Meigs Health Today: Public Health Week
By Michelle Willard, AAB, is the Administrative Assistant/Accreditation Coordinator for the Meigs County Health Department
National Public Health Week is a health awareness event that has been backed by the American Public Health Association (APHA) since 1995.
This year, Public Health Week will be April 4-10, 2022, and the theme is “Public Health is Where You Are.” The Meigs County Health Department will celebrate not only Public Health Week, but also its recent national accreditation via the Public Health Accreditation Board with a public reception on April 6 from 9-11 a.m. at the Health Department’s Offices located at 112 E. Memorial Drive in Pomeroy. Light refreshments will be served.
Each day of Public Health Week has a theme that focuses on a different Public Health topic. This year’s daily themes are as follows:
- Racism: A Public Health Crisis (Monday)-Racism influenceswhere and how people live, the opportunities they have, and affects people’s physical and mental health. Community engagement can ensure a more equitable distribution of power and resources.
- Public Health Workforce: Essential to our Future (Tuesday)-Public health was already facing a shortage of qualified workers, and conflicts over how to manage the COVID-19 Pandemic has further weakened the public health system. Public health workers are reporting signs of mental distress due to burnout, exhaustion, and job-related harassment. A strong public health workforce is necessary to address health challenges and support programs that can help improve health outcomes in underserved communities.
- Community: Collaboration and Resilience (Wednesday)-Community encompasses every aspect of our lives because it’s where we live, work, learn, and play. Over the course of the last two years, people across the world have experienced social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation contributes to increased rates of depression, impaired immunity,and premature mortality. To make an impact on your community you can do things like join a community garden, donate time or non-perishable food to your local food pantry, join an advisory board, or encourage the local community leaders to support programs that provide areas for physical activity.
- World Health Day: Health is a Human Right (Thursday)-More than half of the world’s population has limited or non-existent access to basic health services. Many households are being pushed further into poverty due to the high out-of-pocket costs of health care. People receive different care depending on whether or not they can afford it due to an unequal and fragmented health care system. We must find ways to engage communities in speaking out against discrimination and taking action to tackle these inequalities. When we are active in accessing our own care, we can help our health systems become more efficient, which can lead to better health outcomes for everyone.
- Accessibility: Closing the Health Equity Gap (Friday)-It is important to work together to improve the health of people by reducing health disparities in health insurance, increasing accessibility to appropriate health care, and promoting healthy living.
- Climate Change: Taking Action for Equity (Saturday)-Climate change creates a series of public health threats. Rising global temperatures create heatwaves that increase the risk for heat stroke and cardiovascular issues, as well as, increasing the range of disease carrying insects. An increase in greenhouse gas emissions makes the air quality worse, which can cause a rise inrespiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. Drought can increase the likelihood of wildfires, which reduces air quality. More intense storms can lead to flooding that causes property damage, mold growth, water contamination, food scarcity, anxiety, injury and death.
- Mental Wellness: Redefining the Meaning of Health (Sunday)-Mental health is a critical part of public health because it consists of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Each year, one in five Americans will experience some form of mental illness, which can affect employment, housing, and safety. Methods for improving mental health include being physically active, sleeping well, eating a well-balanced diet, connecting with others, and participating in activities. Prevention, early detection, and treatment of mental health conditions can help improve the health and well-being of you and your community.
The information above can be found on the National Public Health Week website (nphw.org).