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This year, just as in years past, our country will celebrate National Public Health Week the first week in April. Instead of having one central theme for the week, each day will focus on a different goal. The subject for Wednesday, April 9th is Get Out Ahead. This date is ideal to emphasize that prevention is now a nationwide priority. According to the NPHW website, “as the public health system evolves, there are more options than ever when it comes to preventive health measures. Public health and clinical health professionals must work collaboratively to help individuals identify and pursue the best preventative health options.”
Did you know that according to the Public Health and Prevention Fund Fact Sheet, APHA seven in 10 deaths in the U.S. are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer? Another striking fact is that 75 percent of our health care dollars are spent treating such diseases. However, only 3-5 percent of our health care dollars go toward prevention. These are points that Elizabeth McPhee mentioned during the Congressional Briefing described above.
H.R. 485 The National Nurse Act of 2013 and its companion bill, S. 1475 require minimal cost in comparison to the great potential for a strong return on investment. The increase in salary that would occur when the CNO USPHS is advanced in rank and made full time is nominal compared to the potential cost savings generated by having many nurses become active in prevention in their local communities. Be sure to mention this important point when communicating with members of Congress.
There are many tools and tips that we can all use to promote prevention on the NPHW website. Please take a look and get involved in health promotion and disease prevention efforts in your local community.