Medical staff in meeting

In the midst of the most challenging public health crisis of a lifetime, recognizing the impact of public health professionals on communities and lives is more important than ever. While these individuals are worthy of daily praise, National Public Health Week sets aside April 5-11, 2021, as a designated time of celebration.

With a theme of “Building Bridges to Better Health”, this year’s National Public Health Week aims to strengthen connections and address underlying issues exposed during the pandemic. The website offers a variety of resources and healthcare stakeholders are encouraged to use the hashtag #ThankYouPublicHealth on social media networks. Daily themes and fact sheets highlight seven priority topics to build healthier communities, including racial equity and mental health.

Renae Moch, MBA, FACMPE, director of Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, offered reflections from the pandemic.

“Public health’s role has always been to promote and protect the health and safety of the people and the communities we serve. Normally public health operates behind the scenes, but the COVID-19 pandemic propelled public health into the forefront of emergency response efforts across the state.

We’ve adapted to meet the needs of the community by offering contact tracing and case investigation, public education, COVID-19 testing and now vaccinations. These responsibilities have been in addition to the normal daily operations of the public health department, which is something many forget.

Making smart investments in public health now can both accelerate COVID-19 response and strengthen public health systems long-term. Investments in public health and prevention are undervalued, but extremely important.”

“We made it our mission to keep pushing forward and to keep the residents in our communities healthy and safe, and that is certainly something to be proud of.”