The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is celebrating National Public Health Week April 4-10. This observance highlights the importance of community health and the vital role public health professionals and healthcare entities serve in their communities.
“Our dedicated and knowledgeable teams are committed to providing the support, tools and guidance Louisiana residents need to live healthier lives. From family health to genetic disorders to laboratory services, the Office of Public Health provides invaluable services to all Louisianans, including those who are most vulnerable to poor health outcomes. A healthy Louisiana is a stronger Louisiana,” OPH Assistant Secretary Kim Hood said.
The LDH Office of Public Health (OPH) manages the network of public health units in nine regions throughout the state. Local officials and non-profit organizations partner with OPH to make sure the most vulnerable populations have access to the care and support they need.
Throughout Louisiana, LDH's public health teams work closely with parish and local partners to overcome impediments to healthier lives. The Office of Public Health provides vaccines for COVID-19, flu and other diseases. OPH is also on the frontlines in the preparation and response to natural disasters such as hurricanes and other emergencies. Dedicated public health workers also help keep the food supply safe, ensure the quality of drinking water, provide parents and kids with nutritious foods, and work behind the scenes in many ways to improve and protect health.
Studies show poverty and poor health outcomes are closely linked. When faced with financial hardship, people must decide between their daily living expenses versus their health needs. As a result, they are more likely to go without necessary care such as consulting with a doctor or getting a prescription.
These issues are made even worse during a health crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as major storms which have hit so many Louisiana parishes. In public health, we know that in a disaster vulnerable people are vulnerable.
"The pandemic showed how truly vital our public healthcare professionals and public health workers are to the daily life of every resident of Louisiana. The entire healthcare community showed their dedication, bravery and resilience over the past two years, and we could not have gotten here without them. Their extraordinary cooperation has positioned us in a far better place because of it. Thank you for your exceptional service to the state of Louisiana," said State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter.