This article is 7 years old. It was published on April 1, 2013.
Public Health is Return on Investment (ROI)
When City residents think about public health, they usually only realize a fraction of what we do. They may know that we provide food permits and inspect restaurants to ensure food is handled and served safely. They may know that we help to reduce the threat posed by stray dogs within the City. They may be able to identify unique services like sexually-transmitted disease treatment and tracking. Well, public health is all of that and so much more. This year's theme for National Public Health Week, "Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money," seeks to illustrate that.
Public health is nearly invisible to the public when it works well. Our City residents enjoy, clean air, safe food, and some of the best drinking water in the country on a regular basis. Public health has a great deal of responsibility for that. However, public health is also at the forefront of the lead poisoning prevention effort in the City, working with other community agencies to identify and treat children who have been poisoned by lead and make City residences lead-safe. Public health endeavors to reduce and manage a variety of chronic diseases and conditions including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma, and obesity. Public health works with pregnant women and new mothers to ensure healthy outcomes for pregnancies and give those infants the best start in life. Public health works with daycares to ensure providers adhere to the highest standards of health and safety for the children in their care. Public health works in local schools to ensure children have healthy school lunches, promote increased physical activity, and provide access to needed health care resources. Public health works in City communities to identify and eliminate disease-carrying vectors like rats and mosquitoes, as well as reduce or eliminate environmental hazards. Public health enhances the health care safety net by linking those in need to low-cost care providers and health services. Public health works with a variety of community partners to improve sustainability practices within the City. Public health actively trains to be an effective first responder in the event of any natural or man-made disaster as well as an act of terrorism. Public health tracks health and safety conditions throughout the City and makes that information available to all City residents. Public health is also directly responsible for establishing and enforcing City ordinances and other policies that reduce the health and safety hazards within the City environment.
Considering all that public health accomplishes, for the small budgetary investment that the community makes in it, they receive a very large return on their investment. More importantly, they experience a healthier and safer community overall. Improved health and safety saves not only lives, but also money as City residents experience lower health care expenses.
National Public Health Week (NPHW) is traditionally the first week in April. This year we will be celebrating public health week April 1-5th with a variety of events throughout the week. The scheduled activities are as follows:
On Monday, April 1st, the focus is on ensuring a safe and healthy home for your family. The Health Department's Children's Environmental Health Section will have a healthy homes display in the Lobby at
On Wednesday, April 3rd , the focus is on creating a healthy workplace. Being physically active during the work day and making healthier food choices at work contribute to improved health. The Department of Health's Nutrition Services will have the bike blender available from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is a fun activity where individuals use pedal power to make healthy and delicious smoothies.
On Thursday, April 4th , the focus is on protecting you while you are on the move. Personal safety is important to each and every one of us. The Department of Health will partner with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to host special safety training for employees in the morning from to . In the afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the Department of Health is encouraging everyone to drop into the Learning Resource Center (3544 Caroline Mall in the Saint Louis University Health Sciences Campus) to hear Georges Benjamin, the current Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, speak on this year's NPHW theme. This presentation is sponsored by the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice.
If you have any questions regarding any of the scheduled events, please contact Melissa Ramel at (314) 657-1571 or RamelM@stlouis-mo.gov.
Department of Health