Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard Co-Leads Introduction of National Public Health Week Resolution

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Washington, April 2, 2018 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Public Health Caucus, Congressmembers Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Kay Granger (TX-12), Gene Green (TX-29), Jim McGovern (MA-02), and Rob Wittman (VA-01), have led the introduction of a resolution in the House of Representatives to recognize this week, April 2nd through 8th, as National Public Health Week 2018.  Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) will be introducing the Senate companion resolution.  The introduction of these resolutions comes as Americans work toward making the United States the healthiest nation in one generation.

Since 1995, the U.S. has observed the first week of April as National Public Health Week.  This National Public Health Week is a time to recognize that Americans can live longer and healthier lives with the help of a strong public health infrastructure that promotes preventive health strategies, policies that positively influence Americans’ health, and the sharing of research results.  National Public Health Week 2018 is being observed by the Congressional Public Health Caucus and other Members of Congress supportive of public health, as well as the American Public Health Association (APHA) and other public health organizations and professionals.

“As a Public Health Caucus Co-Chair, I am proud to speak up for public health solutions that will reduce preventable illnesses and deaths, promote wellness, lower health care costs, and give all Americans an equal chance at a healthy life,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, a member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.  “That is why I am delighted to join my caucus co-chairs and Senator Udall in leading this effort to recognize National Public Health Week.  As we work to improve our nation’s well-being, we must make sure Americans have the tools they need to protect themselves against dangers to public health.”

“Investments in public health education domestically and globally are crucial,” said Congresswoman Granger.  “It is important that we continue to prioritize public health education and awareness so that our country and the rest of the world can live healthier lives.”

“Public health remains the bedrock of our well-being and quality of life,” said Congressman Green.  “We know from the opioids epidemic to the severity of the current flu season, a 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.”

“Public Health starts with prevention, and our public health professionals are our first line of defense against the spread of disease,” said Congressman McGovern.  “During National Public Health Week, let’s recognize the amazing work that is done by our country’s public health professionals.  As a co-chair of the Public Health Caucus, I am proud to support their mission and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us.”

“National Public Health Week is a crucial time for raising awareness about the public health challenges that affect our communities and nation.  Together, in a bipartisan way, we can advance the policy solutions that reduce health care costs and increase access to care,” said Congressman Wittman.  “Additionally, this week lets us highlight the outstanding work our public health professionals and organizations are doing every day of the year.  Their work on the front lines of public health is commendable, and I look forward to working with them to create the healthiest nation possible.” 
“Investments in public health are investments in families, in strong and vibrant communities, and in a prosperous future,” said Senator Udall.  “During National Public Health Week, we highlight the invaluable work being done by public health professionals in New Mexico and throughout the country, and we recommit ourselves to finding innovative and practical solutions to meet the public health challenges facing communities across the United States.  As a nation, we've made great strides in promoting effective public health programs and encouraging and supporting healthy lifestyles and decisions.  This National Public Health Week, let's come together to build on that progress and build a healthier nation for generations to come.”

The House Resolution reads:

Supporting the goals and ideals of National Public Health Week.

Whereas the week of April 2, 2018, through April 8, 2018, is National Public Health Week;

Whereas the theme for National Public Health Week in 2018 is ‘‘Healthiest Nation 2030: Changing Our Future Together’’, with the goal of making the United States the healthiest Nation in one generation;

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

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, infant mortality and maternal mortality rates;

Whereas the life expectancy for the United States population declined for the second year in a row, and the leading causes of deaths are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems;

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 2016;

Whereas more women die from pregnancy-related deaths in the United States than any other developed country, and the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births has increased from 16.9 in 1990 to 26.4 in 2015;

Whereas the number of overdose deaths involving opioids was more than five times higher than in 1999 and 115 Americans on average die every day from an opioid-involved death requiring a comprehensive strategy across a range of sectors including robust efforts to prevent substance misuse disorders;

Whereas the percentage of adults using tobacco products in the United States, the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke, decreased from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016;

Whereas the number of adults suffering from homelessness in the United States, an increase seen in 2017 since 2010, accounting for approximately 554,000, with 35 percent of individuals and people in families still living unsheltered;

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, worship, 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 that are not in 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, injury, and promoting quality of life;

(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 people 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;

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

(C) using data to guide policies and behaviors that promote health and quality of life; 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