National Public Health Week Begins April 5

April 1, 2004

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2004
Public Health Week
Contact: Andrea Pool at (979) 458-0773
Office of Communications
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
National Public Health Week Begins April 5
The School of Rural Public Health (SRPH), part of The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, will hold community events next week in conjunction with National Public Health Week, which runs April 5-11, 2004. Receive health information from the SRPH booth near the MSC by Rudder Fountain on April 6, 7, and 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your children to see a puppet show, Ebasneezer and the Disease Detective, put on by SRPH students at the Children’s Museum on Wednesday, April 7, and on Friday, April 9, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.
“In celebrating Public Health Week, we recognize the valuable contribution of public health professionals and the importance of prevention services to every Texan,” said Ciro V. Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M., dean of the School of Rural Public Health and Cox Endowed Chair holder. “Public health enables people to live longer, healthier lives and we want all Texans to take this message to heart.”
This year’s public health week theme, Health Disparities: Moving from Statistics to Solutions, highlights communities who have created unique ways to deal with health disparities in their area. Health disparities include ethnic and racial disparities, geographical, disease specific, community infrastructure and resources, environmental justice, health literacy, workforce diversity in the health care system, age, and gender.
At the School of Rural Public Health, much research is taking place to identify and reduce disparities. The Health Services Research Program and the Southwest Rural Health Research Center are investigating better ways of providing health care systems in rural areas and in improving long-term care needed by the elderly.
The Community Health Development (CHD) program at SRPH works with residents in their home communities to improve health. The CHD guided the Brazos Valley Health Partnership through a community assessment and helped implement programs to address issues from that assessment. (The top five issues in Brazos Valley were teen pregnancy, illegal drug use, transportation, alcohol abuse, poverty, and lack of affordable housing.)
The School is committed to reducing the disparities of public health professionals who understand and practice in rural communities. This is being addressed through SRPH’s establishment of Master of Public Health degree programs in various sites in East, Central, and South Texas–through interactive video and traveling faculty. The dean, Dr. Sumaya, recently concluded service on a task force of the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine that recommended ways to improve the diversity of the health care workforce.
“As a rule, schools of public health such as SRPH are designed to promote and protect the health and well being of all, focusing their attention at reducing health disparities,” said Sumaya. “Public health has already contributed to the longevity of the population. Hopefully our next great achievement will move us closer to eliminating health disparities.”
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.

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