At the Bree Collaborative we talk a lot about health care procedures that we don’t need – that don’t make us any healthier and may in fact hurt us. A recent Atlantic article on the epidemic of unnecessary treatment, When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes, is an excellent study of overused treatments and harms that can happen to patients. This is important work and we will continue to develop recommendations around health care services, but another part of the story – an often overlooked part – is the story of how public health innovations have contributed to all of us being able to live healthier lives. But public health is big and far-reaching – and can be difficult to talk about.

I think of public health as the necessary baseline keeping us all afloat – tracking, responding, and preventing disease outbreaks like Zika, responding to natural and man-made crises, as well as making sure our food and water are clean and won’t make us sick. I rely on hospital or urgent care services in the same way I rely on not having to worry about drinking the tap water in my home. I feel safer living in a community that would help prevent a contagious disease from impacting me and my family.

Today, public health advocates are down in Olympia as part of Public Health Legislative Education day. We will be talking with our lawmakers about core public health services and the structures and capabilities that are necessary to support a truly healthy Washington State. Public health organizations work to bring everyone in Washington State access to clinical care, build a safe environment, keep vital records, help with communicable disease control as well as chronic disease management and prevention, and work on material and child health, but funding has consistently decreased. We are working to help fund these essential services and make sure that our public health and health care systems work together to keep us all safe and healthy.

Getting involved starts with you and your neighborhood. Learn more about some of the issues happening close to home from Public Health is Essential below:
– Northwest Washington
– King County
 South Puget Sound
 Olympic Peninsula
 Southwest Washington
 Central Washington
 Spokane Region
 Southeast Washington

Learn More:

– Watch KOMO’s TV Town Hall Is Our Public Health System on Life Support?
– Follow Public Health is Essential: @PHisEssential on Twitter & Public Health is Essential on Facebook
– Learn more about the Washington State Public Health Association and consider attending the annual conference October 16-18th in Wenatchee, WA
– Share Public Health is Essential materials here
– Look out for National Public Health Week coming up from April 3-9th
– Most importantly, talk to your family, neighbors, and friends about why public health is essential and what is means to you!

Ginny Weir, MPH
Director, Bree Collaborative