Letter from APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD

Dear Public Health Advocates,

Now more than ever, the nation's health needs you. You, the people working to make the U.s. the healthiest nation in a generation, are putting in the critical effort to protect everyone, especially our most vulnerable populations. You are part of National Public Health Week. This week, we celebrate public health's successes, and we look to solving our most pressing challenges.

Public health is diverse, and goes well beyond our local health departments and universities. Public health is:

  • the grassroots organizer at city hall, demanding clean water for area schoolchildren.
  • the health providers and patients who show up at Capitol Hill to advocate for commonsense gun laws, response to climate change and health coverage for all.
  • the students holding their schools accountable for responding to threats of violence on campus.
  • the neighbors who build community gardens on abandoned plots of land.
  • individuals who volunteer to share their health information with researchers, ensuring our knowledge of health is inclusive and responds to everyone's needs.

We all have a responsibility to the health of our community and our country. We know our needs are as varied as our communities themselves. This year's NPHW daily themes take this into account. But we are all touched by these issues — by the threat of violence, or by technology improving our health, or not. Public health's greatest strength is in the diversity of its supporters, and their expertise, both academic and lived. we are all affected by public health issues, and we are all part of the solutions to those problems.

Our work is far from done. After decades of progress, life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped in the last few years, which means today's generation of children may not outlive their parents. It will take every one of us to preserve the health gains of the past and create even more opportunities for health in the future. Our children, and their children, deserve this.

In 2019, NPHW focuses on just how wide our reach truly is. We will celebrate and include everyone who makes our communities healthier. We will acknowledge the hard work already being done, and look to the future, and what our collective power can accomplish. Amplifying these critical, diverse, cross-sector partnerships can only lead us closer to becoming the healthiest nation.

Best and healthy wishes,

Georges Benjamin


Georges C. Benjamin, MD
Executive Director
American Public Health Association