ARLINGTON, Va.--November 15, 2016--On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Research!America and other health organizations urge Americans to recognize public health professionals who are steadfast in their efforts to protect us from illness and injury. Public Health Thank You Day, November 21, honors the everyday heroes who are committed to preventing the spread of harmful viruses such as Zika, addressing the opioid epidemic and antibiotic resistance, protecting us from hazards such as contaminated drinking water, and improving the health of our nation.
"It's easy to miss public health successes - you don't see the heart attacks that don't happen, the years added to the lives of those who quit smoking, or the flu death avoided because of vaccines," said Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "To all who have dedicated their careers to help us live our lives to the fullest, thank you!"
Public health heroes include community health workers, biomedical researchers, epidemiologists, nurses and many others devoted to keeping our nation healthy. Local public health departments and various institutions within our public health system work with the CDC to promote healthy communities and environments. Yet, federal funding lags behind the growing demand for public health research, leaving the CDC severely underpowered to fulfill its critical mission of safeguarding our nation's health.
"Our public health workforce works day in and day out to protect and improve the health of others. Their work affects the lives of Americans in countless ways, from treating and preventing disease outbreaks, to preparing us for natural disasters, to ensuring everyone has access to quality and affordable care," said Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association. "Thanks to the efforts of these dedicated professionals, the U.S. is on its way to becoming the healthiest nation in one generation."
"Public Health Thank You Day salutes those whose work has made a difference in protecting the health of Americans, sometimes putting their own lives at risk," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. "It's important that we not only thank them on November 21, but recognize their contributions daily as they work tirelessly to combat current and emerging health threats."
Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. Visit http://www.researchamerica.org.