During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW) as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. This year, the theme is, “Healthiest Nation 2030.” Each day of the week highlights a different aspect of public health and portrays just how important public health programs and services are in creating healthier communities.
- Monday, April 6: Raising the Grade. The U.S. trails other countries in life expectancy and other measures of good health, and this holds true across all ages and income levels. Too many people, including some of our political leaders, still believe we have the best health care in the world. We have great doctors, state-of-the-art hospitals and are leaders in advanced procedures and pharmaceuticals - yet our health ranks poorly when compared to other countries. To kick off NPHW 2015, the public health community will come together to talk frankly about what the data reveal about America’s public health.
- Tuesday, April 7: Starting from Zip. Today, your zip code says too much about your health. Within the United States, there are unacceptable disparities in health by race and ethnic group, state by state and even county by county. The effort to make the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation starts with equity across our communities. During the second day of NPHW 2015, the public health community will shine a light on local/state/regional disparities. We’ll come together to discuss the role – and success – of the Affordable Care Act in addressing disparities in access to care, while also laying out what else is needed to achieve health equity across our communities.
- Wednesday, April 8: Building Momentum. Influential leaders, companies and organizations are taking important steps in line with creating the healthiest nation: just look at recent actions by CVS, America’s major food and beverage companies, RWJF, the American Planning Association, Michelle Obama, and many others. On the third day of NPHW 2015, the public health community will outline major recent changes and what they mean for our health. While the outcomes of these changes will play out over many years ahead, these are significant shifts that demonstrate these are significant shifts that demonstrate momentum is building around a higher commitment to our nation’s public health.
- Thursday, April 9: Building Broader Connections. In the work to become the healthiest nation, we can’t do it all on our own. We have to expand our partnerships to collaborate with city planners, education officials, public, private and for-profit organizations – everyone who has an impact on our health. During NPHW 2015, the fourth day will focus on communities mapping the network of partners and connections needed in their areas to make the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation.
- Friday, April 10: Building on 20 Years of Success. 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of APHA coordinating National Public Health Week, and the accomplishments of the public health community over the last two decades are significant, such as a 25-year improvement in the average lifespan for Americans and a 70 percent reduction in HIV/AIDS-related deaths. During the fifth day of NPHW 2015, the public health community (and especially public health student leaders!) will come together to celebrate these and other accomplishments and bring a renewed focus to the work ahead - and what it will take to become the Healthiest Nation in One Generation.