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Vermont public health association

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  • 9 Apr 2020 9:39 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    The Other Crisis: Climate Change

    We are in a crisis, a real live pandemic, and Vermonters have risen to the occasion. We are mobilizing our health care workers and staying home to prevent the spread of infection, and communities are joining together to support our food shelves and those handy with a needle and thread are turning out hundreds of face masks and gowns. Vermont is rallying with energy and industry to get us through this crisis.

    But when the COVID-19 crisis has waned (and it will - due to our determined efforts) we will have to return our focus to The Other Crisis – that of climate change. Even though Vermonters have previously worked hard to address climate change, our greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 13% since 1990. So we must pause and consider, what would our emissions look like if we would mobilize to fight the climate crisis just as we have concentrated on fighting the COVID-19 crisis?  Imagine a full-on effort, with everyone rallied to overcome climate change – just as with this pandemic. Many people don’t think of climate change as a health emergency - but it truly is. The World Health Organization started listing climate change as the #1 threat to human health long before COVID-19 was on the scene.

    So let’s envision the same investment and effort of the all-in COVID-19 response applied to climate change. Let’s imagine a workforce activated on a statewide basis and assigned to climate change reduction strategies and an influx of state and federal funds for supporting comprehensive fossil fuel reduction strategies. Let’s also establish universal no-cost programs to weatherize our homes and financial support for our homes and businesses both large and small to become “net zero.” Let’s implement education courses in all grades, in all K-12 schools and in colleges so our youth are energized for earth-friendly lifestyles and action.

    We, as public health professionals, in partnership with our medical and clinical care professionals, are working hard to tame the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are also wondering, how can we call Vermonters to action for an all-out attack on the already pervasive and urgent threat of the worldwide climate crisis?   Unlike COVID-19, the impact of climate change on health won’t be temporary. But also, unlike COVID-19, we have the cure. We now need the public will to deploy solutions aggressively, systematically and with determination!  

    Sally Kerschner, RN, MSN, President, Vermont Public Health Association

    Dan Quinlan, Chair, Vermont Climate and Health Alliance

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    For information about the VtPHA and National Public Health Week, visit https://vtpha.org/National-Public-Health-Week-2020

    For more information about the Vermont Climate and Health Alliance, visit https://www.vtcha.org/

    The VtPHA is a statewide membership organization that seeks to positively influence the health of all Vermonters. The VtPHA does this by providing a strong, independent voice for public health in Vermont through advocacy, education, and community engagement, and by bringing together professionals, policymakers, and partners.

  • 2 Apr 2020 9:38 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    National Public Health Week is April 6 - 12

    BURLINGTON, VT, April 2020.  With the COIVD-19 pandemic racing across the country bringing the potential to devastate all aspects of our communities’ infrastructure, economics, and education, it feels a bit anticlimactic to declare that National Public Health Week (NPHW) is April 6 – 12.  What an ironic time for the Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) to do our duty by recognizing the 25th annual NPHW as sponsored by the American Public Health Association.

    For 25 years, communities around the country have recognized NPHW each April to acknowledge the role of public health in promoting a healthy and thriving nation. This year’s theme is "NPHW @ 25: Looking Back, Moving Forward.”

    Our original plans to celebrate this week were to outreach to Vermonters about our organization and offer an opportunity to recognize the role of public health in protecting us all every day of every week, all year long. This is the one week out of each year we stop to specifically highlight the role of public health in keeping us all healthy. Normally, we celebrate our accomplishments such as immunizations, public sanitation systems, and decreases in infant and maternal mortality. In more recent years we have framed our work in such concepts as community resiliency and health equity. As part of our planning, we are posting daily fact sheets on our website, www.vtpha.org, about key public health issues using the theme of “Looking Back, Moving Forward.” 

