Statement From Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald on National Public Health Week

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 1, 2024) - "As we celebrate National Public Health Week, the Department acknowledges our accomplishments in enhancing public health as we continue to expand access to health, promote health equity, and work to eliminate health disparities.

"Public health is also about building strong connections and partnerships. This year's theme, 'Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We Are All Public Health,' reflects our mission to continue addressing inequities in health and ensure that all communities have access to resources and support to help them flourish and thrive.

"Daily themes throughout the week of April 1-7 include civic engagement, such as voting to shape healthier communities; healthy neighborhoods where people can live, work, and play; climate change and taking action to lessen its impact on health; using new tools and innovations to prevent disease; making reproductive care and cancer screenings available to all; and supporting emergency preparedness. The final theme is the future of public health, which recognizes—as we do here in the Department—that racism is a public health crisis.

"The Department has implemented comprehensive programs and initiatives that reflect the themes of this week. From providing New Yorkers with resources and support during emergencies and natural disasters to reducing the burden of housing and environmental related illness through our healthy neighborhood programs.

"From informing New Yorkers about diseases linked to climate change to combating cancer and diabetes through our prevention programs.

"From expanding access to quality reproductive care and cancer screenings to working to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality care no matter their race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, language access, immigration, or socio-economic status.

"From addressing the devastating effects of systemic racism to fighting preventable pregnancy-related and infant deaths in all communities, especially Black communities plagued by these issues at a disproportionate rate.

"We have accomplished a great deal, but we have a long way to go. We will not stop advocating for health equality for all.

"Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'The First Wealth is Health.' National Public Health Week reminds us that every New Yorker deserves that."