National Public Health Week kicks off Monday
COLUMBIA – National Public Health Week began Monday and health departments around the state are getting involved.
National Public Health Week is celebrated the first week of April each year.
"It's an opportunity for the public health departments all across the United States to be able to share and educate the public about public health, " said Eric Stann, community relations specialist for Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ website, the theme this year is “Healthy Missouri 2030: Be an Advocate for Public Health.”
Stann said the Missouri theme "piggybacks" off of the national theme, which is "Healthiest Nation 2030."
Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services kicked off the week with free HIV testing all day Monday. Stann said HIV testing is normally offered on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons, but they used National Public Health Week to extend the Monday hours.
Stann said throughout the rest of the week the focus will be on their social media channels, mainly Twitter and Facebook. They will be used to educate the public on their services, like emergency and disaster preparedness; health for women, infants and children; and community nutrition.
"All of our programs focus on promoting, protecting the health, safety and well being of Boone County residents," Stann said.
Cole County also took to social media for National Public Health Week. The Cole County Health Department will showcase one program a day through the department’s Facebook page, according to Director Kristi Campbell.
Howard County had events and displays going on throughout the week. Starting Wednesday displays will open and the Howard County Public Health Department will be informing the public on food and environmental safety.
Wednesday will also include tobacco education with pig lungs on an interactive display. One set of lungs will be diseased and the other will be healthy.
The rest of the department’s events will be about handwashing, Medicare, the Zika virus, and vaccine updates.
Sheila Wallace, RN/administrator for the Howard County Public Health Department, said this is a “multi-focus” plan aligning with Missouri’s theme. “We are looking at building a nation of safe, healthy communities,” Wallace said.
RN/Administrator for Moniteau County Health Center Andrea Kincaid said Moniteau’s events start Wednesday as well. There will be free health screenings on Wednesday from 7:30-11 a.m. and car seat safety checks on Thursday. The department will also be utilizing social media throughout the week.
Cooper County Public Health Center pushed back its celebration of National Public Health Week. Administrator Melanie Hutton said they are aiming for next week and to the department it is a month-long celebration.
To find a health department near you click here.