LAST WEEK was National Public Health Week (NPHW), a week that has been celebrated for 25 years to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

Sadly, this year the week fell just as we were being told by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, “This is going to be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” in reference to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Now more than ever, the critical role of public health workers in keeping our nation healthy and safe is clearly apparent. Our thanks go out to our New Hampshire public health partners at the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) and local public health agencies as they work countless hours to track this virus, follow contacts, face the media, and strategically plan to lessen the effects of this pandemic and address the needs of the people in our state.

While these efforts are critical and invaluable, public health is and has been so much more than COVID-19. We hope that you will join us in celebrating National Public Health Week by looking back at public health’s successes and moving forward to eliminating health disparities.

Every year, New Hampshire public health workers educate people about the flu and give out the flu vaccine. They help pass laws to eliminate smoking in public places and to ensure that children ride in car seats and are screened for lead poisoning. Public health workers develop home visiting programs to promote the health and well-being of pregnant women and their children. They implement falls prevention programs for seniors to keep them living safely in their own homes.

It is public health workers who review data to understand the health disparities that exist among some populations, such as higher maternal mortality rates among African American women, and seek to eliminate such disparities.

But we know that making the United States the healthiest nation can’t be done in a week. That’s why we are encouraging members of our community to learn more and take part in the “All of Us” research program, a historic effort to collect and study data from one million or more people living in the United States. The goal of the program is better health for all of us. Learn more at allofus.nih.gov.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the power of prevention and preventive care, advocate for healthy and fair policies, educate our community about healthy behaviors, and work to build a strong public health system across our country. You can learn more at nphw.org/nphw-2020.

And please take a moment to thank and support our public health workers for the crucial work they are doing throughout the long days, weeks, and months of this pandemic.

Joan H. Ascheim is executive director of New Hampshire Public Health Association and lives in Concord.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

MANY YOUNG people this summer will be spending a great deal of time using technology. In fact, the average teenager spends an average of nine hours a day using digital devices. This is a great deal of time, and it’s not always possible to manage your child’s accounts and usage. So, it’s impo…

Monday, June 21, 2021

IT MUST BE an election year. After a year of silence from Manchester City Hall, and a year of little in the way of outreach to parents by the school district, all of a sudden Mayor Joyce Craig is doing everything possible to give the illusion of leadership. She is asking for input from the p…

Sunday, June 20, 2021

MY FATHER was born in 1938, in a village in Sichuan, China, to an intelligent but poor and sickly father whose death left his impoverished mother to fend for herself. Fate was not kind to her, as the struggle of being poor and raising six children was compounded when she developed a severe i…

THE MOST FAMOUS father in history only got third billing in the Holy Family. A few walk-ons in the Bible were the best that Joseph could manage. That is what fathers do. They are there for the family, not in the spotlight. They work hard and back up mothers everywhere as needed.

Friday, June 18, 2021

YET ANOTHER white supremacist — Newt Gingrich — has emerged to hector New Hampshire about what it should think about Critical Race Theory (CRT) and systemic racism by misappropriating MLK’s “… dream of a nation in which people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of …

Thursday, June 17, 2021

THE GENERAL COURT missed an opportunity this year to increase accountability for government officials in New Hampshire. Passing HB 111 would have ended qualified immunity, a court-created doctrine that shields government officials, including police officers, from legal accountability in civi…

THE BASEL CONVENTION is an international agreement barring countries from shipping various hazardous materials to another country without government permission. In 2019, plastic was added to the list. Of the 187 countries participating, only two have yet to ratify — Haiti and the world’s big…

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

AMERICA HAS always been at the forefront of innovation, and we cannot afford to lose that edge. We need to act decisively to outcompete China, boost domestic research and manufacturing, and secure supply chains that are critical to our national security and economy.