Haywood celebrates public health month
Public health affects us all, ensuring that food served in our restaurants is safe to eat, our water is clean, our children are vaccinated against dangerous diseases and information about healthy lifestyles is shared with communities.
Public health helps ensure our most basic and critical life needs are met. Because public health works to prevent problems, it often goes unnoticed. Preventing illness and injury is one of the most cost effective ways to save lives and improve health.
Our communities come in contact with public health on a daily basis. As this system changes, public health professionals will help guide people and the communities through these changes. During National Public Health Week, April 7-13, I am encouraging Haywood County residents to talk with your family, friends and coworkers about issues related to public health and our changing public health system. The following themes from the American Public Health Association are a good starting point:
- Day 1 – Be healthy from the start. From maternal health, family nutrition and school nutrition to safety and emergency preparedness, public health starts at home. The first step the community takes toward public health is in the comfort of their own home. Better meal planning, conducting safety upgrades and preparing for emergencies begins at home.
- Day 2 – Don’t panic. Public health professionals help communities withstand the impact of a natural or man-made disaster by planning ahead, acting as a source of information during the crisis and helping to mitigate the long- and short-term effects.
- Day 3 – Get out ahead. Prevention is now a nationwide priority and as public health changes, there are more options than ever when it comes to preventive health measures. Public health and clinical health professionals must work collaboratively to help individuals identify and pursue the best preventative health options.
- Day 4 – Eat well. The system that keeps our nation’s food safe and healthy is complex. There is a lot of information to review in order to understand food labels and to learn the best practices during a food borne illness outbreak. Public health professionals can help guide people through their choices.
- Day 5 – Be the healthiest nation in one generation. Best practices for community health come from around the globe. For the first time in decades, the current generation isn’t as healthy as the one that came before. Communities need to band together to take a stance against this disturbing trend to make sure that children and young adults have bright, healthy futures. In addition to these discussions, the Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency is celebrating Public Health Month in April by partnering with the American Cancer Society, MedWest Haywood and Mountain Projects to hold two breast health forums.
The events will be held at 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 29 at the Canton branch of the Haywood County Public Library and at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 8 at the Waynesville branch library. Each forum will feature a panel, including a surgeon and a breast care nurse navigator. Participants will receive information about prevention and early detection. They will also have the opportunity to ask questions of other local professionals.
HCHHSA will have a display of its services in the public health section of the HCHHSA building (Old Wal-Mart). The public is invited to visit this display from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
For more information about Public Health Month or the events mentioned here, please contact Megan Hauser: firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-452-6675, ext. 2272.
Public health professionals can lead the way by helping communities identify the resources and information available to keep everyone healthy and safe.
Carmine Rocco is the Haywood County health director.