Press Releases

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

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Washington, April 1, 2019 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Today, Congressional Public Health Caucus Co-Chairs Congressmembers Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Jim McGovern (MA-02), and Rob Wittman (VA-01) led the introduction of a resolution in the House of Representatives to recognize this week, April 1st through 7th, as National Public Health Week 2019.  Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) is introducing the Senate companion resolution.  

Since 1995, the U.S. has observed the first week of April as National Public Health Week.  The theme of this year’s National Public Health Week is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health.”, and the week recognizes the contributions that public health in improving our nation’s health and achieving health equity.  National Public Health Week 2019 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.

“Despite America being one of the world’s wealthiest nations, U.S. life expectancy is declining, we face high maternal and infant mortality rates, and our country faces a wave of deaths from drug overdoses and cigarette smoking.  Our public health system is essential to addressing the root causes of these problems,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard.  “This National Public Health Week, I’m pleased to salute public health organizations and professionals for all their efforts to help people pursue healthy behaviors, prevent illness and injury, and lower their health care costs.  As we fight to keep Americans well and achieve health equity for all, our public health system will be a crucial partner in our work.”

“It’s so important for us to recognize and appreciate the public health professionals and organizations that keep America healthy,” said Rep. McGovern.  “When people say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – I think that really gets to the heart of what public health week is all about. By highlighting investments that encourage healthy lifestyles and a robust public health system, we acknowledge that prevention and preparation now will save us countless health care dollars down the road.”

“National Public Health Week is a crucial time for raising awareness about the public health challenges that affect our communities and nation,” said Rep. Wittman.  “Together, in a bipartisan way, we can advance the policy solutions that reduce health care costs and increase access to care. We must also continue to prioritize public health education and awareness so that we can all live healthier lives. Additionally, this week let us highlight the outstanding work our public health professionals and organizations are doing every day.”

“National Public Health Week is a time to reflect on the hard work we have done to create healthier communities and to recognize the invaluable work done by public health professions in New Mexico and across the country,” said Sen. Udall.  “It is critical we continue to invest in public health programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and focus on the pressing public health challenges facing our communities in New Mexico and across the country. From fighting the opioid epidemic to addressing the alarming rate of youth e-cigarette use – we must build on recent success to ensure healthier future generations.”

“APHA is grateful to Rep. Roybal-Allard, Sen. Udall, Rep. Wittman, Rep. McGovern and all of our public health allies in the House and Senate who have raised their voices in support of National Public Health Week,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD.  “Their committed leadership and support for public health are essential to our goal of creating the healthiest nation in one generation.”

The House Resolution reads:

Supporting the goals and ideals of National Public Health Week.

Whereas the week of April 1, 2019, through April 7, 2019, is National Public Health Week;

Whereas the theme for National Public Health Week in 2019 is ‘‘Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health.’’, with the goal of recognizing the contributions of public health in improving the country’s health and achieving health equity;

Whereas according to the National Academy of Medicine, despite being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the United States ranks well 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 third year in a row, 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 obesity rates, prevalence of chronic disease, and infectious disease—of people living in the healthiest States compared to people living in the least healthy States;

Whereas despite significant progress in reducing the United States infant mortality rate to a historic low of 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017, the number of infant deaths in the United States greatly varies among States and far outpaces that of other economically prosperous and developing nations;

Whereas more women die from pregnancy-related deaths in the United States than any other developed country, and an estimated 60 percent of such maternal deaths are preventable;

Whereas drug overdoses more than tripled from 1999 to 2016 and have become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with an average of 130 people dying every day;

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 every year, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke, decreased from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 14 percent in 2017;

Whereas according to National Youth Tobacco Survey data, current electronic cigarette use in the United States increased by 78 percent among high school students and increased by 48 percent among middle school students from 2017 to 2018;

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 vaccination is one of the most significant public health achievements in history and has resulted in substantial declines in cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and health care costs associated with vaccine-preventable diseases;

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 and measles, 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 foods, becoming more physically active, and preventing unintentional injuries at home and in the workplace; and

Whereas efforts to adequately support public health and disease and injury prevention can continue to transform a health system focused on treating illness into a health system focused on preventing disease and injury 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 people in the United States to create the healthiest country 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