2025 Annual Conference

Waves of Change: Embracing Diversity and Technology for Equity and Wellness

SOPHE’s 76th Annual Conference will be held in Long Beach, CA from April 16-18, 2025. Fresh off the momentum of St. Louis, we look to continue our 75th anniversary with a robust conference celebrating all who play a role in the health education profession.

This conference celebrates SOPHE’s 75 years of growth, achievement, and impact, yet calls for a future focus on health education’s strategic role in addressing global public health crises. Historic winds and waves of change in political, legal, social, and other structures are impacting the environment, mental health, violence, and many other areas of society—threatening our goal of achieving the highest standard of health as a fundamental right of all people. A knowledgeable, skilled health education workforce is needed to lead the public and private sectors in addressing social determinants of health, social justice, and health equity. Professional preparation and training programs also must ensure that health education specialists are equipped with the technological, multi-media and communication skills to develop, implement, and evaluate effective program interventions to reach diverse multi-cultural populations. At this pivotal moment in SOPHE’s history, we must build on the lessons learned from the pandemic and other public health crises to chart a new path for a healthier, more equitable, and vibrant future for all populations.

The theme for the conference is “Waves of Change: Embracing Diversity and Technology for Equity and Wellness,” and the tracks are:

Leadership, Mentoring, and Training the Next Workforce

This track focuses on the critical role that leadership and mentoring plays in shaping the next generation of health education professionals. This track will explore effective strategies and best practices for training and developing emerging talent, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and designing effective mentorship programs that empower individuals to reach their full potential in health education/promotion. Abstracts are encouraged that present innovative approaches for building the health education leadership pipeline and essential competencies for academia, research and practice; ideas for workforce recruitment, diversity, and retention; advocacy skills to address the dynamic political environment; and successful coaching and mentoring programs.

Social Justice and Health Equity

Social justice and health equity are at the core of essential public health services and are foundational principles of the health education profession. The pandemic exposed persistent problems in health disparities and laid bare ways that pervasive racism continues to thwart progress in achieving health equity and social justice for all. This track encourages abstracts that focus on partnerships and collaborations for social justice; new approaches to advocacy and dismantling inequitable policies and structures affecting races, ethnicities, genders, and LBGTQ+ populations; innovative ways for training social justice advocates; and examples of equitable health policies and programs that increase prevention, early detection, and treatment of health issues. Abstracts that address health education and health promotion pedagogy, research and practice in cross-cultural, international, and global environments also are encouraged.

Technology and Communications

Technology and the advent of infodemiology (i.e., uses of internet-related content for improving public health) is driving the practice of health education/health promotion in the 21st century. The widespread use of cell phones, text messaging, mobile apps, websites, and more recently the use of artificial intelligence (AI) have transformed the training, roles, and practices of health educators and communicators. While social media sites have exploded our capacity to reach millions of people with health messages and advice, they also have promulgated harmful, misinformation and disinformation at a time when many individuals lack essential health literacy and numeracy skills. This conference track encourages abstracts on the teaching, research and practice of infodemiology, including new skills and competencies needed by health educators to mitigate mis/disinformation wherever it is found and keep pace with rapid technical advances; the impacts and interventions to prevent and mitigate social isolation, loneliness, anxiety and mental health linked to social media; ethical issues within organizational policies and procedures related to AI including issues in health communication; and the impact of health communication and technology on inclusion and equity across populations and strategies to fight mis/disinformation.

Program Planning and Evaluation

Program planning and evaluation are essential pieces of successful public health practice. This track will explore best practices for objective definition, strategic engagement, evidence-based activity selection, intervention sustainability, cross-collaborative communication, and implementation in assessment, planning, and implementation. Abstracts also are encouraged that address evaluation-related strategies, such as stakeholder engagement, evaluation design, qualitative and quantitative reporting methodology, quality improvement, data visualization, and storytelling. Given Long Beach is a hub of creative arts and culture, abstracts are also welcome on integration and impact of art, murals, music, poetry and other forms of human expression in health education pedagogy, research, and practice.

Call for abstracts and registration will both open in late August.