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Public Health

North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) is celebrating National Public Health Week, April 3-9, and recognizing the public health professionals on its team, in local public health units, and in other settings who work to improve the health, well-being and quality of life of North Dakotans of all ages across the state.

“Our goal in HHS is to help North Dakota become the healthiest state in the nation. Public health has a key role,” said North Dakota State Health Officer Dr. Nizar Wehbi. “We are so very grateful for the dedication and expertise of the public health professionals on our team in HHS and to our local public health partners, for the health and safety services, support, and education and outreach they provide to North Dakotans.” 

Public health professionals include physicians, nurses, nutritionists, other community health workers, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, emergency response professionals, food and lodging licensers, health facility inspectors, health program administrators, laboratory scientists and other professionals.

Their work supports healthy and vibrant communities by reducing the risk for infectious and chronic diseases, enhancing systems of care, strengthening population-based health to meet local needs, and promoting public health readiness and response. 

“It is very fitting that public health be recognized for the work these professionals do daily,” stated Mary Korsmo, North Dakota State Association of City and County Health Officials. “Local public health units collaborate with all community partners, including health care systems, to provide the best possible spaces to live, work and play. We applaud Governor Burgum for acknowledging public health and public health workers.” 

In North Dakota, 28 single and multi-county local public health units provide varied, valuable health care services that meet local needs. HHS provides state aid to help fund local public health units while also supporting local community health.

State and local public health workers and programs support the health and well-being of individuals through health screenings for early detection and intervention, nutrition education and support, chronic disease prevention and treatment, routine wellness vaccines, and injury prevention activities; promote oral health; conduct health and sanitation inspections; and work to reduce infectious disease, teen pregnancy, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, youth vaping and opioid overdoses to meet local community health priorities. 

In addition to health surveillance and monitoring, data collection, analysis and reporting and program administration and support, HHS public health professionals provide direct support to communities and health systems routinely and during disasters and health emergencies as a key part of the state’s emergency readiness and response team. 

HHS team members provide gap staffing too at understaffed long-term care facilities to support quality care. They also conduct laboratory testing through the department’s State Lab, including microbiology testing, water testing, and testing related to mosquito and tick surveillance programs, biothreats, and biosafety resources. 
Together, public health professionals strive to deliver the same opportunity for the highest level of health care for all populations in North Dakota, in a manner that meets their needs. View Gov. Burgum’s National Public Health Week proclamation.  

To learn more about local public health services, contact a local public health unit at hhs.nd.gov/service-locations/local-public-health

Find out more about how the HHS Public Health Division team is working to improve the health and well-being of North Dakotans, visit hhs.nd.gov/health

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