The USVI Department of Health will host events from Monday through Friday in recognition of the American Public Health Association’s National Public Health Week, themed “Healthiest Nation 2030.”
The DOH announced in a news release Friday that it will will educate the community on health issues affecting Virgin Islanders and providing health tips so that individuals can make informed decisions and instill a daily regimen of healthy habits.
Realizing that government as a whole plays a significant role in maintaining the health of the public, the DOH has invited various government agencies, senators, and community partners to take part in this week’s activities, the news release said.
The department will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the lobby of the Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix and in the lobby of the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.
The DOH is also hosting a health fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the amphitheater of the Sunny Isle Shopping Center and the atrium of Tutu Park Mall. Displays, giveaways and free glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings will available. Also Wednesday, from noon to 1 p.m.the department will host a “Healthy Happy Hour” with a free workout provided by 340 Cross Fit St. Croix and Reebok Cross Fit of St. Thomas and a healthy lunch, provided by Plaza Extra West, Plaza Extra Tutu and United Way of the Virgin Islands.
According to the DOH, the U.S. lags behind peer countries in life expectancy and in a number of health measures, including poor birth outcomes, higher numbers of injuries and homicides, high instances of obesity and high risk of death from lung disease and heart disease. The U.S. also spends more on health care than comparable countries. In the USVI, chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are at an alarming rate.
“We are thrilled to host these events and energize our community around improving health,” said Commissioner of Health Michelle Davis. “National Public Health Week plays an important role in raising awareness about the public health issues that affect our nation and territory, every day, including – but not limited to – mental health, infectious diseases, chronic diseases and the like. Addressing these issues and working toward becoming a healthier nation starts right here in our community.”
Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of American Public Health Association, said the week’s events give the community to learn more about their health and healthy habits.
“National Public Health Week offers an annual opportunity to educate Americans, engage communities, garner awareness and take action on public health issues affecting individuals throughout the nation,” Benjamin said. “This year, we’re celebrating the power of prevention, advocating for healthy and fair policies, sharing strategies for successful partnerships and championing the role of a strong public health system.”
The DOH’s scheduled events will be added to the hundreds of events taking place throughout the nation. Since 1995, APHA has hosted National Public Health Week during the first full week in April. Communities, organizations, schools and others nationwide celebrate during this week to raise awareness about public health and prevention.
More information about National Public Health Week is online at www.nphw.org. More about public health efforts in the USVI can be found at doh.vi.gov or facebook.com/virginislandsdoh.
More information about Public Health Week activities in the USVI can be obtained by calling 340-626-6290.