|Family and Community Nursing celebrate National Public Health Week|
Despite growing health risks and a host of awareness campaigns, studies show Americans remain largely unprepared for public health emergencies. The Department of Family and Community Nursing at the College of Nursing is hoping to help change that locally with a number of projects. The projects are prompted by “Take the First Step! Preparedness and Public Health Threats: Addressing the Unique Needs of the Nation’s Vulnerable Populations,” the theme for the National Public Health Week, April 2-8.
In Grand Forks, community health students, led by instructor Amy Knutson, are working with the Public Health Department to organize outreach events during National Public Health Week. The students will help elderly individuals evaluate their level of preparedness for a disaster, and will provide education as to how to become better prepared in case of such an event. The outreach events are scheduled to take place at the local Senior Citizens Center as well as an assisted living facility.
In addition to education, attendees will have the opportunity to register for door prizes. Students have gathered supplies donated by community businesses to put together a "Disaster Preparedness Kit." “All nursing students have the opportunity to assess a community, or special population within a community, for their assets and needs related to various health issues,” said Liz Tyree, chair of the Family & Community Nursing Department.
Public health efforts also extend to the rural communities. Senior community health students, working with Tyree, have studied the response of the Northwood community in assisting evacuees from Grand Forks during the 1997 flood. In addition, these students have assessed the Northwood community's capacity to handle a similar "surge" of individuals needing assistance during a disaster today. In the coming weeks the students will drill a bomb threat and a decontamination at the Northwood Deaconess Health Center, a combined hospital and nursing home facility with an adjoining Community Health Center. In 1995, former President William Jefferson Clinton proclaimed the first full week of April as National Public Health Week (NPHW). Each year since then, the public health community has focused on issues that are important to improving the public’s health.
Every year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) serves as the organizer of NPHW and develops a national campaign to educate the public, policy makers and practitioners about issues related to the theme. For additional information, please visit their web site at www.nphw.com.