How You Can Help Create the Healthiest Washington During National Public Health Week

By: Heather Thomas, MPA, Public and Government Affairs Manager, Snohomish Health District

National Public Health Week will be celebrated April 1-7, and we want you to join us in recognizing the work of public health all week long. The American Public Health Association (APHA) makes it easy for all of us to participate by developing an annual theme and daily topics. The 2019 theme is “For science. For action. For health.” Come meet with us for networking and discussion on April 3rd before starting your workday for Public Health over Bagels and Coffee from 8:00 – 9:00 at 705 second ave, 6th floor meeting room, Seattle WA.

Start giving some thought now for how you—and hopefully your organization—can take part. APHA has created a communications toolkit online, with logos, social media content and fact sheets that you can use. Better yet, look at their framework and see how you can share information, resources or photos of your work around these daily topics:

  • Monday — Healthy Communities. The world is your oyster here. Think about work around healthy housing, air quality, smoke-free policies, healthy eating and active living, preventing disease, and more. Highlight pictures or videos of staff talking about the work they are doing, and how it’s helping to make their communities safe and healthy. The list goes on, so pick an effort and run with it.

  • Tuesday — Violence PreventionAs public health professionals, violence prevention, including gun violence, is most assuredly part of our jobs. Take the opportunity to share what you or your agency is doing to promote safe gun storage, develop trauma-informed communities, and more. Share data about what’s happening in our community, and resources that people can go to for help or to get engaged.

  • Wednesday — Rural HealthRural communities face a range of health disparities, from higher burdens of chronic disease to limited access to primary care and prevention services.Complicating matters, rural residents are often more likely to face social determinants that negatively impact health, such as poverty, transportation barriers and lack of jobs that pay well. What are you doing to protect the food, water and environment in these areas? What about advancing partnerships and providing access to care?

  • Thursday — Technology and Public Health. New technologies are quickly transforming the public health landscape. From environmental health tracking programs using spatial analysis to help predict people’s hazardous exposure risks, to using GIS mapping to track health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and HIV. Or building online learning communities where public health practitioners can share best practices. Shine a light on our public health labs, where workers use state-of-the-art technology to rapidly detect, trace and contain disease outbreaks.

  • Friday — Climate Change. Whether it’s at the local, state or federal level, we’re seeing the impacts of climate change happening. Here in Washington, we have experienced more frequent flooding and wildfires, leading to concerns about food security, water and air quality. The shifts in patterns also increase the risks of vector-borne diseases, like West Nile virus and Lyme disease. Like so many health threats, climate change is also expected to disproportionately impact already-vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, young children, families living in poverty and people with chronic diseases.

  • Saturday and Sunday — Global Health. America's health and the world's health are fundamentally connected. Consider H1N1, measles and Ebola, where viruses can quickly travel around the world and a global effort is required to track its movements and eventually contain the disease. National Public Health Week culminates with World Health Day on Sunday, April 7. The focus for the World Health Organization this year is working toward universal health coverage.

Whether it’s creating sharable content for social media, writing a blog or a letter to the editor, or coordinating a small breakfast or snack to say thank you to your public health colleagues. The goal is to do at least one thing, no matter how small, that helps bring attention to the great work that public health does in communities throughout Washington every day.

Make sure whatever you do, that you share it with us by tagging WSPHA on social media, using the hashtags #NPHW, #WSPHA, and #PublicHealthIsEssential. Thank you for celebrating National Public Health Week with us!

 


Past blogs

Investing in the Future of Our Public Health System

By: Ian Corbridge, Director of Quality and Performance, Washington State Hospital Association

Like most Americans, investing and thinking about the future is not easy for me. Investing money now for when I’m 70 is a lot less appealing in the moment than buying a new carbon fiber mountain bike.

This said, pivotal moments or crises in our lives often help us reprioritize what is important. My daughter was diagnosed with a serious medical condition after her first birthday. As new parents we were devastated, and we immediately began treatment. Once her care began, we started thinking about her long-term needs. What would she need to be successful? What would happen to our daughter if we, her parents, were no longer around? Faced with mounting challenges, we made the critical decision to invest in our daughter’s future to ensure she has a vibrant and happy life. Read page

 


 

Public Health in the New Year
By: Ginny Weir, Director, Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative

I’d argue that nearly everything we do falls under the umbrella of public health. From responding to natural disasters to city planning, every sidewalk (or lack thereof), drop of (treated) water, and medical procedure has an effect on our health. Bill Foege, a past Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this more poetically, “There is no human endeavor that is outside the realm of public health.” This is powerful and inspiring – but also makes telling the story of public health more difficult. How do we talk about public health if everything we do is in fact public health? Who can speak for public health if public health is part of all that we do? Read more.

 

 
Live Well San Diego

By: Nick Macchione, MS, FACHE, Agency Director
Health and Human Services, County of San Diego


When asked, what is Live Well San Diego? I say it’s all about improving lives. 

