BATON ROUGE, La.— Do you know who tests your tap water to make sure that it is safe to drink? Who inspects restaurants to ensure food safety? Who provides immunizations to children, senior citizens and students to keep them healthy? Who tracks and treats infectious disease, genetic disorders and infant nutritional needs in Louisiana? 

It’s your state Office of Public Health, and on Wednesday, April 8, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’-Office of Public Health will host an educational fair and program showcase in observance of National Public Health Week.  The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Louisiana State Museum in downtown Baton Rouge, located at 660 N. Fourth Street.

Public health professionals include environmental health specialists, nurses, social workers, epidemiologists, nutritionists, health educators, physicians and others.  These workers monitor community health, diagnose and investigate health hazards, prepare the public for natural or man-made disasters, prevent and control outbreaks of disease, and deliver important health information to Louisianans.

 LDH Secretary Alan Levine said, “Office of Public Health workers serve in every region of the state. From giving immunizations to tracking food safety, they work tirelessly every day to keep Louisiana safe and healthy.” 

 The fair will include exhibits about OPH programs like the Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Environmental Health Services, Nursing Services, Maternal and Child Health Program, Nutrition Services, and Preventive Health Services. 

 Community partners that work closely with OPH will also be present, including the Louisiana Primary Care Association, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge and the Health Enrichment Network.

 M. Rony Francois, M.D., M.S.P.H., Ph. D, assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health, encourages the public to attend the fair to learn more about the critical role OPH plays in the daily life of every Louisiana resident.

“Last year, OPH provided personal health services through parish health units to nearly 370,000 patients.  They serve every citizen of our state by regulating drinking water and food safety.  I consider them all unsung heroes because what they do is so important, yet largely unrecognized.  I hope Wednesday’s fair will help to highlight the importance of their daily work,” Dr. Francois said.

 This event is a unique opportunity for the public to interact with the program’s staff and partners.  For more information, please contact the Office of Public Health at (225) 342-5634.

 The Louisiana Department of Health serves to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.

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