Recognizing the Importance of Public Health in our Communities

Public Health acts as a great service to North Dakotans. Public health professionals work to protect and promote healthy lifestyles of people and communities by conducting research to track the spread of infectious diseases and educating the public on how to stay healthy – avoiding injury and illness.  We turn to public health for many services, and the local public health providers have gone above and beyond to fight for the health of communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC has outlined 10 essential public health services that support individual and community health:

  1. Monitoring health status to identify and solve community health problems
  2. Diagnosing and investigating health problems and health hazards in the community
  3. Informing, educating, and empowering people about health issues
  4. Mobilizing community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems
  5. Developing policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
  6. Enforcing laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
  7. Linking people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable
  8. Assuring competent public and personal health care workforce
  9. Evaluating effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services
  10. Researching for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems

Visual showing public health services from assessment to policy development to assurance

SOURCE: CDC 10 Essential Public Health Services

As a way to say thank you to local public health providers across the state, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is supporting National Public Health Week, which runs April 4-10 this year.

With this year’s National Public Health Week theme being “Public Health is Where You Are,” we would really like to celebrate the lengths public health has gone to, and continue to go, to meet the community where they are at. There are 28 Local Public Health Units in North Dakota, operating 52 offices in 50 counties statewide. These local public health providers have gone to great lengths to ensure health equity, accessible health care, and quality services – and for that, we thank them.

In our state, access to health care is a major hurdle in rural areas. Local Public Health Units are critical in bridging that gap and making health care and related services more accessible to all North Dakotans. We express our deepest gratitude to our local public health partners for everything they do to keep our state healthy.

-Dr. Nizar Wehbi, North Dakota State Health Officer

According to the American Public Health Association, there is a significant difference in health status, such as obesity, poor mental health, and drug use, among people living in rural areas compared with people living in urban areas, and this variance increases because rural residents are often more likely to face social determinants that negatively impact health, such as poverty, transportation barriers and lack of economic opportunity.

Public health professionals help communities prevent, prepare for, withstand, and recover from the impact of a full range of health threats, including disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, measles, natural disasters and disasters caused by human activity. Public health action—together with scientific and technological advances—has played a major role in reducing and, in some cases, eliminating the spread of infectious disease, and in establishing today’s disease surveillance and control systems.

Learn more about National Public Health Week, or get information on Local Public Health Units in North Dakota.