Celebrating What Keeps Us Safe and Healthy

National Public Health Week April 1-7, 2019
 
SPRINGFIELD – While most people think of restaurant inspections when they think of public health, there is so much more.  If you have ever used a public swimming pool, gone to a hospital, needed an ambulance, or received a flu shot, you’ve received public health services.  The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), in conjunction with 97 certified health departments across the state, works every day to control infectious diseases, ensure food safety, conduct newborn screenings, provide immunizations, regulate hospitals and nursing homes, compile birth, death, and other statistics, and educate communities on how to live healthier lives.  April 1-7, 2019 is National Public Health Week, a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the health of our nation.
 
“Public health impacts our daily lives, often in invisible ways,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Public health helps protect you from disease outbreaks caused by influenza, measles, salmonella, and many others, as well as protecting you from chronic conditions like heart disease and obesity, by providing education and programs for healthy living.  During National Public Health Week, I want to encourage people to take advantage of all that public health has to offer.”
 
Over the past year, IDPH has helped ensure the health and safety of Illinois residents in many ways.  In September 2018, IDPH requested hepatitis A vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent a hepatitis A outbreak in Illinois after numerous states, including several bordering Illinois, reported large hepatitis A outbreaks.  In October 2018, IDPH released Illinois’ first Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report that identified statewide trends in maternal deaths and provided recommendations to help prevent maternal mortality.  And in January 2019, IDPH was successful in getting rules approved that lowered the level at which public health interventions are initiated for children with lead poisoning.
 
Every year National Public Health Week has daily themes to help people live longer, healthier lives.
 
Monday, April 1: Healthy Communities
People’s health, longevity, and well-being are connected to their communities — the places we live, learn, work, worship, and play.  Ways to help improve community health include helping employers organize flu shot clinics, partnering with transportation planners to expand safe biking and walking opportunities, or working with environmental justice groups to reach particularly vulnerable residents.  
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Tuesday, April 2: Violence Prevention
Between 2015-2016, the U.S. was home to more than 27,000 homicides and nearly 45,000 suicides involving guns.  About one in four women and one in nine men experience some form of intimate partner violence, and one out of every six American women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape. In 2016, 676,000 victims of child abuse and neglect were reported to local officials.  Ways to reduce violence include urging policymakers to provide research funding that is on par with the nation’s gun violence epidemic, working with local colleges and universities on ways to prevent sexual violence, and learning about community-based strategies for creating the kinds of safe, stable, and nurturing environments that help prevent child abuse and neglect.  
 
Wednesday, April 3:  Rural Health
Rural communities face a range of health disparities, from higher burdens of chronic disease to limited access to primary care and prevention services.  When compared to people living in urban areas, rural Americans face a greater risk of death from the five leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke.  Suggested actions include supporting telemedicine, school-based health centers, and other efforts that connect rural residents to medical and supportive services.
 
Thursday, April 4: Technology and Public Health
New technologies are quickly transforming the public health landscape.  National health officials use GIS mapping to track a range of serious health conditions — such as diabetes, heart disease and HIV — and use that information to deepen our understanding of the social determinants of health.  In the nation’s public health labs, workers use state-of-the-art technology to rapidly detect, trace, and contain disease outbreaks.  To help continue this trend, support is needed to fund public health at levels that allow the field’s workers to leverage the latest technology on behalf of population health.
 
Friday, April 5: Climate Change
Climate change is linked to more frequent and extreme natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding, and drought; is expected to negatively impact food security, water and air quality; and exacerbates the risks of vector-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease.  Support public health by calling for adequate funding to monitor, prepare for, and responds to the health effects of climate change. 
 
Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7:  Global Health
The health of the U.S. and the world's health are fundamentally connected.  Across the world, communities still struggle with preventable and often-neglected diseases.  You can help by supporting U.S. funding for global public health efforts, such as USAID's global health programs in maternal and child health, family planning, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and health systems strengthening, and CDC's work to advance the Global Health Security Agenda.  
 
More information about National Public Health Week can be found at http://nphw.org/.