OP-ED

Everybody deserves to live a healthy, prosperous, and safe life regardless of their race, gender, religion, age, or socioeconomic status. Within the public health field, we public health professionals strive to do just that: ensure that everyone has access to health-promoting resources regardless of their status. As public health professionals, one of our main goals is to provide education on how to better one’s health. Every year, public health professionals dedicate a week to promote this knowledge and call it National Public Health Week. This year, public health professionals are excited to share their knowledge with America the week of April 6, with each weekday highlighting a specific aspect of health. 

On Monday, mental health will be advocated for. Mental illness is more prevalent within the nation than one may think; one in five Americans experience mental illness. As public health professionals, we aim to increase awareness about the prevalence of this illness and promote knowledge about resources that are available for those in need. Through these actions, we hope to help people struggling with mental illness to lead positive and functional lives to the best of their ability. 

Tuesday focuses on maternal and child health. Thirty-one percent of women will face pregnancy complications in the United States. Moreover, mothers and families are unaware about resources, which are available to them and ensure their essential pre and post-pregnancy needs are met. We, as public health professionals, hope that promotion of maternal-and-child-related health education will result in less pregnancy complications and allow for families to be more prepared to provide adequate care for their child. 

Wednesday turns the focus to violence prevention. Violence is experienced and inflicted in many forms throughout the nation. About one in four men and one in three women have experienced physical intimate partner violence. In 2017, there were a total of 39,773 gun-related deaths within the country. Through education about violence prevention and promotion of interventions such as advocating for gun safety laws and trauma-related services, we hope to interrupt abuse cycles. 

Thursday serves to emphasize environmental health in an attempt to promote community health, as well as raise awareness about and deter climate change. Millions of Americans face environmental challenges, which propose a risk to their health. These challenges include, but are not limited to, unsafe drinking water, air pollution, and increased natural disasters. These threats to health induce many Americans to develop health ailments, such as poor-air-quality-induced asthma. Because of these environmental crises, it is necessary to promote interventions that may help reduce or eliminate harm caused by these problems. Such interventions may include preparation of disaster plans to ensure the safety of oneself and loved ones, as well as promoting activities such as recycling and carpooling in order to promote the longevity of our planet.

Friday focuses on education access. Education is highly important to one’s health. Statistics show that high school graduates have an increased lifespan of about nine years, as compared to non-high school graduates. Public health professionals strive to ensure that school, and its included resources, is accessible for all children in order to help them achieve their optimal level of health. In order to make sure all children fully benefit from the education system, public health nurses are campaigning for things such as eliminating school lunch debt and ensuring access to medical and support services.

Saturday’s goal is to promote safe and healthy housing. Lead pipes, pest infestations, and residential crowding increases a community's susceptibility to health deterioration. In order to keep housing as safe as possible, we public health professionals want to promote the enforcement of housing maintenance schedules and legislation that enacts housing regulations. 

Lastly, Sunday addresses economic inequality. There are 6.8 million children living in poverty, which hinders their health and development. National Public Health Week will be utilized to support and promote tax policies which will help distribute resources to low income families and ultimately enhance their health.  

To sum up, public health addresses multiple aspects necessary for a prosperous life, and people of all kinds deserve a prosperous life. Help us spread the word about Public Health Week in order to promote a healthier community.

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