Georges Benjamin
APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, welcomes you to National Public Health Week 2015, which is themed “Healthiest Nation 2030.” Photo by APHA
In 1995, former U.S. President Bill Clinton signed Proclamation 6776 recognizing National Public Health Week calling upon “all Federal, State, and local public health agencies to join with appropriate private organizations and educational institutions in celebrating this occasion with activities to promote healthy lifestyles and to heighten awareness of the many benefits good health brings.”
Twenty years later, we’re kicking off National Public Health Week 2015 with a bold goal tied to this year’s theme, “Healthiest Nation 2030.”
What does this mean? Simply put, American are not the healthiest people in the world. We spend more on health care but live shorter lives and suffer more health issues than our peers in other high-income countries.  To create the healthiest nation, we all need to start by pledging — and you cansign our pledge right here — to take two steps: creating a healthy me and creating a healthy we.
Each day we’ll emphasize a different way to move us closer to becoming the healthiest nation.
  • Monday, April 6Raising the Grade. The U.S. trails other countries in life expectancy and other measures of good health, and this holds true across all ages and income levels. Too many people, including some of our political leaders, still believe we have the best health care in the world. We have great doctors, state-of-the-art hospitals and are leaders in advanced procedures and pharmaceuticals – yet our health ranks poorly when compared to other countries. To kick off NPHW 2015, the public health community will come together to talk frankly about what the data reveal about America’s public health.
  • Tuesday, April 7Starting from ZIP. Today, your ZIP code says too much about your health. Within the United States, there are unacceptable disparities in health by race and ethnic group, state by state and even county by county. The effort to make the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation starts with equity across our communities. During the second day of NPHW 2015, the public health community will shine a light on local/state/regional disparities.
  • Wednesday, April 8Building Momentum. Influential leaders, companies and organizations are taking important steps in line with creating the healthiest nation: just look at recent actions by CVS, America’s major food and beverage companies, RWJF, the American Planning Association, Michelle Obama, and many others. On the third day of NPHW 2015, the public health community will outline major recent changes and what they mean for our health.
  • Thursday, April 9Building Broader Connections. In the work to become the healthiest nation, we can’t do it all on our own. We have to expand our partnerships to collaborate with city planners, education officials, public, private and for-profit organizations – everyone who has an impact on our health. During NPHW 2015, the fourth day will focus on communities mapping the network of partners and connections needed in their areas to make the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation.
  • Friday, April 10Building on 20 Years of Success. 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of APHA coordinating National Public Health Week, and the accomplishments of the public health community over the last two decades are significant, such as a 25-year improvement in the average lifespan for Americans and a 70 percent reduction in HIV/AIDS-related deaths. During the fifth day of NPHW 2015, the public health community (and especially public health student leaders!) will come together to celebrate these and other accomplishments and bring a renewed focus to the work ahead – and what it will take to become the Healthiest Nation in One Generation.
Check out our infographic to find out why we live shorter lives and suffer more health problems than peers in other countries, and how together, we can change this.
National Public Health Week events include Monday’s NPHW kickoff forum webcast; Tuesday’s National Healthy Schools Day celebration; Wednesday’s NPHW Twitter Chat;; Thursday’s  Public Health Research Day; and Friday’s Public Health Student Day.