Public Health

Committed to Advancing Public Health

NPHW_Logo_2In honor of National Public Health Week, our friends over at the Kaiser Permanente News Center have put together a list of 10 ways the health organization demonstrates its commitment to public health.  The list includes the Every Body Walk! public awareness campaign, the Educational Theatre Program (celebrating its 25th year bringing important health information and conversations into schools), Safety Net grants and fellowships, and its efforts to fight this country’s obesity epidemic.

It is actually part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to help improve the health of the communities it serves.  For more on KP’s contributions in the public health space, visit here.

Celebrating National Public Health Week

NPHW_Logo_Today, we celebrate the beginning of National Public Health Week.  The APHA has put together a fantastic website promoting it, including a toolkit and other resources.  They’ve also produced a video illustrating how public health has a huge return on investment:

Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA also released a video to kick off the week’s activities:

An interesting article on population health appeared last week on the website for the American Academy of Family Physicians (www.aafp.org).  In the piece, author Jessica Pupillo notes that both the primary care and public health sectors are now looking to collaborate in an effort to improve population health.  There is even a web-based resource in development called The Practical Playbook for Integrating Public Health and Primary Care.

According to the article, the foundation for this new resource is a March 2012 IOM report, Primary Care and Public Health:  Exploring Integration to Improve Population Health.  Another report referenced in the article is A Healthier America 2013:  Strategies to Move from Sick Care to Health Care in Four Years by Trust for America’s Health.  It explores recommendations to prioritize preventions and improve the health of all Americans, and it focuses on the need to look at innovative approaches and the importance of forming partnerships with organizations across a wide range of sectors for success.

For more on National Public Health Week, follow @NPHW on Twitter, or check out the conversation via hash tag #NPHW.

HBO Documentary Weight of the Nation Previews in Colorado

Launching one of the nation’s largest public health campaigns on obesity to date, HBO has joined with the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to produce a series of documentaries called The Weight of the Nation.  The series – whose TEDMED trailer screening earlier this month set Twitter abuzz – examines the obesity epidemic from every angle: agriculture, economics, evolutionary biology, food marketing, racial and socioeconomic disparities, physical inactivity, American food culture and the power of industry.

On Monday, April 16, HBO and Kaiser Permanente Colorado hosted a screening of part four of the series, “Challenges,” on the University of Denver campus. The screening is the first of more than 20 that Kaiser Permanente will host nationwide.

While Colorado is one of the fittest states for adults, it is facing one of the fastest growing childhood obesity rates in the country.  For that reason, the event began with a health expo focused on healthy eating and active living, and the screening was followed by a town-hall panel discussion with local experts and Q&A with the audience.   Below is a brief highlight reel of the evening’s activities.

The town hall discussion was also available to folks at home through Livestreaming. Watch the full presentation at http://new.livestream.com/cdphepsd/weightofco/.  You can also read more and see photos from the event here.

The Weight of the Nation series debuts on May 14, exclusively on HBO. Further information on the series, the soon-to-be-published book of the same name by St. Martin’s Press, and the nationwide community-based outreach campaign can be found at theweightofthenation.hbo.com.

Making our Health Care Environments Healthier

We talk a lot about healthy environments on this blog, and one important aspect of that is the greening of the health care sector.  Looking at the connection between environmental health and public health can lead hospitals and health care organizations to move toward green purchasing practices and more sustainable energy solutions.  In 2010, Kaiser Permanente launched its Sustainability Scorecard – the first of its kind in health care and a model for green purchasing in the sector.  The scorecard evaluates the health and environmental impacts of each medical item the organization purchases; it also encourages vendors and suppliers across the United States to provide greener products, and it requires them to provide information on their own company’s environmental commitment – including package recycling and the use of potentially harmful chemicals in their products (or the making and disposal of them).

This week, Kaiser Permanente took another step in its green efforts by converting its intravenous (IV) medical equipment, including IV solution bags and IV tubing, to more eco-friendly alternatives that are free of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate), two chemicals used in plastics that have been shown to harm human and environmental health. Kaiser Permanente purchases 4.9 million IV tubing sets and 9.2 million solution bags per year. This single step affects nearly 100 tons of medical products.  The move also saves the organization close to $5 million a year, proving that going green can have a positive effect on health care costs.

Learn more in the video below.

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