If you thought public health only included disease prevention, think again.
The American Public Health Association is meeting to discuss fresh ways to tackle public health concerns such as poverty, violence, climate change, and drinking and driving.
The 143rd conference will focus on and expand issues that are becoming increasingly significant to human health.
The Chicago conference invites health professionals and policymakers to collaborate on solutions related to the theme of including health in all policies.
Speakers include U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, HHS acting assistant director for health Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita, Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen and Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland.
“If it hurts or kills people, it’s ours,” Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told Modern Healthcare.
Realigning the idea of health with other aspects of life will help to promote positive habits for individuals outside of the medical system. At the conference, health professionals will uncover new ways to work with police to ensure neighborhood safety.
One of the goals of this initiative is to promote more outdoor activity. Also, the conference will deal with ensuring city planning officials provide sidewalks to run or walk on.
But local issues aren’t the only topics being addressed. The conference will also focus on reducing global effects of climate change.
Hotter temperatures are linked to mosquito-borne diseases, along with dangerous storms that threaten healthcare infrastructure. But according to Benjamin, many don’t believe that climate change affects public health.
Benjamin said many “still need convincing that there’s something they can do about it.” Although public health officials have a variety of concerns, an overarching goal is to help add climate change to the overall focus.
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