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Each year in the United States, Public Health Importance Awareness Week is celebrated from April 7th-13th. Most people know about the rich history of Boston, but few also realize the important role it played in the development of Public Health.

What is the American Public Health Association (APHA)?

During the early 1700’s, the city of Boston served as the first line of defense in protecting the public against the threat of smallpox, a communicable viral disease.

Incoming ships were held quarantined within Boston Harbor to prevent the spread of the disease amongst the general population.  In 1796, the city established the first Board of Health and named Paul Revere as president of the foundation.   The original cornerstones laid in Boston were a driving force behind the furthering of Public Health and lead to the formation of many other important organizations as well.

The American Public Health Association was founded in the year 1872 by Dr. Stephen Smith, at the height of scientific advances which helped uncover the causes behind many communicable diseases.  The APHA has more than 30,000 members worldwide and is described as being “the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world.”  The APHA’s main goal is to improve the health of all American’s through advocating for scientific research and educating the public on how to understand ways in which to improve community health. 

The headquarters of the APHA are located in Washington, DC and there are 53 state affiliates, which serve to help communities regarding public health issues at a local level.  Each year, the annual APHA meeting is held and brings together public health professionals from all over the world, with more than 13,000 attendees, 700 exhibition booths and 1,000 scientific sessions, the foundation addresses any new research and trends in public health science.

What is the Goal of Public Health Importance Awareness Week?

The goal of Public Health Importance Awareness Week is to focus efforts on providing educational materials, public service announcement and other materials to the general public.  It is believed through providing information that people are able to form a better understanding of how certain diseases are spread and made aware of the importance of immunizations and other basic health care practices, that communities will be able to be healthier. 

The campaign brings together healthcare providers, policy makers and practitioners during the week.  The public is educated about issues related to a particular theme, and it is something celebrated in each state and provides outreach materials even after the week has ended.  It is hoped that by reaching people, one community at a time that communicable diseases can be eradicated from the population, thus improving overall health of the nation as a whole.


Through Public Health Importance Awareness Week, the organization reaches out to communities to provide health resources which might be otherwise unavailable and unaffordable to certain members of the population.  By providing information and raising awareness it is the hope of the American Public Health Associate (APHA), that communicable disease spreading can be limited and that people will become more knowledgeable about the importance of immunizations and basic health care in order to avoid outbreaks of otherwise preventable diseases.


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