Submitted by Thurston County

It’s National Public Health Week! Every year the first full week of April celebrates the work done nationally and locally in public health. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hearing daily about pieces of the work that public health does. But have you ever wondered, what is Public Health?

Photo courtesy: Thurston County

The CDC defines public health as the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This is done a variety of ways including education, policy-making, and research for disease and injury prevention. According to the American Public Health Association, public health “promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, work, and play.” To make that possible, public health looks at the causes of poor health and disease risk among individuals and within our communities.

Where people live, learn, work, worship, and play affects them, their health, and their life expectancy. The work of public health spans across many different sectors, partnering with public and private organizations to help improve overall health. Some examples of the types of jobs that we see in public health include emergency preparedness, health educators, food inspectors, disease investigators, community planners, epidemiologists, sanitarians, and public policymakers.

Sometimes our local public health department is confused with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). We work very closely with DOH but we are a separate health jurisdiction that is locally governed by the Thurston County Board of Health. This week we will be highlighting the work of several different areas of public health that the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department does. You will learn more about:

During this time of the global pandemic, these areas of public health are still working providing critical services to the community. All areas of our local Public Health Department work together to keep our community safe and healthy!

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