The Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE), Research America, and American Public Health Association (APHA), along with other public health organizations are recognizing and thanking public health professionals for their role in keeping populations educated and healthy.
Public health professionals include those in research, academia, education, and healthcare. These leaders have a variety of designations after their names such as MPH, CHES, RN, BSN, MSN, MD, PhD, and others.
The vast landscape of public health issues encompasses obesity, disease prevention, educating and assisting pregnant and parenting teens, substance use issues, gun laws, classroom education, and even educating parents about adolescent sexual health!
To honor and celebrate those in public health, I am reposting this piece originally published in April of 2015:
Today is the final day of National Public Health Week 2015. The theme-of-the-day is Building on 20 Years of Success. We are continually faced with diverse public health issues such as obesity and poverty, however great strides have been made over the last century, especially the last two decades.
Combating infectious disease is one of the ten great accomplishments of public health professionals over the last decade. The discovery of penicillin has saved countless lives. A friend recently reminisced about a conversation she had with her grandfather many years ago. He was a physician in the military tending to the countless wounded soldiers that crossed his path. Recovery was tough, if they made it at all. Then a magic medication, penicillin, arrived on the scene, and the previously doomed soldiers recovered so quickly her grandfather was in amazement.
Today it seems impossible there was ever a time antibiotics did not exist. A visit to the doctor for a relatively simple ailment often results in a prescription for one of the many antibiotics available. We do not think twice as we gulp the remedy. However, using antibiotics on infections that are not even caused by bacteria (like for viral infections such as a cold), not taking them correctly (you must take the full course as directed by your doctor – do not save some ‘for later’), and use in the livestock and food production industry (this is probably the leading driver of resistance) has resulted in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to Caitlin Cook of UC Berkeley.
Gonorrhea, a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), is one of the recent infections effected by the antibiotic-resistant bacteria phenomenon. More and more cases are difficult to treat with the typical regimen of antibiotics, baffling doctors. This, and other diseases, has professionals in the public health field scrambling.
Let’s hear it for Infectious Disease Specialists!
Yesterday a news release, Researchers get $5.8 million NIH grant to fight drug-resistant microbes, was published announcing Dr. Lee Riley’s research lab at UC Berkeley had been granted a tidy sum to extensively research this immediate health concern. Caitlin Cook, a researcher under Dr. Riley stated, “Holy Cow!”. Yes, it was a joyous day in the lab.
So, take a minute to consider those who work behind-the-scenes. Infectious disease experts travel the world using their science and medical skills and knowledge to tirelessly research causes and cures of disease. These brilliant scientists travel to third-world and developing countries to assess emerging health concerns while risking their own personal health. Remember the Ebola crisis recently? It may not be headlining the news of late, but rest assured, infectious disease pros are hard at work researching potential preventatives and cures for Ebola.
For many infectious disease specialists a work day might encompass many time zones and unusual locales – all in one day – to share ideas and expertise to others. I have chosen the final day of National Public Health Week 2015 to honor the infectious disease specialists who often work tirelessly behind-the-scenes to ensure global well-being.
Infectious disease experts, along with all public health professionals, work together as a global community of caregivers.
Very cool, if you ask me.
Global communities working together: Caitlin Cook and Mohammad Moydul, known to his friends as Polash, researching antimicrobial-resistant bacteria at icddr,b in Dhaka, Bangladesh.