November 21 Marks First National Public Health Thank You Day

In an effort to express gratitude to local public health professionals for leading the effort to protect the health of all Americans, November 21 has been declared Public Health Thank You Day.

Public Health Thank You Day recognizes the crucial role of public health practitioners and advocates in ensuring safety and well being. It has been organized by Research!America, the American Public Health Association, the Association of Schools of Public Health, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the National Association of County & City Health Officials,

“The public health challenges facing our community are numerous,” said Interim Chair and Dean of Public Health at Yale Brian Leaderer, Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology. “Among them are the rising incidences of obesity in both our adult and youth populations, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, injuries and violence, the risk of avian influenza, the threat of bioterrorism, natural disasters, and the increase of asthma prevalence in our community, to name a few.”

Public health workers come from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds, are dedicated to the communities they serve and are sometimes the “invisible” heroes protecting the community. Public health professionals have a significant impact on daily life: protecting food and water supplies, ensuring public immunizations, identifying community health threats and implementing programs to alleviate them. They also provide pregnant women with resources; work with the elderly to ensure their safety at home and in the community, teach parents how to keep their children safe in motor vehicles; and perform surveillance for emerging diseases.

Faculty in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine collaborate with the City of New Haven, other Connecticut municipalities, the State of Connecticut, and local non-governmental organizations such as the Connecticut Public Health Association and the Connecticut Association of Directors of Health, to enhance the health and meet the needs of state’s population.

“The recent devastations of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma have again increased our nation’s awareness of the need for a strong and prepared public health system,” said Leaderer. “Agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Connecticut Department of Health and local health departments and health districts work daily to provide education and resources to the community.”

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Karen N. Peart:, 203-432-1326