Sewell Stipend to Attend the APHA Annual Meeting 2014 Call for Applicants

We are accepting applications for 2014 Sewell Stipends. The deadline is July 24, 2014.

History and Purpose of the Sewell Fund

The late Dr. Winifred Sewell worked with several professional associations during her long career in medical and pharmacy librarianship/information technology. This led to her appreciation of the key role that librarians and information professionals can play in raising the quality of health care. Convinced that interacting with public health and pharmacy colleagues would forge a much deeper understanding of the users’ roles and needs, she established the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund, Inc. (The Fund) to provide financial support to librarians and information providers who plan to attend the annual meetings of the American Public Health Association and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

The Fund aims to increase librarians’ effectiveness at providing reliable/relevant information to health care professionals in the fields of public health and pharmacy. To achieve this purpose, the Fund awards reimbursement funds to librarians and other information professionals to defray association membership/registration/travel and per diem expenses of attending and/or participating in activities of the American Public Health Association (APHA).

Type and Number of Stipends for 2014
Important Criteria for Federal Employees
Application Forms
Statement Content
Application Scoring
Post-conference activities
Contact Information for Questions
Sewell FAQs

Type and Number of Stipends for 2014

This year’s APHA meeting will take place in New Orleans, LA from November 15-19, 2014. Its theme is Healthography: How Where You Live Affects Your Health and Well-Being. For more information on the meeting see APHA’s website.

Stipends will be awarded to:

  • At least eight individuals traveling significant distances (i.e. not living in the New Orleans area) will each receive a stipend of at least $1,180.
  • At least two individuals living in the New Orleans area (and therefore needing less travel and accommodation funding) will receive stipends of at least $685. This amount covers the APHA Membership at $200 and Early Bird (pre-August 28, 2014) Member Registration at $485.

Please note, this stipend WILL NOT cover the full costs of attendance, it merely helps to offset some of the costs.


The applicant must

  • have an MLS/MLIS or equivalent degree or extensive experience in providing community-based information services.
  • indicate interest or involvement in public health practice.
  • be a United States citizenship or possession of a legal “green card”

Among the other eligibility criteria that will be considered:

  • Current or intended work with public health practitioners
  • Demonstrated interest in working with public health practitioners
  • Recent MLS/MLIS graduation and assumption of a position in an enterprise that provides significant information services to public health practitioners
  • Availability of other funding. The applicant should estimate the amount of funding his/her institution will provide and indicate that on the application form
  • Identification of a mentor for the meeting or documentation of efforts towards identifying one.  Mentors should be public health professionals, preferably from the applicant’s workplace.  See the Sewell FAQs on the PHHA blog for more information about the mentoring requirement.

Important Criteria for Federal Employees

  • The Sewell Stipend is usually issued as a refund check to the recipient after the conference ends.  Federal employees are generally prohibited from receiving funds in this manner.  Before applying for the stipend ask your supervisor whether or not you are allowed to accept the stipend.  If required, we can issue the check to the agency that employs you rather than directly to you.  Please provide a letter on agency letterhead from your supervisor saying you may apply and include to whom the check would be issued along with a mailing address.

Application Forms

Submit following materials in one Word document:

  • A completed application form (Word Format) NOTE: Problems with downloading this form have been reported when using IE 8. Please upgrade to a newer version or use another browser for best results.
  • A statement of 250-500 words (approximately 1 page) explaining interest/purpose in applying for the stipend.
  • A current Curriculum Vitae (in Word format)

Assign the file a name that begins with your name or initials so we can easily identify your application – e.g., bfolb-stipend 2014 application.doc

Statement Content

Your statement should address

  • Anticipated future use of the knowledge/connections gained from attending
  • Proposed mentor and what may be gained from mentorship and/or presentations you will give/moderate at the meeting
  • Interest/previous activity in the area of public health or assumption of a new position in an enterprise providing significant information services to public health practitioners, such as a library, information center, community center or local health jurisdiction
  • Proposed use of the stipend by the recipient. (Note: The stipend may be used for travel, hotel stay, food, conference registration fee, or related expenses, e.g., poster preparation).

Application Scoring

  • Applications are scored independently by each of the committee members and then total results are tabulated. Scores are based on how well the applicant addresses the areas required in the application and how well they indicate they will be able to fulfill the requirements of attendance.  The application instructions include more details on scoring criteria that should help you in writing your essay.


June 24, 2014:The Call for Stipend Applications will be released by this date.
July 24, 2014: All application materials must be emailed and received by Barbara Folb
August 7, 2014:Committee will begin notifying applicants of the success of their applications.
August 28, 2014: Deadline for Early Bird Registration for APHA meeting. Applicants should have registered by this date.
November 15 – 19, 2014: APHA Annual Meeting
November 26, 2014: Two page summary paper must be received by Barbara Folb by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. (note quick turn around time, due to late date of the conference this year and Thanksgiving. We are trying to get the reimbursement request to MLA before December 1)
December 17, 2014: First draft of the newsletter article will be ready to be made available for comment/edits by all stipend recipients.
January 9, 2014:Final draft of edited newsletter article will be submitted to the editor of PHHA Blog.


During the conference, recipients are required to:

  • Attend the national meeting for at least three (3) full days, including as many of the scientific sessions as time permits. Sunday, the first day of the meeting, constitutes one full day.
  • Attend the stipend recipients’ orientation meeting at APHA, held before the General Opening Session on Sunday. Attendance at this meeting is required of both new and returning stipend recipients. It enables you to meet other stipend recipients and learn about the organization of the APHA from the librarian/information provider perspective and about current information projects in which you may want to participate. Returning stipend recipients can meet and mentor/network with new stipend recipients. You will be notified of the exact time and place by email before the conference.
  • Attend the New [APHA] Members Orientation (Sunday 3:30-5:30 pm)
  • Optional, but encouraged: Stipend recipients are invited to attend an evening of dining together with Client Relations Committee members, who select Sewell stipend recipients, and other librarians at the conference.
  • Shadow your mentor at the meeting to at least one or two meetings of interest to him/her.  Your mentor should be a public health professional, ideally from your own institution, or as a second choice, from another institution, but working in a public health field of interest to you.  See the FAQ for more information on mentoring.
  • Take part in at least one of the following activities
    • Staff a booth at the Public Health Exposition for your institution, an APHA section, or other organization.
    • Moderate a scientific session (must plan ahead in order to be a moderator)
    • Give a talk/presentation/poster
    • NOTE: while presentations for the conference are already set, sections are frequently in need of help manning their booths, and moderators may still be needed for sessions. The section chairs can direct you to volunteer opportunities.

Post-conference activities

After the conference, recipients are required to:

  • Submit a two-page summary to the Client Relations Committee outlining:
    • Scientific sessions you attended
    • Lessons learned from your attendance at the sessions
    • Kind of contacts you made and how you intend to cultivate this new network of practitioners
    • Issues, problems, items of interest, experiences, suggestions that you’d like to share with the Committee or other members of the Public Health/Health Administration (PH/HA) section of the Medical Library Association (MLA.)

The essays submitted will be edited into one article by a volunteer from the stipend recipients. This article will be posted to the PH/HA blog.

Contact Information for Questions

These members of the Client Relations Committee may be reached via email:

Have more questions?  See the Sewell FAQs

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