April 5-11, 2021 marks National Public Health Week (NPHW). During this time, we recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that need improvement. Governor Ralph Northam has issued a proclamation to observe NPHW in Virginia.
This year’s NPHW theme is “Building Bridges to Better Health.” Making communities safe and healthy is public health’s top priority. COVID-19 has made that even more important. Even though we won’t gather in person, social media and virtual platforms make it easier than ever for us to connect, create and take action.
We have been working to move forward by providing more than four million vaccines. Virginia’s vaccination efforts are well underway as we #VaccinateVirginia. For more information, visit: https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/
There is a NPHW toolkit available and it includes social media posts and images, as well as fliers, posters and banners. Learn more about NPHW at: http://www.nphw.org/. NPHW shareables: http://www.nphw.org/Tools-and-Tips/Shareables.
Monday, April 5: Rebuilding and Elevating the Essential Health Workforce
After a year of unprecedented times and hardship, Virginia is resilient and building connections and listening to community leaders who prioritize health for everyone. This week gives us a chance to show the progress we have made and to start building the necessary connections. Elevating the essential and health workforce is crucial to public health. Worker protections equal better health outcomes. Frontline workers deserve adequate pay, supplies and support.
Tuesday, April 6: Advancing Racial Equity
Advancing racial equity involves dismantling policies and practices that uphold racism and support inequities. We must make racial equity central to health equity. At VDH, our office of Health Equity works tirelessly to engage front-line response efforts surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. #RacismOrHealth
For more information, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/health-equity/
Wednesday, April 7: Strengthening Community and Uplifting Mental Health and Wellness
Strengthening community improves public health in the places where we live, work, play, and learn. Let’s work toward clean, well-designed, connected communities for all. At VDH, there are several programs that work consistently to reach this goal. For more information, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/vdhlivewell/healthy-living/.
COVID-19 and racism have been the dual epidemics harming mental health in our country. Uplift mental health and wellness as key parts of public health. We understand how this is affecting people.
Anyone experiencing anxiety or stress related to COVID-19 may call or text VA COPES, a free and confidential COVID-19 response warmline, at: 877-349-6428. This line is available: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. & Sat.–Sun. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Spanish speakers are available.
Thursday, April 8: Galvanizing Climate Justice
Galvanizing climate justice to address social inequities and improve our health must be part of ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to climate change. We know that building strong communities make them more resilient, so they have better health outcomes after disasters. In Virginia, our Climate Change Committee (C-3) has been working to address the health impacts of climate change. For more information, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/commissioner/administration/climate-and-health/
Friday, April 9: Constructing COVID-19 Resilience
Building COVID-19 resilience is key to moving forward. It’s important to invest in public health, promote sound practices and act based on science. The data is clear: when we act backed by public health science, health outcomes improve. Non-medical mask-wearing by 75% of the population reduced infections, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 by 37.7%. States and local counties that enforced stay-at-home orders saw significantly decreased COVID-19 incidence and death rates.
Join us for the “Constructing COVID-19 Public Health Resilience” webinar, Friday, April 9, 12:30-1:15 p.m. Featuring State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver, MD, MA; Stan McChrystal and Chris Fussell from the McChrystal Group. Join the conversation at the webinar link.