National Public Health Week 2016
The first week in April is an important week in the public health community. The American Public Health Association uses this week to bring national attention to goals and initiatives to improve the health of our nation. The theme for National Public Health Week 2016 is Healthiest Nation 2030. The goal is to create the healthiest nation in one generation – by 2030. Despite improvements, Americans have shorter life spans and more health issues when compared to other high-income countries. People with disabilities are a part of this and future generations; therefore these goals cannot be achieved without the inclusion of people with disabilities. These efforts must work to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in public health programs in order to achieve the goals of creating the healthiest nation.
National Public Health Week highlights 8 different areas that are integral to promoting health including education, health care, nutrition, social justice, communities, climate change, infrastructure, and economics. Instead of addressing the health needs of people with disabilities in a “specialized” environment, we must continue to promote integration in existing and future community health promotion programs. These efforts will build a nation of healthy, safe communities that include ALL Americans. Disability and public health focused organizations need to also continue to expand collaborations, training and knowledge dissemination within the public health community at the local, state and national level. This will strengthen the capacity of the public health community to address the needs of people with disabilities and include everyone in health promotion programs.
When the goals of organizations overlap the potential for change grows. The goals outlined as a part of National Public Health Week are closely aligned with the goals of disability and public health focused organizations to achieve positive health outcomes for everyone. As people with disabilities are included in increasing numbers of existing and future public health programs, the goal of creating the healthiest nation in one generation is an achievable one for all.