Public Health Week

April 6-12 is National Public Health Week. We believe it’s important to remind people about the benefits of a strong public health system, and not because we want to pat our own backs. But in a time of shrinking budgets, and in a country with a healthcare system in crisis, public health needs community support and that of our legislators.

Here are some public health facts from the American Public Health Association:

“Although we spend more on health care than any other nation, our nation is falling behind in many important measures of what it means to be healthy:

* U.S. life expectancy has reached a record high of 78.1 years but still ranks 46 th — behind Japan and most of Europe, as well as countries such as Guam, South Korea and Jordan.
* A baby born in the United States is more likely to die before its first birthday than a child born in almost any other developed country. Among developed nations, only Latvia has a higher death rate for newborns than the United States.
* We’re among the top 10 countries that have the most people with HIV/AIDS, and it is estimated that one in 20 residents in the nation’s capital are HIV-positive.
* Disparities persist with ethnic minority populations having nearly eight times the death rate for key health conditions, such as diabetes, than that of non-minority populations.

And the list goes on. Despite the dramatic progress achieved through a century of public health advancements — the elimination of polio, fluoridation of drinking water and seatbelt laws — our nation’s health falls far short of its potential. Our progress has stalled, and we have reached a point where we must examine our health system and the foundation upon which it stands.

We have the potential to greatly improve our population’s health in the future. By recommitting ourselves to support our nation’s public health system, we can build on the successes of the past and establish the solid foundation needed for a healthy nation.”

We must educate our community members so they can be a positive voice of support for public health. Working together, we can build the foundation for a healthy America.

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