Public Health Thank You Day, November 24, 2014
ALEXANDRIA, Va.-November 20, 2014-As Thanksgiving approaches, Research!America and leading U.S. public health organizations urge Americans to salute public health professionals who go above and beyond to protect the health of our nation. Public Health Thank You Day honors all those unsung heroes who keep our drinking water safe and air clean, develop vaccines, track and investigate infections, and protect us against threats such as influenza, the Ebola and Enterovirus D68 outbreaks and natural disasters.
“Every day, public health professionals here and around the world work in challenging and sometimes dangerous situations to protect our health. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa and cases of Ebola in the U.S. are a reminder of the global nature of public health threats,” said Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Whether they are working to keep us safe from infectious disease threats, or finding ways to promote healthy opportunities, thanks to all the dedicated public health professionals who work to keep us safe and healthy.”
These everyday heroes include our health inspectors, environmental health scientists, laboratorians, epidemiologists, public health researchers, sanitation workers, nurses and many other dedicated workers. The CDC, local health departments and various institutions within our public health infrastructure have come together to address recent outbreaks, and public health professionals are tackling these threats head-on – as they do with other health challenges on a daily basis. Continue reading →
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent more than 50 disease detectives and other highly trained experts to West Africa to battle Ebola. While here in the U.S., more than 350 CDC staff are working on logistics, communications, analytics, management and other functions to support the response 24/7 at CDC’s Emergency Operations Center.“We are fulfilling our promise to the people of West Africa, Americans, and the world, that CDC would quickly ramp up its efforts to help bring the worst Ebola outbreak in history under control,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “We know how to stop Ebola. It won’t be easy or fast, but working together with our U.S. and international partners and country leadership, together we are doing it.” Read more here.
Meanwhile, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are studying Ebola and seeking better ways to diagnose and treat the disease. In 2013, the NIAID reported spending $42.49 million on Ebola research. Public-private partnerships are critical to containing and preventing such deadly outbreaks. The NIAID is collaborating with Okairos, a biotech company, to develop Ebola vaccines. The NIH is working with the drugmaker Mapp Biopharmaceutical to scale up production of its Ebola drug Zmapp and partnering with BioCryst to advance the company’s experimental treatments.
Sustained and robust federal funding is needed to respond to global health threats, and to support the development of vaccines to combat Ebola and other deadly diseases. Policymakers must assign a higher priority to medical research to ensure the health and wellness of Americans.
Click here to urge your representatives to support increased funding for federal health agencies in FY15.
A Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month shows a staggering 400% increase in the number of women who died from a prescription painkiller overdose from 1999 to 2010. The rate of men’s deaths in that same category, meanwhile, rose 265% — a depressing number in its own right.
But the 400% increase in women means that in 2010, according to the CDC’s calculations, 6,600 women lost their lives because of a prescription painkiller overdose; that’s 18 women every day. That’s four times the number of deaths attributed to cocaine and heroin combined.
And once every 3 minutes, an ER somewhere in America sees a woman for problems resulting from opioid misuse or abuse.
“Stopping this epidemic in women – and men – is everyone’s business,” Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, said in a press release. “Doctors need to be cautious about prescribing and patients about using these drugs.”
Polling commissioned by Research!America in March helps contextualize the issue. In the poll, 85% of respondents expressed their concern about the potential for misuse of prescription painkillers; of those, half said they were very concerned. Continue reading →