Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard and Other Public Health Leaders Introduce National Public Health Week Resolutions

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Washington, April 6, 2017 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Today, Congressional Public Health Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and her fellow co-chairs Congressmembers Kay Granger (TX-12), Gene Green (TX-29), Jim McGovern (MA-02), and Rob Wittman (VA-01) led the introduction of a resolution in the House of Representatives to recognize April 3rd through 9th as National Public Health Week 2017.  They were joined by 15 other members as original co-sponsors of the House resolution.  Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced a Senate version of the resolution.

Since 1995, National Public Health Week has been an occasion for public health organizations to promote awareness of the importance of public health and to build support for strategies to meet America’s public health needs.  The theme for this year’s National Public Health Week is “Healthiest Nation 2030,” emphasizing a goal of making America the healthiest nation in one generation.  National Public Health Week is organized by the American Public Health Association (APHA).

“I am thrilled to join my fellow Public Health Caucus Co-Chairs, as well as Senator Udall, our other congressional partners, and the American Public Health Association, in championing the achievable goal of making America the healthiest nation in one generation,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, a member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and a 2009 recipient of the APHA’s Distinguished Public Health Legislator of the Year Award.  “The National Public Health Week resolutions recognize the great need for America to invest in improving the health of all of our citizens and communities.  Our public health professionals do so much to keep people healthy, including conducting scientific research, educating our communities about diseases, and vaccinating children and adults.  To become the healthiest nation by 2030, we will need the help of our public health professionals as we work to promote optimal health, minimize health disparities, and prevent chronic conditions.”

“An investment in our public health system is an investment in the future of our families, our communities and the prosperity of New Mexico and the country,” said Senator Udall.  “National Public Health Week brings attention to our biggest health challenges moving forward as a nation and promotes practical solutions to save lives and encourage smarter investments in our public health programs. As a nation, we have made many great achievements over the years, but we can all take steps to improve our health — from taking up more active lifestyles to eating well — to make the United States the healthiest nation in a generation.”

“There has been plenty of evidence that outbreaks of diseases around the world can quickly cause health concerns in our country,”
said Congresswoman Granger.  “Our public health system contributes to the safety and well-being of our citizens by keeping our communities informed of and prepared for potential risks. The Congressional Public Health Caucus encourages everyone to take part in Public Health Week 2017.”

“Public health remains the bedrock of our well-being and quality of life,” said Congressman Green.  “We know from outbreaks like the Zika to the opioid epidemic, that robust and smart public health infrastructure has never been more vital.  It is critical to helping people stay healthy, preventing chronic disease and lessening the incidences of preventable deaths though screenings, vaccines and life-style programs that support overall health and wellness. National Public Health Week is an opportunity to highlight the importance of public health investments and inform people about the importance of public health and encourage proactive behaviors.”

“Supporting healthy communities starts with a strong investment in public health,” said Congressman McGovern.  “National Public Health Week is a great opportunity for us to recognize the incredible work done by our country’s public health professionals and organizations.  America’s public health professionals are our first line of defense against the spread of disease. As the world becomes more interconnected and international travel becomes easier, there has never been a more important time to ensure that these organizations have the resources they need to keep our communities healthy and safe.  I am proud to support this mission as a co-chair of the Public Health Caucus and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us.”

“Our public health challenges remain among the most important issues for Congress to address,” said Congressman Wittman.  “National Public Health Week is a critical time to raise awareness about how public health affects our communities and the urgent need to work together in a bipartisan way to advance policy solutions that reduce health care costs and increase access to care.”

“We applaud Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rob Wittman, Gene Green, Kay Granger and Jim McGovern, along with Sen. Udall and the other cosponsors of the National Public Health Week resolutions for recognizing the essential role public health plays in improving the health of all Americans and the communities in which we live,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD.  “We are grateful for their leadership and look forward to our continued collaboration in helping create the healthiest nation.”

The House Resolution reads: 
Supporting the goals and ideals of National Public Health Week. 

Whereas the week of April 3, 2017, through April 9, 2017, is National Public Health Week; 

Whereas the theme for National Public Health Week in 2017 is “Healthiest Nation 2030”, with the goal of making the United States the healthiest nation in one generation; 

Whereas according to the National Academy of Medicine, despite being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the United States ranks below many other economically prosperous and developing countries with respect to measures of health, including life expectancy and the rate of infant mortality;  

Whereas the life expectancy for the United States population declined for the first time in more than two decades, and the leading causes of deaths are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems; 

Whereas there is a significant difference in the health status, such as that relating to obesity, poor mental health, and infectious disease, of people living in the healthiest States compared to people living in the least healthy States; 

Whereas despite having a high infant mortality rate compared to other economically prosperous and developing countries, and the death rate varying greatly among States, overall, the United States was making steady progress, until recently, with the infant mortality rate reaching a historic low of 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014; 

Whereas opioid-involved deaths have more than quadrupled since 1999, requiring a comprehensive strategy across a range of sectors, including robust efforts to prevent substance misuse disorders; 

Whereas the percentage of adults smoking cigarettes in the United States, the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and accounting for more than 480,000 deaths each year, decreased from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.1 percent in 2015; 

Whereas the value of a strong public health system is in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the places where we all live, learn, work, and play; 

Whereas public health organizations use National Public Health Week to educate the public, policymakers, and public health professionals on issues that are important to improving the health of the people of the United States; 

Whereas studies show that small strategic investments in prevention can result in significant savings in health care costs; 

Whereas each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a 6.9 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in deaths related to cardiovascular disease, a 1.4 percent decrease in deaths due to diabetes, and a 1.1 percent decrease in cancer-related deaths; 

Whereas public health professionals help communities prevent, prepare for, withstand, and recover from the impact of a full range of health threats, including disease outbreaks, such as the Zika virus, natural disasters, and disasters caused by human activity; 

Whereas public health professionals collaborate with partners outside the health sector, such as city planners, transportation officials, education officials, and private sector businesses, recognizing that other sectors have an important influence on health; 

Whereas in communities across the United States, people are changing the way they care for their health by avoiding tobacco use, eating healthier, becoming more physically active, and preventing unintentional injuries at home and in the workplace; and

Whereas efforts to adequately support public health and prevention can continue to transform a health system focused on treating illness to a health system focused on preventing disease and promoting wellness: Now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, That the House of Representatives— 

(1) supports the goals and ideals of National Public Health Week; 

(2) recognizes the efforts of public health professionals, the Federal Government, States, tribes, municipalities, local communities, and individuals in preventing disease and injury; 

(3) recognizes the role of public health in improving the health of individuals in the United States; 

(4) encourages increased efforts and resources to improve the health of individuals in the United States to create the healthiest nation in one generation through— 

 (A) greater opportunities to improve community health and prevent disease and injury; and 

 (B) strengthening the public health system in the United States; and 

(5) encourages the people of the United States to learn about the role of the public health system in improving health in the United States.

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Tags: Health