helping emerging scientists embrace communicating their research to audiences that can make use of the findings as a core part of their mission.
IAPHS is primarily a scientific organization. In its meetings and digital conversations, IAPHS fosters a critical and respectful exchange of views on scientific methods, theory, and evidence standards. It encourages debate that is constructively targeted towards increasing understanding across different ideological and disciplinary perspectives, thus creating a foundation for cross-fertilization, collaboration, and better science. The IAPHS Board will advocate for science and will stand for policies related to population health for which the evidence is clear-cut. As a 501(c)(3) organization, it will not engage in partisan campaign politics. However, at times it may choose to take data-informed positions that are viewed very differently across political parties.
This is the Board’s vision for IAPHS: a scientific organization committed to engaging the essential role of translation in creating a science of consequence, welcoming a diverse membership which can offer a wide range of perspectives, skills, and experiences, and integrating these strengths to build a better scientific foundation for population health improvement. We welcome your comments and invite you to join us.