VDH Celebrates Public Health Week

Public Health Week is April 3rd – 9th.

Did you know that Virginia’s history of improving public health goes right back to the first colonists?   

In 1610, three years after Jamestown was founded, the first sanitation law was passed. By the mid-1630s and beyond, colonists were thinking about collecting vital statistics and regulating the practice of medicine.  

Since those early days, public health in Virginia has evolved with the establishment of the state Board of Health, in the tracking and treatment of diseases, discovery of vaccines, oversight of public water supplies, oral and maternal health, sewage treatment and so much more. 

Public Health Week begins Monday. During Public Health week, we recognize the efforts of public health workers to protect and promote the health of all Virginians. 

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has over 3,000 employees across 35 health districts and 119 local health departments.  

The VDH vision is for Virginia to become the healthiest state in the nation. Public health workers promote healthy lifestyle choices, educate the public to prepare for emergencies and other threats to health, and track disease outbreaks in the state, just to name a few. 

Employees use data-driven approaches to stay informed about diseases, drug overdoses, vaccinations and many social determinants of health such as poverty.   

Data dashboards posted on the VDH website help the public learn about how widespread some issues and diseases are in the state. Information is also available on programs, offices and topics such as substance abuse and mental health.  

VDH employees aren’t the only ones who can play a role in promoting health in the state. You can get involved by volunteering for the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps or the COVID Community Ambassadors program.  

Want to learn more about what VDH does, the history of public health and Public Health Week in Virginia? Visit the VDH website and iampublichealthva.org and watch for posts throughout the week on VDH social media sites. VDH also invites you to upload photos of you and your community participating in public health activities, like cleaning up a green space, helping someone in need, and more. Use the hashtag #IAmPublicHealth when posting your pictures.