RGC designates first week of April as National Public Health Week

RIO GRANDE COUNTY — Rio Grande County Commissioners approved a proclamation on Wednesday, March 15, to designate April 3-9 as National Public Health Week. This year, the theme for the week will be “Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health.” The week will celebrate and recognize health throughout Rio Grande County with fun and interactive activities.

According to the proclamation, “The United States and the global community are responding to the COVID–19 pandemic, which requires support for a robust public health infrastructure and workforce; State, territorial, local, and Tribal health departments, health care workers, public health laboratories, and first responders; diagnostic testing of new and potential COVID–19 cases and activities related to epidemiology and public health data and complying with appropriate social distancing and quarantine recommendations.”

The proclamation continues to highlight some of the areas in which Public Health can help strengthen weakened areas of society due to the COVID-19 pandemic including, “Relieving financial burdens for individuals in the United States hurt by the COVID–19 pandemic, including through public health emergency leave; State Medicaid programs and community health centers to ensure care for vulnerable populations; collaboration among the Federal Government, State and local governments, schools, businesses, and employers to support public health measures to decrease community spread of COVID–19; investments in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which support infectious disease outbreak preparedness and critical public health infrastructure for State and local health departments and public health laboratories.”

Rio Grande County Public Health Department Director Dr. Kolawole Bankole was excited to introduce the draft proclamation and to talk about some of the things his department has planned for Public Health Week.

“We are excited to celebrate the National Public Health Week 2023,” Bankole said. “Theme: ‘Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health.’ Our cultures have always shaped our health. We learn from the communities we'reborn in and that we build together. For this National Public Health Week, we look to community leaders as our health leaders. We celebrate the unique and joyful ways different cultures focus on health. And we look to how we can learn from each other, with humility and openness.”

So far, the department is planning on some fun activities to engage the community in focusing on their health and wellbeing by making sound decisions that will have long-lasting effects on their health.

“Our plan includes some fun activities with gift prizes, custom made smoothie drinks after a bike ride, scavenger hunt exploration in Del Norte, daily theme posting on our websites and social media, celebrating PHD staff as heroes, daily activities, etc. Details in the attached plan. You are all cordially invited to join to celebrate this year’s National Public Health Week,” he said.