Research!America and Partners Thank Public Health Heroes for their Commitment to Better Health
ARLINGTON, Va.—The Thanksgiving holiday is an opportunity to salute public health professionals who go above and beyond to protect Americans from illness and injury. Dozens of organizations have joined Research!America for Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD), November 20, to honor the everyday heroes who are committed to fighting chronic diseases, epidemics, like the opioid crisis and antibiotic resistance, halting the spread of harmful viruses like Zika, and protecting Americans in the wake of natural disasters.
“The public health workforce works tirelessly to protect Americans from health threats – and because of their dedicated service, we can all live healthier lives,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Thank you for everything you do to keep us healthy and safe.”
The CDC’s current prediabetes awareness campaign offers assessments and lifestyle tips to help lower peoples’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which affects 1 in 3 American adults. The CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program helps people with prediabetes lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%, and by 71% for people over age 60.
“From protecting against disease and preventing injury to addressing the determinants that influence our health, public health professionals work tirelessly with too little recognition for their efforts,” said Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA).
An important component of our nation’s public health infrastructure is the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), whose future remains uncertain as Congress works to reach an FY18 budget deal. Some proposals include shrinking the Fund to cover the cost of other programs. The PPHF provides dollars to local, state and federal health departments to address our nation’s most dire health crises, such as the opioid epidemic which has been particularly severe in states like Massachusetts.
“Our public health infrastructure is critical to the long-term health and wellbeing of our nation and Commonwealth’s families, and we appreciate the people who have devoted themselves to this work, tackling the opioid crisis here at home or containing global health threats overseas," said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. "Our administration is committed to advocating for our public health workforce and their contributions to healthcare advancements in Massachusetts and across the globe."
Despite uncertain and often limited resources, public health heroes – community health workers, biomedical researchers, epidemiologists, nurses and many more – remain steadfast in their efforts to provide life-saving care, as was the case during and after recent hurricanes.
In recognition of these efforts, bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Public Health Caucus, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Kay Granger (R-TX), Gene Green (D-TX), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), have introduced a PHTYD resolution that commends the public health workforce for its dedication and continued service.
“Research!America salutes all those who work in public health, devoting their talents and expertise to improving the quality of life of Americans,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. “Public Health Thank You Day is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the people who help save lives during natural disasters, protect us from disease threats and boost the health and prosperity of communities across the country.”
The life-saving work of public health professionals even extends beyond our nation’s borders.
“Public health workers play a crucially important, and chronically underappreciated, role in combating health and security challenges that threaten individuals and communities across the globe,” said Jim Yong Kim, M.D., Ph.D., president of the World Bank Group. “Thank you for your dedication, your hard work, and your far-reaching impact.”