National Public Health Week: “Changing Our Future Together”
By Sadie Hagberg
Each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) sponsors National Public Health Week. Today, April 2, kicks off the week-long celebration aimed at starting conversations and engaging communities to create a healthier nation. As an APHA member, I wanted to share this important initiative, as it impacts not only our personal and work lives, but also the work we do at New Editions for many of our clients in supporting healthy lives. This year’s theme, “Changing Our Future Together,” represents the important role we each play in creating a healthier nation.
Each day of the week, the APHA focuses on a different public health topic working toward a healthier nation, including behavioral health, communicable disease, environmental health, injury and violence prevention, and ensuring the right to health. This is the week to think about not only how you can live a healthier life, but also how you can help make your community healthier. The daily themes below were developed by the APHA based on public health research, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and policies supported by the APHA.
Monday, April 2: Behavioral Health, learn about and promote well-being.
Addiction, mental illness, and suicide are all behavioral health issues facing our society. Did you know that the opioid addiction epidemic is driving the decline in the average American life expectancy?
What you can do: You can learn about addiction as a chronic and preventable disease. Only about 10% of people who need addiction treatment actually get it, and policy can make a difference. Learn about the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines, and the suicide warning signs.
Tuesday, April 3: Communicable Disease, learn about ways to prevent disease transmission.
Prevention is the key to keeping most of the world’s communicable diseases under control. It requires a strong public health system, access to medical and preventative care, and responsibility on the individual level.
What you can do: Learn how to keep yourself and your community safe from communicable disease. Find and read resources on flu immunizations, hand-washing, and sexually transmitted diseases. And keep yourself and your families immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases — have you had your flu shot?
Wednesday, April 4: Environmental Health, help to protect and maintain a healthy planet.
Air pollution, lead poisoning, and mercury build-up are all environmental factors that can impact our health. The environment impacts our food, water, air, disease risk, and even mental well-being. According to the APHA, it’s one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century.
What you can do: Environmental health is very closely tied to policy, such as laws that keep our air and water clean or protect us from toxic chemicals. You can support policies that prevent harmful environmental exposures. Also, learn more about environmental injustice from the NAACP Environmental Justice Program.
Thursday, April 5: Injury and Violence Prevention, learn about the effects of injury and violence on health.
Did you know that in 2016 preventable, unintentional injuries became the nation’s third leading cause of death? Motor vehicle deaths and pedestrian deaths have all spiked in recent years, as have fatal occupational injuries. And roughly 96 people per dayare killed by gun violence. While this may seem like an overwhelming and unchangeable problem, there are definitely things you can do to help keep yourself and your community safe.
What you can do: To start, there are two incredibly simple things you can do – you should always buckle your seatbelt in the car, and always use a crosswalk. And don’t be afraid to remind your family and friends to do the same! You can also take steps to help protect your community by learning how to prevent sexual violence and prevent child abuse and neglect. This includes prevention strategies like improving safety at school.
Friday, April 6: Ensuring the Right to Health, advocate for everyone’s right to a healthy life.
Everyone deserves the opportunity and right to live a healthy life. Ensuring the right to health means ensuring access to affordable, quality insurance coverage. Our communities should promote our health, not threaten our health.
What you can do: You can be an advocate for health – your health and the health of others. Call and write to your federal, state, and local representatives in support of policies that positively impact people’s health.
If we each take some time to think about these issues influencing public health, we can work together to build healthier communities. For more information and other ways you can be involved visit:
Sadie Hagberg is the assistant project manager working on the AbleData and ICDR contracts. She is responsible for programmatic tasks related to AbleData call center operations and database maintenance, ensuring the quality of all AbleData products. She also manages AbleData’s social media accounts and blog series. She coordinates with ICDR working groups and prepares reports and newsletters for the ICDR membership. Sadie joined New Editions in 2011 and has a BA in English from the University of Mary Washington.