New York State Department of Health Celebrates National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week Observed April 1-7

"Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We Are All Public Health" Marks This Year's Theme

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 2, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health celebrates National Public Health Week from April 1-7, in support of public health and in recognition of people who work and dedicate their lives to keeping New Yorkers healthy. This year's theme is "Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We Are All Public Health."

"National Public Health Week is a time to recognize the extraordinary work of our Health Department staff and health care workers everywhere and to highlight those who work so hard to provide accessible and equitable public health," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "This year's theme allows every aspect of public health to shine and promotes building connections and partnerships to enhance public health. And even though we are celebrating this week, we acknowledge the significance of public health every day."

At the heart of public health is health equity. Recognizing not all of us start at the same place, nor have the same advantages, health equity is about helping everyone have a fair and just opportunity to achieve optimal health. As we celebrate National Public Health Week, we honor those who do the noble work of public health every day, often in anonymity.

Each day of the week has a different theme that highlight just a few of the wide-ranging areas public health practitioner's cover. Among those areas are civic engagement, such as voting, to shape healthier communities; healthy neighborhoods where people can live, work, and play; climate change and taking action to lessen its impact on health; using new tools and innovationsto prevent disease; making reproductive care and cancer screenings available to all; and supporting emergency preparedness. The final theme is the future of public health, which recognizes that racism is a public health crisis.

The Department has implemented programs and initiatives to enhance the health of New Yorkers which also reflect the themes of the week.

The New York State Healthy Neighborhoods Program (HNP) seeks to reduce the burden of housing-related illness and injury through a holistic, healthy homes approach. The program provides in-home assessments and interventions for asthma, tobacco cessation, indoor air quality, lead, fire safety, and other environmental health hazards in selected communities throughout New York. These communities are identified as high-risk using housing, health, and socio-economic indicators from census and surveillance data.

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is an evidence-based, educational, and support program for individuals with prediabetes and/or who are at-risk for type 2 diabetes. The goal is to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes. The Department is also focuseson improving chronic disease health outcomes by using health information technology combined with quality improvement initiatives for individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other common conditions.

The Community Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) is a Department program supporting local cancer prevention and risk reduction interventions using a policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change approach. Free breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening is available for eligible, uninsured, and underinsured men and women through Cancer Services Program partnerships in every county and borough in New York State.

Comprehensive Family Planning and the Reproductive Health Care Services Program aims to support pregnant people and educate them aboutchoosing the timing and spacing of their pregnancies. The Department offers care in a confidential and respectful manner and includes Family Planning services such as birth control, emergency contraception, free condoms, sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment, and basic infertility services. At all of New York State's 160 family planning clinic sites, everyone is welcome, no matter their financial situation or insurance status.

On March 19, 2024, Governor Kathy Hochul joined New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald to sign a standing order authorizing pharmacists to dispense three types of hormonal contraception medication without a prescription. This measure makes it easier for people who have difficulty accessing a primary care provider to get safe and effective contraception at their local pharmacy, and furthers the State's mission to provide safe and legal family planning care to all.

To keep New Yorkers safe during emergencies and natural disasters, the Department supports emergency preparedness and works to provide information and support.

Recognizing that racism is a public health crisis, the Department is committed to making the State healthier for all New Yorkers, regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, language access, immigration, or socio-economic status. In recent years, the agency has implemented many programs around maternal health to improve maternal health outcomes and to address the critical issue of pregnancy-related deaths among Black pregnant people.

In addition, Governor Hochul signed a law creating a state doula directory and allocated $4.5 million to support the state's Regional Perinatal Centers to provide high-level perinatal and infant care where needed.

The Department remains committed to enhancing public health for the physical and emotional well-being of New Yorkers.