CORVALLIS, Ore. - Topics ranging from water fluoridation to prenatal care issues to the Oregon Health Plan will be discussed at the Oregon Public Health Association Conference Oct. 8-9 at Oregon State University's LaSells Stewart Center.

Two keynote speakers will be featured at this year's conference. Richard Jackson, M.D., is professor at the University of California at Los Angeles and host of the PBS series, "Designing Healthy Communities." In the past decade, much of his work has focused on how the "built environment" affects health. Jackson speaks at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8.

Bruce Goldberg, M.D., is a family physician who is helping to lead Oregon's health care transformation as director of the Oregon Health Authority. Goldberg will speak at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9.

"So often conversations about health focus on providing medical care to individuals," Goldberg said. "But if people leave their doctor's office and go back to their community where nutritious food is not available, there are no sidewalks for walking, and the air is polluted, their health will suffer."

In addition to the keynote talks, more than 80 presentations on key functional areas of public health and discussion forums will be held. Sessions will cover a wide variety of topics, including tobacco cessation and policies, a case study of Portland's water fluoridation controversy, alcohol abuse prevention, obesity, prenatal care, contraception, and reduction of health disparities. A full schedule is at:

"This year, attention to community and built environments, as well as their impact on the long-term success of Oregon's health services reform, make the conference an especially important networking opportunity for rural and urban stakeholders, elected officials, planners and public health professionals," said Tom Eversole, president-elect of the Oregon Public Health Association and director of strategic development at OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

The conference is open to the public with a fee. News media are welcome to attend and can contact Angela Yeager or Marie Harvey.

The conference is sponsored by Conference of Local Health Officials, NorthWest Health Foundation, Oregon Health & Science University, and the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Follow the conference and annual meeting on Twitter @ORPublicHealth and the conference hashtag at #OPHA12.

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Marie Harvey, 541-737-3824