Since 1995, communities across the country have celebrated the first full week of April as National Public Health Week. This year during April 4-10, 2011, the Peoria City/County Health Department will celebrate the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the health of the community.
“Public health departments contribute to health by protecting the water we drink, the food we eat, and providing health protection through immunizations,” says Greg Chance, Public Health Administrator for Peoria City/County Health Department. “Additionally, it is the local health department that serves as the sentinel to ensure that infectious diseases do not gain a foothold in our community.”
Many public health issues affect the health of Peoria County residents. As evidenced in the 2nd annual County Health Rankings Report released this week by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Peoria County has work to do to better its rank of 61 out of 102 Illinois counties for health outcomes. Such factors and behaviors as premature death, smoking, drinking, STDs, teen births, unemployment, and single-parent households are all significant issues that affect the health outcomes in Peoria County.
Community response in Peoria County to last year’s Rankings sparked a concerted effort toward health improvement plans. As the project facilitator in Community Health Improvement Planning, the Peoria City/County Health Department has joined key Peoria County community health system stakeholders to identify and strategize on strategic health issues to improve health outcomes in the areas of Oral Health, Obesity, and Reproductive Health.
“The community health system includes everyone who has a responsibility to promote good health in our communities,” Chance adds. “If just one neighborhood makes its public park more accessible, one employer launches an exercise program, one group of people join together to bring fresh fruit to school, or one health center offers a vaccination program, we can create a collage of community health successes. Celebrate public health success and strategies for health improvement during National Public Health Week and all year long as we work together to create, “A Healthier America: One Community at a Time.”
For more information about Peoria City/County Health Department and public health issues, visit our website at www.pcchd.org or “Like” us on Facebook.