April 6, 2022
National Health Center Week looks at our community
MOBILE, Ala. — During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the country to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW). This week is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.
The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) joins APHA in celebrating the 27th NPHW on April 4-10, 2022. This year’s theme, Public Health is Where You Are, celebrates what we know is true — the places where we are, physically, mentally, and societally affect our health and our lives. Each day during the week has a theme that focuses on the intersections of our lives that affect our health and well-being.
The Mobile County Health Department’s Health Equity Office recognizes today’s theme of “Community: Collaboration and Resilience” as a part of National Public Health Week. Community is a vital part of our overall wellbeing because it encompasses where we live, work, learn, and play.
People with higher levels of social connectedness may live longer, respond better to stress, and have stronger immune systems than those are more isolated from their community. However, it goes beyond social isolation to the how our communities are planned, designed, and built. Our built environment can have a major influence on our health and wellbeing.
For example, high rates of violence, unsafe air or water, and transportation barriers can lead to vastly different life expectancies between neighborhoods. Communities of color are more likely to live in neighborhoods with these risks, highlighting the need for interventions to ensure that everyone can live their healthiest life.
Skandan Ananthasekar, an Outreach Educator with the Health Equity Office, interviewed Tokie Dunn, Director of Community Prevention Programs, to learn from her expertise about the importance of community. Ms. Dunn’s work at MCHD gives her the opportunity to make our community better by embracing the vision for “a healthy, safe, prepared, and educated community.”
Ms. Dunn believes that our communities benefit greatly from those who are aware of limitations and disparities that exist in health care and whose passion it is to educate and link individuals and communities to the myriad of resources available. According to Ms. Dunn, meeting individuals where they are is vital in creating the trust needed for empowerment which inevitably helps to create a better-informed society.
To make an impact on public health in our community, she believes that there must be an awareness, acknowledgement, and commitment to creating change within the agency and beyond into the needed communities. However, having an innate ability to help others is only the beginning. As Ms. Dunn explains, it is necessary to foster activities and actively participate in communities to promote empowerment that will be key to creating long lasting, positive change. _____________________________________________________________________________________
This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily stand for the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.