Health and Family Services Cabinet
Focus on Public Health
April 1-7 is National Public Health Week
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working to promote Public Health Week, an annual observance that focuses on critical public health issues to raise awareness and help people live longer, healthier lives.
“In some way, public health touches everyone, every day in Kentucky. We are dedicated to making our infrastructure even stronger, including ongoing work to become nationally accredited in 2014, finding opportunities for improvement within our programs, and focusing on overall prevention for the health and well-being of Kentuckians,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield. “We hope this week will serve as an opportunity for the public to learn more about the vital role of public health in Kentucky.”
The focus of this year’s National Public Health Week is the return on investment of public health services. Research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested.
“Our nation and community simply cannot sustain the current trajectory of health care spending and chronic disease rates,” said Dr. Mayfield. “Fortunately, we know that investing in prevention and public health can make an enormous difference and it’s the right direction for Kentucky to move in to address poor health outcomes.”
Dr. Mayfield emphasized that supporting public health approaches to better health outcomes does reap life-saving returns. For example, research shows that each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a nearly 7 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths and a 1.4 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) serves as the organizer of National Public Health Week and develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to the chosen theme. Since 1995, communities nationwide have celebrated National Public Health Week each April to draw attention to the need to help protect and improve the nation’s health. APHA creates comprehensive planning, organizing and outreach materials that can be used during and after the week to raise awareness.
“National Public Health Week helps educate and engage Americans in the movement to create a healthier America for ourselves and the generations to come,” said Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The hundreds of events that take place this week help showcase the value of supporting prevention and the role that public health agencies, organizations and practitioners play in making prevention possible. We all have a role to play in making America the healthiest nation in one generation. And it starts with each of us taking the simple preventive steps that lead to better health.”
For more information about National Public Health Week, visit http://www.nphw.org/about. More information about Kentucky public health can be found at. http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.