You Are What You Do: How Behavior and Social Environment Affect Your Health

Conference on public health in the 21st century: Behavioral and social science contributions

In 2000, the American Psychological Association (APA) produced and disseminated a book entitled Integrating Behavioral and Social Sciences with Public Health, and created a Web site based on the themes and presentations of its May 1998 interdisciplinary conference.

The conference, Public Health in the 21st Century: Behavioral and Social Science Contributions, was held May 7–9, 1998 in Atlanta, Ga., and attended by more than 500 people. It brought together researchers to highlight behavioral and social science contributions to public health challenges in disease prevention and health promotion.

The conference was part of APA's longstanding effort to increase awareness of the role that individual behavior and the social environment play in health and to foster collaboration across disciplines. It was organized by the APA through a $165,000 cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); other federal agencies also provided support (see Appendix 1).

In addition, 13 professional organizations participated on the conference planning committee (see Appendix 2 for a list of members).

Key Results

Under the grant, the APA accomplished the following:

  • Published 1,000 copies of the book Integrating Behavioral and Social Sciences with Public Health in October 2000. It features 17 chapters authored by conference speakers on behavioral and social factors and community-based interventions that play a role in preventing health problems such as obesity, cancer, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and violence.
  • By February 2001, sold 625 copies of the book. The book was publicized at conferences and briefings, through the APA's Web site, and through mailings to a variety of specialized journals and professional organizations, schools of public health, institutes of the National Institute of Health, and members of Congress (see the Bibliography).
  • Created a Web site which included conference announcements and registration information, presentation abstracts and links to the Web sites of 13 organizations that helped plan the conference.

Since the conference, the abstracts have remained on the APA Web site as a reference tool.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $49,616 in funding from March 1998 to February 2001 to support the work.

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