By Tom Udall Press Office
U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) introduced a resolution in Congress to designate this week, April 1st through 7th, as National Public Health Week, as a part of his efforts to continue working toward a healthier New Mexico and healthier America. A similar resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.).
“National Public Health Week is a time to reflect on the hard work we have done to create healthier communities and to recognize the invaluable work done by public health professions in New Mexico and across the country,” said Udall. “It is critical we continue to invest in public health programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and focus on the pressing public health challenges facing our communities in New Mexico and across the country. From fighting the opioid epidemic to addressing the alarming rate of youth e-cigarette use – we must build on recent success to ensure healthier future generations.”
Since 1995, the U.S. has observed the first week of April as National Public Health Week. The theme of this year’s National Public Health Week is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health,” and the week recognizes the contributions that the public health community has made in improving our nation’s health and achieving health equity. National Public Health Week 2019 is being observed by the Congressional Public Health Caucus and other members of Congress supportive of public health, as well as the American Public Health Association (APHA) and other public health organizations and professionals.
“Despite America being one of the world’s wealthiest nations, U.S. life expectancy is declining, we face high maternal and infant mortality rates, and our country faces a wave of deaths from drug overdoses and cigarette smoking. Our public health system is essential to addressing the root causes of these problems,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “This National Public Health Week, I’m pleased to salute public health organizations and professionals for all their efforts to help people pursue healthy behaviors, prevent illness and injury, and lower their health care costs. As we fight to keep Americans well and achieve health equity for all, our public health system will be a crucial partner in our work.”
“APHA is grateful to Rep. Roybal-Allard, Sen. Udall, Rep. Wittman, Rep. McGovern and all of our public health allies in the House and Senate who have raised their voices in support of National Public Health Week,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “Their committed leadership and support for public healthcare essential to our goal of creating the healthiest nation in one generation.”
In addition to Udall, the resolution is sponsored by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Angus King (I-Maine), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).