Public Health Thank You Day

Rural America represents a large geographic area, a place where more than 60 million people currently reside. How large? As much as 75%of the nation’s geography is considered to be “rural and frontier.” The public health challenges of this vast area and population are significant, and often under appreciated. Rural Americans face a unique combination of factors that create significant disparities in health care including economic factors, cultural and social differences, educational limitations, and the sheer isolation of living in remote areas. These challenges are compounded by the fact that many policymakers do not understand or recognize that rural communities have unique challenges...
Health disparities occur when there is a significant difference in the burden of illness, injury, disability or mortality between demographic groups. A combination of educational, economic and environmental factors – known as social determinants – impact the health outcomes of individuals, often to the detriment of minority groups in the U.S. Contaminated housing, shortage of food stores with healthy choices, and lack of public recreational areas for exercise all contribute to higher rates of – and mortality from – heart disease, cancer and diabetes among non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, according to the Centers for Disease...
Ten million men and 20 million women will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. These illnesses affect all kinds of people – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status or background. And despite the fact that these illnesses have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, the majority of those affected will not get the help that they need and many will suffer in silence, often not even realizing that they are struggling with an eating disorder. Eating disorders, such as bulimia, binge eating disorder and anorexia, have biological, genetic, behavioral and psychological components, yet they continue to be dismissed, trivialized and obscured by...
This year’s Public Health Thank You Day challenges us to answer the question: what is public health? The incredible diversity of specialties within the American Public Health Association’s membership leads me to ask that question on a daily basis. Our members shape fields as far ranging as child and maternal health, school health education, mental health, ethics, public health statistics and environmental health. But together, these disparate disciplines define public health. APHA is striving to create the healthiest nation in one generation, and despite different specialties and backgrounds each public health discipline and professional can be part of this movement. As schools improve,...
In an exclusive Q&A, Lynn Goldman, M.D., MPH, Michael and Lori Milken Dean of Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University talks to Research!America about the achievements and gaps in the field of public health . You’ve published a paper as part of the Institute of Medicine’s Vital Directions initiative that says we have a long way to go to strengthen our public health system. Why is a strong public health system so important? Despite the fact that we spend a disproportionate amount of our GDP per capita on health and health care in this country, we do not enjoy the highest level of health as measured by basic metrics like life expectancy and infant...
Good health begins with people understanding the importance of prevention and lifestyle. In order to advocate for prevention in their communities, schools and cities, it is important for individuals to know how to keep themselves and others healthy through adequate diet and physical activity, by avoiding smoking, by drinking only in moderation, and by getting regular medical checkups. The idea that avoiding and preventing disease is a lot better than suffering with disease usually resonates well with the general public. However, prevention must connect behaviors now with what may be avoided later, and often needs to occur in the absence of illness or any similar motivation. For example,...
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) affect over one billion of the world’s poorest people, impairing families’ health, nutrition, cognition, and even productivity at work. These parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases broadly threaten education as well as social, emotional, and physical health. The NTDs include lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, river blindness, schistosomiasis, hookworm and other intestinal worms, Chagas disease and African sleeping sickness, among others. According to the CDC, over 500,000 people die from NTDs across the globe each year, and all low-income countries suffer from at least five of these diseases simultaneously. Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of Baylor College of...
This blog post is part of a weekly series focusing on different aspects of public health leading up to Public Health Thank You Day on Monday, November 21, 2016. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #PHTYD and visit www.publichealththankyouday.org for more information. LaMar Hasbrouck, M.D., MPH, is the Executive Director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation's nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all...
Dear Research Advocate, As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, it is fitting to thank our public health workforce for their tireless efforts on our behalf every day of the year. Monday marked the official Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD), but it is ongoing. This year’s effort has been extraordinary, with more than 50 organizations partnering with us to get the word out. For the first time since we launched PHTYD in 2005, Congress officially joined the effort. As I mentioned last week, the co-chairs of the House Public Health Caucus introduced a resolution supporting PHTYD. Online, more than 1,000 organizations and individuals participated, including federal officials from HHS and DOD,...
This blog post is part of a weekly series focusing on different aspects of public health leading up to Public Health Thank You Day on Monday, November 21, 2016. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #PHTYD and visit www.publichealththankyouday.org for more information. Deaths in the United States due to prescription and illicit opioid overdoses have quadrupled over the past 17 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 78 Americans die each day from overdoses of drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and heroin. Over the course of the opioid crisis, sales of prescription opioids in the U.S. have nearly quadrupled , but the amount of...

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor