There needs to a well-thought out response to the following:
We were asked to discuss 2 public health achievements and how they have influenced our daily lives. The reference in our text book is a list created by the CDC in 1999. I referenced the CDC and came across an updated/related article here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6019a5.htmLinks to an external site. -This article discusses ten public health achievements from 2001-2010. What is interesting is I couldn’t find any “top ten” lists after 2010, and would be curious what new achievements would be recognized. (i.e. COVID response)
1. Education on the harms of smoking tobacco as well as the education and promotion of smoke free environments. I am old enough to remember people smoking wherever my family went. I remember the acrid smell and my mom coughing whenever we ran errands. I even remember all the cigarette advertisements in magazines with Joe Camel and the ability to buy cigarettes along with the candy in the super market. However, in 1984, then Surgeon General, C. Everett Coop, released his plan for a Smoke Free America by year 2000. He introduced education and awareness to society as well as school children teaching us about the dangers of smoking and a person’s right to breathe smoke-free air. (1) Over the next decades and now, cigarette ads have been removed, cigarettes are harder to buy and every establishment is “smoke free”. I can breathe freely (pun intended) knowing that I am not exposed to second hand smoke and that I have a public health initiative to thank.
2. Wearing a mask during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Not listed in the textbook, but I was also trying to think of what other public health initiatives have impacted my life. At the start of the pandemic, we converted our clinic to a mostly virtual only clinic trying to disposition patient concerns over the phone. We implemented drive through testing as rapid testing became available. Eventually, the public was asked to wear a cloth mask and medical facilities were asked to wear surgical masks. There is evidence that wearing a mask prevents inhalation of others’ aerosolized particles but it also prevents you from spreading infectious particles as well. While we are no longer required to wear masks at all times, there is a generalized acceptance in the medical community that it is “OK” to put a mask on when we see sick patients. This idea and behavior modification would be unheard of prior to the pandemic. Indeed, some of the Pediatricians I work with continue to wear masks and probably will regardless of if their patient is sick or well. Masking was a public health initiative that allowed jobs and healthcare to continue and directly affect my life on a daily basis.