Leaders in Congress introduce resolutions recognizing National Public Health Week and importance of strong public health system

Date: Apr 04 2014

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California introduced resolutions in Congress this past week recognizing National Public Health Week and the importance of a robust public health system in improving the health of the nation.

The week will be observed nationwide April 7-13 as hundreds of communities organize local activities to celebrate the contributions of a strong public health system in helping protect our nation’s health. Organized by the American Public Health Association the week includes a webcast of a forum with national health leaders April 7 and a Twitter chat April 9 using the hashtag #NPHWchat, along with other events.

“We’re grateful to our leaders in Congress for demonstrating their strong show of support for public health,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “National Public Health Week plays an important role in galvanizing communities across the country to demonstrate the considerable impact public health programs and services have on protecting and improving the health and well-being of all Americans.”

“Increasing our commitment and investment in public health is a smart way to improve the health of the population and strengthen our economy,” Udall said. “We need a strong and prepared public health system to prevent or respond to health emergencies; to help individuals and families make healthy choices about how they live, work, study and play; and to keep our air, water and food safe. We know the significant return we can get from this investment, from lower health care costs, fewer injuries and less disease, to improvements in productivity and extending life. Promoting public health and preventing disease makes an enormous difference in our communities, and for our nation.”

Joining Udall as original Senate co-sponsors were Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ohio; Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island; Tim Johnson, South Dakota; Ben Cardin, Maryland; Charles Schumer, New York; Mark Begich, Alaska; Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts; Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota; and Kay Hagan, North Carolina.

“The United States spends far more on health care than any other country,” said Roybal-Allard. “However, research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts could save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. The public health community has long advocated for a health care, not sick care, system. We need to realign our health care infrastructure so that it promotes well-being and prevents disease. This is why I am the proud author of the National Public Health Week Resolution (H. Res. 527).”

Roybal-Allard was joined as an original cosponsor by Raul Grijalva, Arizona; David Scott, Georgia; Mike Honda, California; James McGovern, Massachusetts; Janice Hahn, California; Yvette Clarke, New York; Barbara Lee, California; Ben Ray Lujan, New Mexico; Dave Loebsack, Iowa; Betty McCollum, Minnesota; Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico; and Filemon Vela, Texas.

This year’s National Public Health Week theme is “Public Health: Start Here." The week highlights the role of public health professionals in helping communities navigate our nation’s transforming health system.

For more about National Public Health Week, to become a partner or download the toolkit, visit www.nphw.org. For more about APHA, visit www.apha.org.

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.