MDCH Kicks Off Public Health Week 2007

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

April 17, 2007

LANSING-The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH)-in conjunction with its partners in local public health across the state - is recognizing National Public Health Week today, followed by a statewide awareness campaign launch next week highlighting several core health issues.

"Today we gather together to recognize the importance of our public health advocates and workers throughout the state and to illustrate how their hard work positively affects our day-to-day pursuits, as well as our families, and our communities," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "From quality drinking water to the control of infectious disease, public health has been integral in advancing our society."

Olszewski recognized five "Public Policy Champions" who have either introduced new legislation to address gaps in the state's safety net, or who have been long-time supporters and advocates of programs that are crucial to maintaining good public health - particularly in the areas of access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity, injury prevention, clean air and public health preparedness.

Michigan's 2007 Public Policy Champions include:

· State Representative Kathy Angerer-(D-Dundee)

· State Representative Edward Gaffney-(R-Grosse Pointe Farms)

· State Representative Gary McDowell-(D-Rudyard)

· State Senator Deb Cherry-(D-Burton)

· State Senator Gilda Jacobs-(D-Huntington Woods)

Dr. Greg Holzman, State Chief Medical Executive, called on individuals and organizations to work together on a community-wide approach to promote public health and emergency preparedness and to help recognize the eight extraordinary individuals, coalitions, and schools - the state's 2007 Hometown Health Heroes - that have worked collaboratively to make their community a healthier place to live and grow.

"I would like to congratulate these Hometown Health Heroes for their exceptional contributions to their local communities," Holzman said. "Their remarkable efforts, dedication, and compassion for public health have helped to create a safer and healthier Michigan."

The 2007 Hometown Health Heroes include:

· Michigan Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, Ingham County

· Kathleen Kleinert, DO, Covenant Community Care, Inc., Wayne County

· Jenny Atas, MD, FACEP, Region 2 South Co-Medical Director, Detroit Medical Center, Wayne County

· Bill Fales, MD, FACEP, Region 5 Medical Director, Kalamazoo County

· Carol Klukas, RN, Berrien County

· Beal City Schools, Isabella County

· Grand Traverse County Health Department, Grand Traverse County

· Region 7 Biodefense Network, representing the counties of northwestern lower peninsula (Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Montmorency, Benzie, Leelanau, Grand Traverse County, Charlevoix, Alpena, Crawford, Kalkaska, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, and Roscommon)

· Mary L. Spalding-Antilla, Community Health Representative for the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Gogebic County

Additional information on each Hometown Health Hero is attached.

The University of Michigan School of Public Health, Michigan State University, the Michigan Public Health Association, the Michigan Public Health Institute, and the Michigan Association for Local Public Health have partnered with MDCH to implement Public Health Week activities and promote each daily theme.

National Public Health Week 2007 focuses on empowering Americans to be prepared for public health threats with an emphasis on vulnerable populations, such as mothers with children in the household, local food banks, hourly workers, K-12 schools, and individuals with chronic health care needs.

Local health departments, community coalitions, schools, businesses, health care, and faith-based organizations are encouraged to identify areas for improvement and implement model programs for emergency preparedness. Resources are available at www.michigan.gov/michiganprepares.

To learn more about Public Health Week and events taking place across the state this week, please visit www.nphw.org.