    But this year, NPHW falls during a massive pandemic being described as the public health threat of the century and being compared to the 1918 “Spanish” flu that affected a quarter of the world’s population. As of this writing, COVID-19 has caused nearly 40,000 deaths worldwide with more than 800,000 cases.

    So we will celebrate NPHW by doing what we do best as a public health professionals. We are the experts at disease surveillance. We work with health care delivery systems to prepare a clinical response. We inform policy makers of the latest science and advise the public to help them understand how they can protect themselves and their families. We advise our partners in housing and economics and education to be sure they have the information and awareness needed for them to create safety nets for individuals and families and communities.

    This year public health is being tested as never before - and we are up to the challenge. We will learn from COVID-19 and survive with a clearer vision of how to protect our population not only from infectious disease, but also to reinvigorate our work to improve Vermonters access to health and well-being by decreasing the inequities that result from our systems of employment and housing and education and food access. The public relies on us and we will not disappoint.

    Sally Kerschner, RN, MSN

    President, Vermont Public Health Association

    ###

    The VtPHA is a statewide membership organization that seeks to positively influence the health of all Vermonters. The VtPHA does this by providing a strong, independent voice for public health in Vermont through advocacy, education, and community engagement, and by bringing together professionals, policymakers, and partners.

  • 26 Mar 2020 9:41 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    Dear Public Health Professionals, Providers and Advocates:

    The Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) is a not-for-profit organization whose membership includes a wide variety of individuals who work to promote and sustain the health and wellbeing of all Vermonters and individuals who come to Vermont for a variety of reasons.

    We find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented health challenge caused by a global outbreak of a highly contagious virus named the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreading globally and at a rate that is rapidly increasing. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and no way to prevent its rapid spread other than to follow the recommended steps and strategies for prevention that have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

    On their website, www.CDC.gov, you can find resources including five steps to reduce the risk of getting the virus, the signs and symptoms of the disease, and daily updated information on findings about the COVID-19 virus. Please access this dependable site. There are national and regional, well-established health care research centers, but we recommend you check the authenticity and data sources for sites you use for information and updates. A key resource for Vermont health care professionals and the Vermont public is the Vermont Department of Health at www.healthvermont.gov.

    The VtPHA Board is deeply grateful for the broad array of public health workers, clinicians and related professionals who work so hard in these demanding times to reduce the threat of COVID-19 spreading rapidly. They are working extended hours and days to meet the public’s and system’s needs. Their work is made even more difficult by the rising demands at hospitals and health centers, and medical supplies that are inadequate to meet the growing need. At this time, we thank the larger community in Vermont for the support and understanding shown for health professionals and the many affected workers who are giving their best effort to respond to the current challenges.  As a Vermont community, we all need to observe the recommendations and restrictions by state and national authorities including limits on gatherings, not traveling to other locations except for essential needs and social distancing by staying home and keeping six feet of distance between others in public settings. Although we will need to purchase food and other supplies, it is essential to refrain from buying in excess of what is reasonable so that others can meet their essential needs.

    During this global health crises, containment of COVID -19 is essential to lessen the potential strain on the system. Success depends on all of us doing our best to follow the national and local guidance from the CDC, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Vermont Department of Health and other experts in the health care field.

    Thank you for your commitment to our common health needs and for your work and support of those on the front lines of health care and public health. We will come through this and be more prepared and better integrated for new and different challenges ahead. For more information on the VtPHA, please visit our website at www.vtpha.org.

    Sincerely,


    Joyce M. Gallimore MPH, CPHQ

    Board Member, VtPHA


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About the association

VtPHA is a membership organization which facilitates collaboration among people who care about public health and are interested in protecting and promoting the health of Vermont residents.

VtPHA is an Affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA). APHA is the national voice of public health and champions the health of all people and all communities. They are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health and a member community from all public health disciplines and over 40 countries. Learn more at www.apha.org.

Contacts

vtpublichealth@outlook.com
Vermont Public Health Association
P.O. Box 732
Burlington, VT 05402-0732

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