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Iowa Celebrates National Public Health Week

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Public health partners across the state are observing National Public Health Week, April 6-12, by raising awareness about how public health promotes and protects the health of Iowans. In Iowa, the theme for this year's observance is "Public Health Modernization as a Foundation for a Healthy Iowa."

Governor Chet Culver recognized the need for a modernized public health system in a proclamation he signed earlier this week. "Although Iowans in a particular county may have access to a number of public health services and an adequate public health infrastructure, there is no assurance that a basic level of those same services and infrastructure is available to all Iowans," the proclamation reads. "Hundreds of public health partners from across the state spent four years developing the Iowa Public Health Standards to describe the basic services and infrastructure that all Iowans-no matter where they live-can reasonably expect from local and state public health."

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Building upon these newly developed standards, a project called the Iowa Public Health Modernization Initiative is now underway. In addition to telling Iowans about this important project, public health partners across the state are using National Public Health Week to showcase how public health touches the lives of those they serve. This will allow communities to see how a modernized public health system will benefit them.

"People may not realize it, but public health is everywhere in Iowa," said Iowa Department of Public Health Director Tom Newton. "It's in the water we drink and on the sidewalks and bicycle paths we use every day. Public health is in our children's vaccinations and it's there for us when emergencies threaten our health. During National Public Health Week, I encourage all Iowans to learn how public health promotes and protects their health."

Public health services in the recently completed Iowa Public Health Standards include: prevent epidemics and the spread of disease; protect against environmental hazards; prevent injuries; promote healthy behaviors; and prepare for, respond to and recover from public health emergencies.