The first week of April marks public health week. This year’s theme is For science. For action. For health. Most of us who work in the health care field deal with clinical care – those important interactions that help each of us remain healthy and deal with problems when they come up. Public health focuses on a whole population and often, if public health is working, most people won’t notice. We can breathe. We can drink water and eat food without getting sick. We can access health care. Our communities help us get and stay healthy.

I want everyone to understand public health and why public health is essential. This week, think about how public health has impacted your life from preventing people from getting diseases like polio, measles, and chickenpox, to addresaddressing outbreaks of measles in Clark County, to helping prevent cancer risk by raising the age to buy tobacco products in our state to 21.

Have questions about what public health is and what public health does? Our national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines ten essential public health services:

  • – Monitoring health
  • – Diagnosing and investigating
  • – Informing, educating, and empowering
  • – Mobilizing community partnerships
  • – Developing policies
  • – Enforcing laws
  • – Connecting people to and providing care
  • – Assuring a competent workforce
  • – Evaluating
  • – Researching for new solutions

The American Public Health Association hosts events, webinars, and public health challenges throughout the week – find more information here. This year, each day has a theme:

 

So join your public health community to celebrate how far we’ve come, think about the link between clinical care and public health, and help us all work to create a heathier Washington and healthier United States.

Ginny Weir, MPH
Director, Bree Collaborative