It’s National Public Health Week … and a bunch of other stuff

This morning, the Connecticut Department of Public Health sent out a press release announcing that this is National Public Health Week a “time designated across the country to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation.”

To celebrate the week, DPH is posting a new podcast each day, on a different topic, narrated by DPHY experts. Today, you can hear a cast on “Ensuring a Safe, Healthy Home for Your Family.” These and other Public Health Week information can be accessed by visiting

But this isn’t JUST National Public Health Week. No, according to the helpful folks at, there are no fewer than 23 health observances during April.

“Observances,” of course, are those various “awareness” days, weeks, or months that you regularly see touted by various health organizations. In addition to this being Public Health Week, for example, today also marks the start of Alcohol Awareness Month, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, National Autism Awareness Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and National Donate Life Month among others.

In fact, it seems that this is the heart of Observance Season, which started last month. March has 21 such events — a tick less than April. And neither has as many as May’s whopping 36 observances. For many public health advocates and agencies, these events are occasions to refocus attention on major health topics, or to bring much-needed attention to a cause that people don’t often think about, such as sports eyes safety (oh, by the way, happy Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month).

So please do take a moment to check out how many issues are out there. Sure, public health is something we should be thinking about all the time. But the sheer volume of observances makes it clear that health is a vast, diverse issue, with many aspects that might escape our notice.

Amanda Cuda