What does National Public Health Week mean for your community?

Public Health Week is a celebration that brings awareness to public health and helps promote heathly communities

While a doctor treats individuals, public health looks at the health of a community.

The City of San Antonio Metro Health wants to continue to uphold its vision of healthy people thriving in a healthy community and celebrate National Public Health Week.

What is National Public Health Week, and why is it important?

National Public Health Week is a celebration that has taken place for over 25 years and is anchored to the American Public Health Association, according to Metro Health Director Claude A. Jacob.

“It’s an opportunity for us to heighten the awareness around what public health is and what public health does,” Jacob said.

To do this, Metro Health focuses on the 3 “P’s” of Public Health.

  • Prevent the spread of disease or injury.
  • Promote healthier lifestyles.
  • Protect the community at large.

How did COVID-19 impact public health across the country?

“It’s been all COVID, all the time for the last three years, and most of us can recall how the world stopped three years ago. March Madness had a whole meaning back then,” Jacob said.

Moving forward, Metro Health officials wanted to prepare for the pivot.

To address the impacts of the pandemic, Metro Health has taken action by keeping track of the transmission rates, listening to residents, and talking to community partners.

While COVID-19 has exacerbated many conditions on the ground, Jacob said Metro Health rolled out the SA Forward plan a year ago as a way to take action.

The SA Forward Plan is a multi-year plan that will run for the next few years.

It focuses on access to care, data & technology infrastructure, food insecurity and nutrition, mental health and community resilience, health equity and social justice, and violence prevention.

“COVID-19 has revealed truths about our city that require bold action. We cannot ignore the needs of our city’s most marginalized neighborhoods--we have an opportunity to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. The Metro Health SA Forward Plan is a roadmap that not only defines success but ensures greater transparency as we work toward our goals,” the Metro Health website said.

For those interested in learning more about public health, you can visit Metro Health’s website. Metro Health’s is also hosting a free Public Health Fest on April 6, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Mission Marquee Plaza.