Live Well San Diego is a regional vision that we have adopted, which outlines what we are doing collectively to build better health, live safely and thrive. In County government, it’s our north star that helps guide the provision of housing, health and human services and resources. It’s how we do business and improve the lives of one in three or approximately 1.3 million San Diegans. It all started in 2008. I was the newly promoted director of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency. I was tasked with answering one question: “How do we help over 3 million San Diego residents lead healthier lives?” Seeking solutions was no simple or straightforward task. Complex problems require complex solutions, and in order to create sustainable improvements across a diverse and geographically vast region, we had to seek input representing a range of diverse perspectives in the brainstorming process.  Read more

 


 
Let's Talk Immunization
By: Mackenzie Melton and Izzy Brandstetter
WithinReach Immunization Experts
 
August 1, 2018
Since August is National Immunization Awareness Month, we felt it’s only appropriate to highlight why the rush and overwhelm to immunize, in the summer months especially, are so crucial to maintaining health and wellness among our families and throughout our communities.With children spending the majority of the day together in a classroom during the year, it’s also the optimal breeding ground for many bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness. Fortunately, a large portion of these illnesses can be prevented through routine immunizations. And for those with pre-existing health conditions that hinder them from being immunized themselves, we vaccinate so that they can be protected from illness, and benefit from community immunity. Read More.
 

 
Rethinking Our Approach for Urban Indian Studies
By Adrian Dominguez, MS and Rose James, PhD
Urban Indian Health Institute, Seattle Indian Health Board
 

July 1, 2018
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities have an understandable mistrust of research.  This stems from the misleading efforts by non-Native scientists to assess American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities and the drawing of pre-conceived outcomes and descriptions that would support the genocide of a community that was once believed to be inferior, barbaric, savage-like, and uncivilized. Practices involved deception, dishonesty, and trickery, resulting in physical harm, such as radiation studies among AI/AN people presented as clinical care and the forced sterilization of AI/AN females.As non-Native scientists completed their research, they reported findings that were inaccurate, false, and unreliable, and that paved the road to openly stigmatize and misrepresent AI/ANs. Read more. 
 

 

Summer Break with or without Hunger
By Debra French, Director, WSPHA Board of Directors


June 1, 2018

Schools out and its summer break, for many a time for relaxation, vacations, fun and some sunshine but for some, it’s a bit more stressful.  Millions of children who rely on free and reduced-priced school breakfast and lunch during the school year, lose access to those meals when summer break begins. The federal government provides funding for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) both are key to bringing nutritious meals and snacks to children during the summer months. Read more.

 


 

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Public Health
By Amy Person, MD, Director, WSPHA Board of Directors

mental health

May 1, 2018
Behavioral health disorders are common – but what role can public health play? One in eight adults in Washington State reports poor mental health and one in three Washington 10th graders reports depressive feelings. We cannot achieve the highest health potential for individuals, families or communities without including behavioral health as a public health priority. Applying the public health model to behavioral health can also shift the focus to include primary prevention as well as improving access to treatment. Read more
 

 
Celebrating National Public Health Week
By Ginny Weir, MPH, Director, Bree Collaborative


April 1, 2018
Public health is essential to building a healthier Washington and stands on foundational public health services like chronic disease and injury prevention, maternal and child family health, access to clinical care, environmental public health, vital records, and communicable disease control. Although Public health week has already passed, there are still plenty of ways to get involved and advocate for a healthy community. Read more.
 
 

 
Legislative Education Day: What Comes Next?
By Heather Thomas, MPA, Public & Government Affairs Manager, Snohomish Health District

March 1, 2018

On February 7, more than 150 public health ambassadors from around the state gathered in Olympia for our annual WSPHA Legislative Education Day. The morning session kicked off with a welcome from WSPHA president David Reyes, followed by remarks from Secretary of Health John Wiesman. Secretary Wiesman shared his perspectives on a variety of public health issues at the state and federal level. Read more

 


 
Legislative Education Day
By Anne  Burkland, Government Relations Specialist, Public Health Seattle and King County
 
February 1, 2018
Join public health officials from across the state and have your voice heard at our annual legislative education day on February 7, 2018.Your day will begin with Secretary of Health John Wiesman. You’ll also hear from state lawmakers and your colleagues who are leading the charge for more funding dedicated to public health. You’ll be provided talking points and an opportunity to develop and practice the key messages you want your representatives to hear. Read more 
 
 

 
The Opioid Epidemic in Washington
By Ginny Weir, Program Director, Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative
 
January 1, 2018
The opioid epidemic has impacted every community in Washington State. Across the country, opioid overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. But some counties are hit harder than others and disparities exist between how racial and ethnic groups are burdened with the epidemic. Solutions must be both based in local communities and supported across the state. Our Washington state opioid response plan calls on all of us, state government agencies, local health departments, professional groups, community organizations, health care systems, and others to work together on priority areas. Read more.