Letter to the Editor: National Public Health Week inspires student advocates

Together we can achieve a more healthy Missouri.

The Missouri Public Health Advocacy Coalition (MoPHAC) was started by a group of MU Master of Public Health students in 2012, and this year, the coalition is taking National Public Health Week to the Missouri State Capitol.

MoPHAC members have arranged to take a public health display to the Capitol and advocate for sensible public health policy decisions with state legislators featuring Medicaid expansion, smoke-free air, food safety and accessible health care for women.

National Public Health Week takes place from April 7 through April 13. It is an annual initiative of the American Public Health Association that serves to educate the public, policymakers, and practitioners about public health and prevention. This year’s theme is “Public Health: Start Here” and relates to navigating the changing world of public health. Each day highlights a different public health topic:

  • Monday, April 7: Be Healthy From the Start — Public Health Starts at Home
  • Tuesday, April 8: Don’t Panic — Disaster Preparedness
  • Wednesday, April 9: Get Out Ahead — Prevention
  • Thursday, April 10: Eat Well
  • Friday, April 11: Be the Healthiest Nation in One Generation — Best practices for Community Health

You can be included in NPHW advocacy, too. Getting involved can be as simple as writing a letter to your local newspaper or calling your elected official to ask them to support public health measures. As students, public health truly is all around us, whether we know it or not. This fact provides opportunities for students to get involved here at MU by working to enforce our smoke-free campus, improving recycling practices and making sure that campus safety remains a top priority.

We have the opportunity to take the lead and set an example of promoting health and sustainability that will lead to a lasting improvement in the quality of our campus. Other opportunities for involvement include working with your employer to implement workplace wellness initiatives, posting a public health article on your Facebook page or attending one of the many National Public Health Week events.

To learn more about this year’s NPHW topics or to find an event, visit nphw.org. Working together, we can achieve a healthy Missouri and a healthy nation.

Nick Kohlberg, MPH(C) and Kathryn Krueger, MPH,
Missouri Public Health Advocacy Coalition, mophac@gmail.com

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