National Public Health Week 2014 in the City of St. Louis
Since 1995, the first full week of April is celebrated as National Public Health Week (NPHW). Across the nation, departments of public health, academic institutions, health clinics, hospitals, and other health-promoting organizations have celebrated the successes of public health in protecting and ensuring all people have healthy, productive, and happy lives. This year, the City's Department of Health (DOH) created five themed days to promote awareness of public health issues, as well as increase City employee and resident awareness of the role of public health plays in everyday life.
Be Healthy From the Start (Monday, April 7th). The first day was dedicated to awareness around child health, family health, and sexual health. Working with local schools, parent-serving organizations, and youth centers, the DOH provides immunizations, health trainings, and sexual health education to the City's residents. Information about good parenting practices, how to support the healthy development of children, and the promotion of sex positive practices are some of many topics covered. The City also conducts testing for at-risk residents for sexually-transmitted diseases and then refers them to treatment and provides support if needed.
Don't Panic (Tuesday, April 8th). Day two of NPHW covered emergencies and disaster preparedness. The DOH provides support and programming to prepare City residents for natural and manmade disasters. Particularly with extreme weather events, it is important that residents most at-risk –the young, the elderly, and people with functional needs –are provided the support and education they need to stay safe in extreme heat and cold. The DOH also advocates for all residents to have an emergency plan for natural or manmade disasters, be it the electricity going out, earthquakes, floods, or tornados. Everyone should discuss with their family what to do in case of an emergency.
Get Out Ahead (Wednesday, April 9th). The City is particularly proud of its Animal Care and Control division, which ensures the safety of animals as well as members of the community. Joining Animal Care and Control on Day 3 was the Children's Environmental Health division, which works to prevent illness through lead remediation, asthma prevention and support, and smoking cessation. If any resident has a concern around lead, asthma, smoking, or animals, we have a service to help you.
Eat Well (Thursday, April 10th). The fourth day focused on prevention of obesity and chronic disease (cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure). The DOH's obesity prevention initiative, JUMPN2Shape (www.jumpn2shape.com) provides support to residents via the JUMPN2Shape website, social media sites, and in-person during programs in parks and recreation centers. The DOH's Nutrition Services staff also provides nutrition education classes to youth and residents in a variety of venues throughout the community.
Be the Healthiest Nation in One Generation (Friday, April 11th). On Friday, the DOH brought all the topics covered in the previous days under the banner of "being the healthiest generation". With recent data suggesting that children born in this decade will live shorter lives than their parents, it is critical that public health and City agencies work to support all residents in leading healthy lives and being the healthiest nation in the world.
National Public Health Week is over, but the work of the public health professionals in the City of St. Louis continues. Every day, public health professionals are working behind the scenes on a mission to provide "continuous protection, prevention and promotion of the public's health. "They help ensure the City can live up to its vision and "be a healthy environment where citizens realize their desire for longer, healthier and happier lives at home, work and in their neighborhoods."
City of St. Louis
Department of Health