MDCH Kicks Off Public Health Awareness Campaign: Includes Recognition of 2005 Hometown Health Heroes

Contact: Beth Perrine (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

April 4, 2005

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recognized National Public Health Week today in Lansing and will continue a statewide awareness campaign highlighting several core health issues throughout the week.

"We want Michigan residents to have the information they need regarding the importance of public health," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "Therefore, we are taking a proactive approach toward providing citizens with the facts - informing them about the many ways that they can improve their health."

An opening press conference was held in the Capitol Rotunda this morning and included remarks from Olszewski and Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General, along with remarks from several of Michigan's 2005 Hometown Health Heroes.

Michigan's Hometown Health Heroes - recognized annually - include eight extraordinary Michigan citizens this year. Each Hero works within his or her respective community to make Michigan a healthier place to live and grow. Heroes were selected throughout Michigan - based on merit - for their exemplary contributions to public health. Each Hometown Health Hero also went above and beyond to make a significant difference in the health and well being of their community.

The 2005 Hometown Health Heroes include: Mary Archambeau of Newberry; Christine Riddle of Lansing; Mary Stephens Ferris of Detroit; Deb Fisher of Alpena; The Pediatric and Adult Asthma Network of West Michigan in Grand Rapids: Elmer LeBlanc of Brimley: Mercy Health Clinic of Benton Harbor: and Susan Clemen-Stone, RN, MPH of Ann Arbor. Additional information on each of the Heroes is attached.

"I would like to congratulate each and every Hometown Health Hero for their exceptional contributions to their local communities," said Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General. "Their remarkable efforts have helped to create a safe and healthier Michigan for us all."

As part of National Public Health Week, MDCH is promoting awareness of a different public health issue each day this week. The campaign encourages staying informed and highlights the importance of understanding the facets of public health. Specific topics include: healthy lifestyles, childhood immunization, passenger safety, disparities, and public health preparedness.

The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), the Michigan Association of Local Public Health (MALPH), and the Michigan Public Health Association (MPHA) have partnered with MDCH to promote each public health awareness day.

National Public Health Week 2005 is about empowering Americans to live stronger, longer. Each day will focus and promote awareness of a different public health related issue. Informational events as well as free health assessments will be taking place across the state throughout the week.