Research!America and Partners Salute Heroes on the Front Lines of Public Health

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Public Health Thank You Day, November 24, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-November 20, 2014-As Thanksgiving approaches, Research!America and leading U.S. public health organizations urge Americans to salute public health professionals who go above and beyond to protect the health of our nation. Public Health Thank You Day honors all those unsung heroes who keep our drinking water safe and air clean, develop vaccines, track and investigate infections, and protect us against  threats  such as influenza, the Ebola and Enterovirus D68 outbreaks and natural disasters.

“Every day, public health professionals here and around the world work in challenging and sometimes dangerous situations to protect our health.  The Ebola epidemic in West Africa and cases of Ebola in the U.S. are a reminder of the global nature of public health threats,” said Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Whether they are working to keep us safe from infectious disease threats, or finding ways to promote healthy opportunities, thanks to all the dedicated public health professionals who work to keep us safe and healthy.”

These everyday heroes include our health inspectors, environmental health scientists, laboratorians, epidemiologists, public health researchers, sanitation workers, nurses and many other dedicated workers. The CDC, local health departments and various institutions within our public health infrastructure have come together to address recent outbreaks, and public health professionals are tackling these threats head-on – as they do with other health challenges on a daily basis.

“The Ebola and Enterovirus outbreaks are devastating reminders that our society isn’t safe without sturdy, fast-acting public health systems. But public health professionals don’t just stop infectious disease – we reduce chronic conditions, prevent injuries, ensure food and water sanitation, strengthen the environment and reduce health disparities all over the world,” said Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA). “On behalf of APHA I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to the public health workforce for all that you do, the lives you save and the communities you protect. Too often you are unsung heroes, but today we applaud you for jobs well-done.”

Budget cuts have squeezed federal funding for public health programs that have reduced the prevalence of disease in many communities. The CDC budget fell to $5.8 billion in FY14 compared to $6.5 billion in FY10, severely impacting the agency’s ability to address current and emerging health threats here and abroad.

“The value public health delivers to our nation is often least apparent when it is most important,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “Public health workers who tirelessly work behind the scenes deserve the recognition and resources to do their jobs each and every day.”

Research!America’s 2014 Public Health Thank You Day partners include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Public Health Association, the Society for Public Health Education, the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Cancer Society, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Ohio State University, Susan G. Komen, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.

More information and materials can be found at www.publichealththankyouday.org.

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org.

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Post ID: 
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If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana