​The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the United States and globally.

APHL represents state and local governmental health laboratories in the United States. Its members, known as “public health labo​ra​tories,” monitor and detect health threats to protect the health and safety of Americans. Founded over 60 years ago as a forum for state public health laboratory directors, APHL brings together laboratory professionals from public health, environmental, agricultural and food safety laboratories.

US and Global Activities

APHL collaborates with laboratory and public health partners to assure effective surveillance, detection and response to health threats. It works closely with federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and execute national health initiatives. During public health emergencies, APHL operates as a coordinating center for laboratory response. 

In addition, the association works internationally to build effective national laboratory systems and expand access to quality diagnostic testing services. With over 20 years' experience in 31 countries on five continents, APHL is recognized internationally as a leader in laboratory science and practice. It supports ministries of health with consulting services in laboratory strategic planning, twinning partnerships, laboratory information management systems, quality assurance and training, among other areas.

APHL Membership

APHL’s core membership is comprised of state and local governmental health laboratories in the United States, including public health, environmental, agricultural science and food safety laboratories. Representatives from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, corporations and interested individuals also participate in the association. Total APHL membership numbers over 800.

Laboratory Science and Practice

Laboratory Systems: APHL works with local, state and federal health partners to strengthen the laboratory system in the US. The Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP) is one example of these efforts.

Public Health Informatics: APHL is a leader in development of public health laboratory informatics systems. Working with CDC, APHL stood up a laboratory information management system (LIMS) that links state public health laboratories and CDC with rapid data exchange. Now it is partnering with public health agencies to help them exchange data with CDC using APHL's AIMS platform. The association also collaborates with Ministries of Health in Southeast Asia and Africa to develop information systems to improve diagnosis, treatment and disease surveillance.

Laboratory Science: APHL advances public health laboratory diagnostics by supporting development of new methods and technologies. It also publishes protocols, guidance documents and other materials to assure the quality of laboratory testing.

Emergency Response: APHL collaborates with state, national and international health entities to respond to disease outbreaks, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other health threats. It convenes laboratories and health partners to coordinate laboratory response activities and provides technical assistance to member laboratories. In addition, APHL supports the nation’s emergency laboratory network, the Laboratory Response Network, with training, quality improvement, surge capacity and exercise planning, policy development and outreach to partners.

Research: APHL assesses the capacity and capability of US public health laboratories and shares findings in reports, briefs and other publications. It leverages this data to inform laboratory standards and practices, policy and training. 

Information/Publications: APHL publishes reports and briefs profiling developments in public health laboratory science, practice, management and training. The association also publishes a blog, quarterly magazine and e-newsletter, and is active on multiple social media channels.

Laboratory Education and Training

Laboratory Training: APHL offers high quality continuing education programs to strengthen the skills of laboratorians. Continuing education credits (PACE® and FL CE) are available for most courses. The association also sponsors training programs through the National Laboratory Training Network (NLTN), a collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Leadership Development: APHL directs the National Center for Public Health Laboratory Leadership, which fosters the development of emerging leaders and expands knowledge of public health laboratory management. The association also manages five laboratory fellowship programs. 

National Conferences: APHL convenes national conferences and colloquia on critical issues in laboratory science. Its annual meeting attracts laboratorians, health officials and health policy makers from across the US.

Public Health Policy

Federal Liaison: APHL serves as a conduit of information between US public health laboratories and federal agencies. The association also advises agencies on development and implementation of national health initiatives.

Member Resource: APHL responds to inquiries, represents members at national forums and provides guidance on federal protocols and directives.

Policy Analysis: APHL issues statements on pending legislation and regulations, provides expert testimony, comments on proposed rulemaking and disseminates educational materials on priority issues.