Why Do We Celebrate National Public Health Week?
According to the World Health Organization, the United States ranks worse than average in a number of health-related statistical categories. Our life expectancy is 78.8 years, which ranks 34th in the world behind Japan, South Korea, Israel, and Greece. Health issues like obesity, cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes are widespread and are increasing rapidly across our population. As a provider of health care services and/or data and knowledge, you likely have a deep understanding of these challenges, and in fact see and hear about them daily from patients and customers.
Prevention is the most beneficial and cost-effective treatment for these and many other conditions and diseases. Unfortunately, health, fitness, and nutrition are not often a top priority of the general public. That’s why it’s so important that National Public Health Week provides businesses and organizations an opportunity to draw attention to these issues that aren’t always fun or easy to talk about.
National Public Health Week takes place during the first week of April each year. Let’s use this time to progress healthy agendas and inform our communities to make better health decisions.
Ways to Promote Change on a Local Level
“Building the Foundation for a Healthy America” is the goal and slogan of National Public Health Week. Started in 1995 by the American Public Health Association, one component NPHW uses to help influence the public and policymakers about health-conscious issues is through lobbying. Many community leaders seek reform to America’s health care system and amplify health education during this time. Why not join them in their effort to affect local change?
Your place of work may be progressive and opinionated, or it may be more conservative when it comes to speaking on governmental issues. In either case, be sure to discuss any marketing or promotional ideas thoroughly with your HR department before implementation. Whether it’s a soda tax, smoking ban, or a bill related to harmful pesticides or pedestrian trails and bicycle lanes, your institution likely knows of one or a few legislative issues whose outcome could affect your patients or key demographic.
Here are a few ways you might promote awareness of a central issue within your city or community:
- Provide literature – If you have an office that’s open to the public, you might offer your patients or visitors reading material produced in-house that offers facts, findings, and statistics on the issue so that they may become more educated on the subject. Be sure to include a website where they can go to learn more! If you have the manpower, you can even put together a good old-fashioned street team to hang flyers and place brochures in local shops, restaurants, and public spaces to help get the word out.
- Encourage conversation on social media – Use your company’s platform as an outlet for discussion and education on topics important to health advocates and professionals. This is a great way to entice user participation while helping to educate fans and followers about health-related issues.
- Attend local meetings, town hall sessions, or host a panel discussion of your own – Invite a few prominent speakers to assemble and chat about the issue openly, or attend an important public function discussing the issue. There are plenty run by the American Public Health Association during NPHW each year.Invite your employees to attend, both in support of the business and as a way to network and advance their knowledge of the subject. Invite patients and customers to join as well, either in person, through social media, or by email. Engaging with them outside of office hours will strengthen your relationship and increase their loyalty, providing fuel for word of mouth referrals. By attending or hosting your own educational meeting, you may even score an interview with a local television station or reporter, earning free publicity for the issue at hand, as well as your practice or organization.
Sharing knowledge and information on public health issues is not only advantageous to patients and customers, but to your employees as well. By helping your colleagues to be more informed, you give them the tools to speak on these and other issues that they are passionate about, and allow them a more active, vocal role within the organization.
If you plan to promote one or more public issues within your institution, your employees will be a great asset in the planning and carrying out of campaigns that promote community awareness!
Ideas for Activities & Marketing Strategies to Help Raise Awareness of Public Health Issues
Real change starts with individual people, so ask your team how you can work to promote knowledge and awareness on a personal level. National Public Health Week carves out a specific period of time during which you can designate to promoting important and widespread issues, but you can work to increase awareness on any number of health concerns year-round!
Focus your efforts on a few core issues that your business or nonprofit cares about, and work together to advocate for and create campaigns around them. Your organization may…
- Host reoccurring workshops, classes, or trainings to inspire healthy lifestyle choices
- Create a blog, newsletter, or email marketing strategy that educates patients, employees, and/or customers on important issues
- Encourage patients or consumers to participate in a public challenge or contest that advances health advocacy or inspires healthy personal choices
- Educate your followers and the community at large through entertaining and educational media that can be hosted and shared online, such as videos, podcasts, and workbooks
- Rent a table or booth at a local event or conference where the health issue you are passionate about would be of interest. Use this opportunity to teach the public, as well as network with those who may become potential partners or sponsors of future initiatives
- Offer visitors or customers free items or gifts that promote healthy living and serve as a reminder of health, fitness, or nutrition goals to keep those issues top-of-mind
Examples of Gifts and Giveaways that Promote Public and Personal Health
While the United States has made huge strides in health education and reform in the past decades, there is still much more to be done. Use National Public Health Week as an excuse to celebrate our national victories thus far, and inform on issues that still require rapt attention and action. When you align your organization with issues that matter to public health and wellness, you’re showing patients and customers that you’ll go above and beyond to ensure their well-being, too.