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Allentown Marks National Public Health Week

04/01/2019
Allentown Marks National Public Health Week
The City of Allentown marked National Public Health Week (NPHW) with a recognition ceremony this morning in City Council Chambers.

For over 20 years, American Public Health Association has served as the organizer of NPHW. According to its website, “Every year, the Association develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to each year's theme. APHA creates new NPHW materials each year that can be used during and after NPHW to raise awareness about public health and prevention.” The 2019 theme is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health.”

Allentown Health Bureau Director Vicky Kistler said the bureau’s work is much more than the well-known flu vaccine campaign. “The mission of the Allentown Health Bureau is to prevent disease and injury and to protect and promote the public’s health. Most citizens have heard about restaurant inspections, vaccination clinics and sexually transmitted disease clinics, however few realize that public health departments advocate for so much more, including quality health care for everyone, social justice and health equity, economic mobility and solid high school graduation rates.”

Mayor Ray O’Connell said he is very proud of the work of the everyday work of the bureau and its special effort innovations. “The summer fruits and vegetable mobile is an award-winning program. Our summer meals program has been recognized by the National League of Cities. Those are just two examples of outside the box thinking from the health bureau that reach needy children across the city.”

The Health Bureau staff works tirelessly to respond to citizen requests and complaints and to address areas of health not covered in a traditional doctor’s office setting. Kistler said, “Public health is about community. A physician has responsibility for the patient before him or her – public health has responsibility for the school or workplace affected by the patient, for the family contacts, the social contacts, the individuals impacted by that patient.”

The bureau recognized ten employees with more than 20 years of public health service at the ceremony. Three employees have more than 15 years and another two have more than ten years of public health service.

Kistler thanked those working in other city departments who make the bureau’s mission possible and urged the public to eat healthy, keep children up to date on vaccinations, reduce the use of plastics and protect our environment.

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