Happy National Public Health Week!

It is National Public Health Week (NPHW) and CHTI is celebrating! National Public Health Week is an annual week-long event that brings together communities across the United States to recognize the achievements and contributions of the public health workforce, as well as highlight current issues that are impacting the nation’s health. National Public Health Week 2024 is set for April 1-7th, and the daily themes are civic engagement, healthy neighborhoods, climate change, new tools and innovations, reproductive and sexual health, emergency preparedness, and the future of public health. Read on for some more information about each theme of this year’s NPHW and ways to get involved!  

Civic Engagement: The actions that we take in our communities to identify and address problems that shape our abilities to be healthy is civic engagement. A few ways to be civically engaged include voting, organizing voter registration drives in your community, and advocating for inclusive voting policies that reduce barriers to voting.  

Healthy Neighborhoods: Our environment – where we live, work, play, and grow – can have a major impact on health outcomes. Characteristics of healthy neighborhoods include access to green spaces, sidewalks, bike lanes, and parks; these promote active living and access to fresh, healthy, and affordable foods. A few ways to promote healthy neighborhoods is through community groups that get active together; community gardens and farmers markets that bring healthy foods into communities; investment and policy change that improves access to public transportation, biking, and walking to promote active living in neighborhoods; and policy change to limit pollution and address substandard housing conditions.  

Climate Change: The biggest threat to health today is climate change. Low-income communities of color are disproportionately impacted by climate-related events due to decades of environmental injustices like disproportionate exposure to pollution and environmental hazards. Collective action in our communities to advocate for policies that address climate change equitably, along with public health partnerships in communities to advance health equity, and investments in active transportation and climate-friendly neighborhood designs are a few ways to take action to address climate change.  

New Tools and Innovations: Technology, innovations, and new tools in public health have contributed to many public health achievements. For example, wearable fitness watches and health apps have promoted physical activity.  Improving accessibility of testing and medications through vending machines and communities is a public health innovation that has had success across communities. Increasing access to internet services and telehealth services, along with improving digital health infrastructure can help improve health across the nation.  

Reproductive and Sexual Health: Access to reproductive and sexual health services is a right for all. Access to these services is currently being restricted across the nation and will have major negative implications on the health of communities, especially to those who identify as LGBTQIA+. Access to menstrual products, reproductive health care, sexual health screenings and services, and comprehensive sexual education are crucial to promote reproductive justice.  

Emergency Preparedness: Planning, having supplies on hand, and knowledge about staying safe in an emergency are all elements of public health emergency preparedness. Low-income communities of color are disproportionately impacted by negative effects of disaster events, so equity in disaster recovery is crucial for public health efforts. Mitigation and prevention efforts to improve community infrastructure and preparedness is a crucial prevention tool to protect and prevent severe damage and harm in communities after disaster events.  

The Future of Public Health: The future of public health is the promotion of cross-sector partnerships that center lived experiences and community voices in decision-making to advance health equity. Communities and local organizations are where these efforts begin and can make an enormous difference through collective action. Building partnerships across sectors can help achieve a sustainable and equitable public health system that is more inclusive and equitable.  

Visit nphw.org/About-NPHW for more information about this year’s NPHW and daily themes, and to learn more about events, ways to get involved, tools, tips, and resources! Happy National Public Health Week!