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Focus on Public Health

Friday, 03 28, 2014

Gwenda Bond or Beth Fisher,(502) 564-6786, ext. 3100 and 3101

April 7-13, 2014 is National Public Health Week

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working to promote National Public Health Week, an annual observance that focuses on critical public health issues to raise awareness and help people live longer, healthier lives. This year’s theme, “Public Health: Start Here,”  positions public health professionals as the community’s guide through the public health system to help them achieve and maintain better health by effectively navigating the available choices.

“In some way, public health touches everyone, every day in Kentucky,” said DPH Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield, M.D. “Public health lays the foundation for a healthier, safe and more secure society by implementing policies, programs and initiatives focused on prevention, outreach, targeted services and education.”

Dr. Mayfield emphasized ongoing efforts to expand public health’s influence in Kentucky, including work to obtain national accreditation, find opportunities for improvement within existing programs and focus on overall prevention of the various diseases and conditions that affect the health of Kentuckians.

“We know that investing in prevention and public health can make an enormous difference and it’s the right direction for Kentucky to move in to address poor health outcomes,” said Dr. Mayfield. “Many premature deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, staying active, and the getting recommended immunizations and screening tests.”

Efforts to promote these public health messages fall in line with the ongoing work of Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration, which last month launched a wide-ranging initiative to improve the health of Kentucky. The program, kyhealthnow, provides a detailed blueprint of the state’s future health and well-being, laying out seven major goals and targeted means of addressing each one. Specifically, the program seeks to: 
 
Reduce Kentucky’s rate of uninsured individuals to less than 5 percent.
Reduce Kentucky’s smoking rate by 10 percent.
Reduce the rate of obesity among Kentuckians by 10 percent.
Reduce Kentucky cancer deaths by 10 percent.
Reduce cardiovascular deaths by 10 percent.
Reduce the percentage of children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent, and increase adult dental visits by 10 percent.
Reduce deaths from drug overdose by 25 percent, and reduce the average number of poor mental health days of Kentuckians by 25 percent.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) serves as the organizer of National Public Health Week and develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to the chosen theme. DPH, the Kentucky Health Department Association, Kentucky Public Health Association and local health departments will be sponsoring community events that promote taking the simple preventive steps that lead to better health and lead to a healthier Kentucky.

 For more information about National Public Health Week, visit http://www.nphw.org/about. More information about Kentucky public health can be found at. http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/. More information on the governor’s initiative, kyhealthnow, can be accessed at the program’s website, http://kyhealthnow.ky.gov.

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The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Service, the Department for Income Support and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.