National Public Health Week


President Obama’s decree proclaiming April 4 – 10 National Public Health Week focuses on several key objective: stemming the tide of infectious disease like Zika; improving access to healthcare domestically and globally; promoting healthy behaviors in adolescents; preventing opioid and illicit drug abuse; decreasing gun violence; addressing climate change-related health issues; and improving access to mental health resources.

National Public Health week is an opportunity to reflect on the pivotal role public health research and practice play in advancing the wellbeing of Americans and populations across the globe, and recognize the individuals, organizations and agencies that carry out these crucial public health functions. At the federal level, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Science Foundation (NSF), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) are but a few federal agencies that conduct and support public health research to make American lives safer and healthier.  The CDC, our nation’s leading public health agency, works day in and day out to protect and advance the health of Americans and individuals throughout the world.  CDC’s role in addressing the Zika virus provides a timely example:  While there are still many unknowns, the CDC has been at the forefront in researching apparent links between Zika and birth defects such as microcephaly, as well as the basic epidemiology of the current outbreak and how the virus is transmitted.  

Americans have taken notice that the health of our country is inextricably linked to the health of nations around the globe: according to surveys commissioned by Research!America, more than 80% of Americans believe that global health R&D is important, and 70% believe that Americans are better off if the U.S. invests in research designed to improve global health.  Take a minute to read our new fact sheet on global health. Federal agencies such as NIH, NSF, FDA, and AHRQ, are also working hard to protect and advance the public health, whether by assuring that our food and medications are safe, improving healthcare quality, safety, and effectiveness, addressing health disparities, or identifying disease prevention strategies. (See our new fact sheet on prevention here)

A proactive, capable, and well-resourced public health system is fundamental to the wellbeing of Americans and the prosperity and security of our nation as a whole.  Research!America is committed to ensuring that the CDC and our nation’s other health agencies receive the funding they need to fulfill their respective missions.  Stay tuned for more fact sheets, and remember to mark your calendars for Public Health Thank You Day on Monday, November 21, 2016 – observed annually on the Monday before Thanksgiving!

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter