In the spirit of the holiday season, we should all pause and recognize the things we are grateful for. Though our focus is often on family, friends, the roof over our heads and the food on our tables, the continued health of our loved ones remains at the forefront.
As we gather for what may be the first time in almost two years and look at the faces of our family and friends without the buffer of a screen, we must also remember those who helped us get here, those who faced the pandemic head-on and continue to work tirelessly to promote the wellness of our communities.
Members of the public health space have stood strong and demonstrated tremendous resilience while working to protect our state in the face of one of the greatest health crises in modern history. With commitment and ingenuity, these public health heroes have not just managed the COVID-19 pandemic, but have continued to also respond to emergencies, combat opioid and drug abuse, ensure the safety of our air and water, promote maternal and child health, create awareness of chronic disease prevention, correct health misinformation and prepare for future health crises. These are not easy tasks, especially in the face of many environmental and institutional challenges that are unique to Indiana.
That is why the Indiana Public Health Association is joining the American Public Health Association and Research!America along with organizations and leaders from across the country to recognize the Public Health Thank You Day initiative to publicly salute our public health heroes.
The dedicated staffs of Indiana’s 94 local health departments and the Indiana Department of Health comprise our core governmental public health workforce and are on the front lines in protecting Hoosiers. Still, healthy people and places rely upon the combined efforts of professionals across many disciplines and sectors. We ask you to join us in giving thanks to the epidemiologists who helped control disease spread, the public health nurses who are critical to vaccination efforts, local health officers who balance public safety and politics, the inspectors who ensure Hoosiers have a healthy food supply, the health educators who publicize accurate information, the community health workers who promote maternal health and address barriers in access to care, the clinical care providers who prevent and treat illness and so many others who work to promote and protect the health of communities throughout Indiana.
It is impossible to thank every person who contributes to public health efforts in our state, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Learn more about Public Health Thank You Day by visiting publichealththankyouday.org or reach out to your local health department and join us in thanking our public health heroes.
Ellie Hansotte is president of the Indiana Public Health Association. Joan Trendell is president-elect of the Indiana Public Health Association.
This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: We should remember those who faced the pandemic head-ion