Mar 28, 2016

Texas Department of State Health Services Celebrates National Public Health Week 2016

In honor of National Public Health Week 2016, RWJF Public Health Nurse Leader Monica Hughes, RN, BSN, Director of Public Health Nursing at the Texas Department of State Health Services shares how the Texas Department of State Health Services will be celebrating. 

The statement may seem obvious, but the concern of public health is improving the health of populations.  In Texas, those populations are made up of families and individuals in diverse communities.  The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) mission, “Improving health and well-being in Texas”, mentions both health and well-being.  This means we are focused on not only combating disease and injury, but also on promoting a culture of health in our state.

National Public Health Week is celebrated around the country the first week of April.  It is intended to be a week of recognition of the work accomplished by public health (how we have improved), as well as to highlight what those issues are that are keeping us from greater health (how we need to improve).  In Texas, we have seen decreases in the rate of adult smoking, obesity, driving deaths related to alcohol use, and teen pregnancy.  We have seen improvements in childhood immunization rates.  These gains are balanced by those things we are working to improve, such as adult and childhood obesity rates, improving access to healthy food in all Texas neighborhoods, and improved rates of physical activity.

In Texas, DSHS’ Division for Regional and Local Health Services, at central office and throughout our health service regions, will hold National Public Health Week activities to educate and engage state employees and the communities they serve. Activities will include immunization clinics, wellness workshops, health fairs, overviews of the services provided by our public health regions, workshops in partnership with universities, and many other events.  These annual happenings bring people together around the common purpose of making the lives of Texans healthier.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has proclaimed April 4 – 10, 2016, Public Health Week in Texas.  Several local jurisdictions have also received proclamations by mayors and city councils.  These proclamations bring awareness to the work of public health in building safer and healthier communities, promoting education, eliminating social disparities, bringing healthy food choices to every neighborhood, connecting people to quality care, and being prepared for public health emergencies.  This work is what public health is all about.  Please join us in celebrating National Public Health Week, and take action for health in your own community.