New buildings on every corner, increased traffic woes in the city and the scarcity of health food options for children are no rarity in the metro Atlanta area. For now. The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University is hosting a week of community and student events in conjunction with National Public Health week, April 3-9. Their hope is to join the fight and build awareness to inspire Americans to create healthier communities in which to raise healthy kids.
Emory, along with hundreds of partner organizations, is joining the national efforts of the American Public Health Association (APHA). This year's national theme, "Designing Healthy Communities, Raising Healthy KIDS," sent student leaders into action to involve their peers and colleagues in efforts to bring the public health issue to the Emory community and metro-Atlanta area.
APHA national coordinators noted that healthy communities for our children are on the verge of being engineered out of existence. Children in close proximities to their schools, they say, don't walk for lack of safe routes, increased dependence on cars contributes to increased pedestrian fatalities and asthma rates due to air pollution, and childhood obesity is on the rise because of the lack of access to fresh foods.
"This is an opportunity to spread the word about public health to everyone--young or old, health professional or not," says Jerry P. Abraham, president of the Student Government Association for the Rollins School of Public Health. "We can always be reminded of the message of public health because it affects us all every day. Through our planned events we're helping to build careers and lifestyles that will positively affect the way people view public health, here on Clifton Road, Atlanta, the United States, and the world abroad."
Laura Biazzo, co-president of the student chapter of the Georgia Public Health Association, adds: "We encourage the city to participate because the scope of National Public Health Week spans beyond the Emory and public health communities. Designing our Atlanta community to foster physical and mental health reaches my home, your home and the homes of our future generations--our kids."
Abraham and Biazzo's student associations have teamed up with other student leader representatives from organizations such as the Emory Global Health Organization, the Association of Black Public Health Students, and others.
Planned events for the week include a town hall about alternative transportation, a legislative action day, and a walking tour to discuss pedestrian safety. A complete list of awareness activities for the Emory and surrounding Atlanta communities can be obtained by contacting Laura Biazzo at (404) 550-8003 or by visiting www.sph.emory.edu/NPHW.