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30-day spotlight on Illinois public health departments designed to raise awareness

Jacksonville Journal-Courier - 4/3/2024

Apr. 2—The Illinois Department of Public Health's observance of National Public Health Week is expanding into the entirety of April as it celebrates "30 Days of Public Health."

Educational activities are scheduled throughout the month with the theme, "Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We Are All Public Health." The goal is to raise awareness about all public health does to keep individuals healthy and safe.

Activities will highlight the purpose of public health departments and their connection to the health care system, the profession in general and the career options it provides.

A centerpiece of the month will be the Illinois Infectious Disease Conference in Bloomington on April 23-24 with the theme "Emerging Stronger." More than two dozen speakers are scheduled, including a keynote address from Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, author of "A Guide to Inoculating Yourself Against Anti-Vax Propaganda."

"As we commemorate National Minority Health Month and broaden National Public Health Week into a monthlong celebration, our goal is to raise awareness about the many ways our public health systems help Illinois residents," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Sameer Vohra said.

Observed annually in April, National Minority Health Month raises awareness about health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minority populations. This year's theme is "Be the Source for Better Health: Improving Health Outcomes Through Our Cultures, Communities, and Connections."

The focus of minority health month is on ways partnerships, cultural knowledge, and community-driven initiatives can work to help eliminate health disparities and accelerate health equity.

Four in 10 Illinoisians are from racial and ethnic minority populations. However, diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, HIV, substance abuse, infant mortality, and COVID-19 infection and deaths rates remain higher among these populations.


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