Contact: Jim Skoog, Community Health Specialist, St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services, 218-725-5240
St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services and The American Public Health Association Urge Citizens to Prepare for Health Emergencies During National Public Health Week April 2 – 8 2007
St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and hundreds of partner organizations encourage citizens to prepare for public health threats, from bioterrorism and natural disasters to disease outbreaks, during National Public Health Week, April 2-8, 2007.
The weeklong observance, “Preparedness and Public Health Threats: Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Populations,” has communities across the nation, including St. Louis County and other counties in the Arrowhead Region, exploring ways to connect all citizens, especially vulnerable populations, with resources to help them prepare for all health emergencies. Despite growing threats and a host of awareness campaigns, Americans and area citizens remain largely unprepared for public health emergencies in the aftermath of September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, and other recent disasters. A September, 2006 poll conducted by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion noted that only 31 percent of Americans have any emergency plans in place. Locally, Public Health Week focuses on family preparedness. Guy Peterson, St. Louis County Public Health Director says, “The region is working to help vulnerable populations by collaborating with agencies that serve those citizens. We all will help by being prepared at home. That is where preparedness begins.”
During the 12th annual Public Health Week event, APHA will reach out to public health officials to empower them to share resources that will enable residents to overcome barriers to create preparedness plans. Nationally, the week will focus on five core audiences who are vulnerable to health dangers: mothers with young children; local food banks; hourly workers and employees; schools serving children in kindergarten through 12th grade; and individuals with chronic health needs, such as diabetes, asthma, cancer and high blood pressure. More information on National Public Health Week 2007 may be found at www.nphw.org.
Locally, St. Louis County and the region have been working on family emergency plans and emergency kits. Resources can be obtained at preparedness displays in the lobbies of Government Services Center in Duluth, Northland Office Center in Virginia, Courthouse Annex in Hibbing and the County Government Office Building in Ely. You may also contact any public health office in St. Louis County.
Contact: Jim Skoog, St. Louis County Public Health Pandemic Influenza Team Leader, (218) 725-5240, email@example.com