(By Fire Chief Matt Love) During the first full week of April each year (April 5 – April 11), the American Public Health Association brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week. This week is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.
For over 25 years, APHA has served as the organizer of NPHW. Every year, the Association develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to each year’s theme. APHA creates new NPHW materials each year that can be used during and after NPHW to raise awareness about public health and prevention.
To ensure everyone has a chance at a long and healthy life, we must also tackle the underlying causes of poor health and disease risk. Those causes are rooted in how and where we live, learn, work, and play.
It’s the child who goes to school hungry and can’t take full advantage of the education that leads to challenges in adulthood. It’s the low-wage worker who must choose between losing much-needed income and staying home with a sick child. It’s the family that struggles to find nutritious, affordable food anywhere in their community. It’s the student who can’t walk to school because there are no sidewalks. These are the types of conditions that shape the health and well-being of our people and communities.
Thankfully, we can do something. If we focus on inclusion and equity to ensure decisions are made with everyone’s health in mind, we can build healthier communities and, eventually, the healthiest nation. But we need your help to get there.
Join us in observing National Public Health Week 2021 and become part of a growing movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation. We’ll celebrate the power of community, share strategies for successful partnerships, and champion the role of a strong public health system.
Matt Love has been the Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief since 2016. In 2019 he was selected by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Lee County Florida as Fire Chief of the Year. He can be reached at the fire department at 239- 590-4200