Healthy
Charles County

Public Health Week

NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK
APRIL 1-7, 2024

MONDAY - CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Civic engagement, the actions that we and our communities take to identify and address problems, shapes our opportunities to be healthy. By taking actions to get more civically engaged, like voting, we exercise our right to make decisions about our communities, like whether our neighborhoods have walkable sidewalks, how much funding goes to reproductive health clinics in our states and how prepared the nation’s infrastructure is for future pandemics and disasters.

A recent analysis of civic engagement and state health outcomes from 1996 to 2020 showed that in states where people are more civically engaged and vote more, public health outcomes are better.

Another analysis, the Health & Democracy Index, showed that states with more inclusive voting policies and fewer barriers to voting have better health outcomes. States with restrictive voting policies have worse outcomes. These barriers to voting also worsen existing health disparities, like disparities in infant mortality. 

TUESDAY - HEALTHY NEIGHBORHOODS

We know that where we live – where we eat, sleep, work, play, learn and pray – can have a huge effect on our health. But what makes a neighborhood healthy? Having safe places to live, without hazards or pollution. Having safe ways for everyone to be active, like sidewalks, and safe places to bike. Having easy access to fresh, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. When our neighborhoods are healthy, we have the building blocks for healthy lives.

WEDNESDAY - CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is the most pressing threat to human health that our world faces today. Some groups of people, including communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, are disproportionately impacted by climate change. They face decades of limited investment in their health and increased pollution in their neighborhoods. We need swift action to lessen the health impacts of climate change. Now is the time to act. Actions should come from and with communities.

THURSDAY - NEW TOOLS AND INNOVATIONS

Public health is all about preventing disease, diagnosing health conditions and encouraging health and well-being. However, achieving these goals wouldn’t be possible without the help of new tools and innovations in public health. From wearable fitness bands to virtual doctors’ appointments, new technology has changed the way individuals and communities receive and respond to health information. Other tools, like warning systems for natural disasters or COVID-19 testing kits, can help individuals stay connected and protected during emergencies. Advancements in public health can help us in the fight towards equity, so all people and populations can thrive.

FRIDAY - REPRODUCTIVE AND SEXUAL HEALTH

When people have access to quality reproductive and sexual health care and education, they can live happier and healthier lives. However, reproductive and sexual health justice are under attack, with over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced in 2023 alone and 43 states banning or heavily restricting access to safe abortions.

SATURDAY - EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Unexpected events such as power outages and natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes can happen without a moment’s notice. That is why being ready for emergencies is crucial. Emergency preparedness is exactly what it sounds like; it involves planning, having supplies on hand and knowing how to stay safe during an emergency. Being ready for crises before they happen can not only protect you and your loved ones but also underserved communities where disasters can worsen inequities.

SUNDAY - FUTURE OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Public health needs to take a fresh approach — one rooted in fairness and inclusivity. Picture this: a world where equity isn’t just a buzzword, but a guiding principle. Communities are at the heart of decision-making and actively shaping their health, not sidelined. Public health’s future is all about teaming up — joining forces with unexpected partners from different sectors and centering community voices. This future is about tearing down barriers, not just fixing problems but preventing them altogether. It’s making sure every person has access to the support and care they need for a healthier life.