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National Public Health Week: Working Toward a Healthier Society

The National Public Health Week aims to highlight important issues that affect the nation’s public health. Get involved and be part of this initiative.

The pandemic has highlighted the important role that public health professionals play in nation-building. They have always been on the frontlines in ensuring society’s health; but in times past, they have been relegated to the background. National Public Health Week (NPHW) aims to change that by underscoring public health’s contribution as well as current issues that are important to improving the health of our society.

The History of National Public Health Week

An initiative of the American Public Health Association, National Public Health Week started in 1995. It is celebrated every first week of April. Over the years, communities from different parts of the country come together to rally around important initiatives. It’s also a time when public health professionals come together and use their collective knowledge and skills to tackle important and relevant issues that affect public health.

Every year, the event revolves around one central theme. In 2021, it was “Building Bridges to Better Health.” This year the theme is “Public Health is Where You Are” to recognize the need to shape more inclusive policies so that public health is fair for all.

National Public Health Week: What to Expect

One of April's national days, this week-long event brings to the fore different relevant issues. National Public Health Week presents an opportunity for brilliant minds to come together and make a difference on these issues or topics:

• Racism: A Public Health Crisis (Monday)

• Public Health Workforce: Essential to our Future (Tuesday)

• Community: Collaboration and Resilience (Wednesday)

• World Health Day: Health is a Human Right (Thursday)

• Accessibility: Closing the Health Equity Gap (Friday)

• Climate Change: Taking Action for Equity (Saturday)

• Mental Wellness: Redefining the Meaning of Health (Sunday)

How to Celebrate and Participate in National Public Health Week

Whether you’re a student, community organizer, or public health professional, there are many ways to participate in this annual event. Here are some of the practical ways you can get involved:

Be a Partner

You can become a partner by helping spread the word about NPHW. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even organize a local NPHW event in your community. In return, NPHW organizers will post your local event on the NPHW website and Twitter account.

Be Part of the Conversation

You can put your social media account to good use by promoting NPHW and its events. In addition, UnitedHealth Group has sponsored NPHW Twitter Chat, which will happen on April 6, 2:00-3:00 PM ET. This is your chance to learn from public health leaders and organizations. You can also join the conversation and answer some questions using the hashtag, #NPHWChat.

Attend Events

This week-long program will feature lots of events so there’s always something for everyone. Here are APHA events that you may be interested in:

“Public Health is Where You Are” Forum

The week-long event will kick off with a forum with the central theme of NPHW 2022 as the main topic. This forum examines how collaboration with community leaders can create a strong foundation for change to happen so that public health is equitably accessible for all regardless of color or religion. This will be held on Monday, April 4, 1:00 - 3:00 PM ET.

In the later part of the afternoon, APHA’s American Journal of Public Health will take attendees down memory lane. This webinar will delve into the history of public health weeks. From National Negro Health Week in the first half of the 1900s to the current National Public Health Week hosted by APHA. This is scheduled for Monday, 5:00-6:00 PM ET.

Student Day

April 5 is Student Day. As a backbone of public health, students are tomorrow’s workforce, and they play a major role in shaping the future. That’s why a day is designated for them in NPHW.

The first event of the day is a mentoring webinar wherein the audience will learn about mentor-mentee relationships and how to hone their mentoring skills. Best practices to support the future workforce of public health will also be tackled.

Panelists include Bryan O. Buckley, DrPH, MPH, a Fellow with Medstar Health Institute for Quality and Safety, and Jean E. Dolin, a trilingual humanitarian who works to promote immigrants’ and LGBTQ rights. Tiara Scott, APHA Student assembly mentoring co-chair, will serve as the moderator. This webinar will be held on Tuesday, April 5, at 12:00 noon ET.

In the afternoon, a panel discussion with young professionals titled, “Get Hired After Graduation”, will be held. This webinar is for students who are about to graduate or those who are looking for a career change. The audience will learn how to navigate the application process to secure the right public health job.

Panelists include Arianne Noorestani, Project Communication Support Specialist, Aleigha Spaulding, MPH, an epidemiologist at the Tennessee Department of Health, Maddie Kinscher, a Marshfield Clinic Health System Community Corp member, and Zamir Brown, MPH, FRSPH, a de Beaumont Foundation senior program associate. Holly Plackemeier, Affiliate Manager at APHA, will serve as the moderator. This webinar will be held on April 5, 5 PM ET.

Members of the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge will hold a two-part session. Community members, public health professionals, advocates, and local organizers are invited to join this session, where you will learn how community initiatives and collaboration could lead the charge in promoting systemic change and improvement in public health. This session will be held on Wednesday, April 6, 3:30-5:00 PM ET.

Aside from these APHA-sponsored events, there are other universities- and local community-sponsored events that are worth checking out. Here’s are some that you may want to attend:

National Healthy Schools Day - A Virtual Summit on Climate, Children, and Schools

April 5-6, 2022

Start time: 12:45 PM

Presented by Dr. Nicholas Comninellis, MD, MPH, DIMPH, President of the Institute for International Medicine

April 7, 2022, 12:00-1:00 PM ET

Voices from the Field: Centering Wellbeing as a Public Health Professional


Spring Schmidt, Executive Director, Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence

Jennifer, Brinkmann, President, Alive & Well Communities

Serena Muhammad, Deputy Director, St. Louis Mental Health Board

Ethan Wankum, epidemiologist, St. Louis County Dept. of Public Health


Dr. Darcy Scharff, Professor in Behavioral Science

April 7, 2022, 12:00-1:00 PM ET

Presented by Dr. Nicholas Comninellis, MD, MPH, DIMPH, President of the Institute for International Medicine

April 7, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Presented by Dr. Jennie Noll, Temple University

April 7, 2022, 5:00-7:00 PM ET

National Public Health Week is all about ensuring our communities’ well-being today and in the years to come. It’s also about making public health equitable. These are ideals worth pursuing, and you can be a part of this initiative.


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