As November 2018 comes to close, it is a good reminder to practice thankfulness and giving. Public health measures and initiatives over the past twenty years have impacted individual health through a variety of ways. National Public Health Thank You Day is recognized annually on the Monday before Thanksgiving. This is a day to recognize the tireless efforts of public health professionals across the nation working to ensure the health where you live, work, learn, and play.
As the rates of chronic disease rise and the knowledge that health outcomes are largely determined by social, economic, and environmental factors, the need for public health to work collaboratively with diverse sectors and community leaders is critical to improve health outcomes. Some of the diverse sectors who have already collaborated to ensure public health, may be unfamiliar to the general public, and how that has affected lives. For example, the ability to take shower or brush your teeth is possible through efforts of public works to ensure safe, fluoridated water, or through local, state, and national efforts of policymakers, government officials, and public health organizations to make sure your favorite restaurant is smoke-free, protecting you from the harm of second-hand smoke.
Whether you realize it not, if you volunteer in your community, you are a part of the diverse sectors of people essential to support public health. Volunteering through donations, your voice, or otherwise, provides an opportunity to support collective efforts to improve our nations health. Volunteering makes considerable impact in the lives of others. For example. according to Feeding America (2018), 51% of all food programs rely entirely on volunteers by sorting, packing or staking food, gardening or community education support to help address hunger and food insecurity in America. Volunteering has long been associated with better health outcomes in individuals. Volunteerism supports a healthy lifestyle and with further research, may even be considered a public health intervention that benefits mental health.
Through continue collaboration and engagement of diverse sectors, improving the health of nation is possible. Take the opportunity to get involved in your community and play a part in impacting the health where you live, work, learn, and play. Visit Volunteer Match to learn how to get involved in your community and be a part of the solution.
Feeding America. (2018). Volunteer: It’s easier than you think. Retrieved from https://www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/volunteer