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Zimmerman: National Public Health Week
Bridget Zimmerman
Bridget Zimmerman

Green County Public Health recently hosted an Open House for community members to meet our staff, see our department, and learn more about what we do. As a department that exists to serve the public and help improve Green County, we want community members to know how we can help them and what we’re doing to improve community health.

Our Open House featured a mini health fair to highlight the programs and services we offer, and attendees had the chance to win a public health-related prize - if you missed us this year, don’t worry, we’ll be hosting another Open House next year too! This event was held in honor of National Public Health Week (NPHW), which is celebrated during the first week of April each year. The American Public Health Association has organized this week of celebration and recognition for more than 25 years. The purpose of NPHW is to highlight the public health issues facing the country, celebrate public health achievements, and educate people about what public health is. The theme for the 2024 NPHW was Protecting, Connecting, and Thriving: We Are All Public Health. This theme is meant to show that many organizations and people are working on improving public health and that the effects of public health work are everywhere.

Many organizations are working to improve public health, not only public health departments like Green County Public Health. Public health encompasses all of the programs, services, infrastructure, policies, and work being done to keep people safe and healthy at home, in school, at work, and in their community. For example, everything from stop signs to parks to indoor smoking restrictions is public health. As these examples show, lots of factors influence people’s health, not only diet, exercise and personal habits. People’s behaviors are just one aspect of several factors that impact a person’s health. Social and economic factors like employment, education, and social connectedness, as well as a person’s access the healthcare and the quality of that healthcare, are actually more influential to a person’s health than individual behaviors. The physical environment, such as water quality and housing, also greatly impacts a person’s health. 

While public health departments can’t work on all of these issues, they offer programs and services that help fill in the gaps and work with other organizations in the community on projects to improve community health. Green County Public Health has something to offer almost every community member, no matter where they’re at in life. Our department provides important programs like the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, breastfeeding support, home visiting, car seat safety checks, and other services that help support families with young kids. Our department also offers environmental health services such as well water test kits and radon test kits for homeowners. In addition to these, we provide vaccines to adults and kids who do not have health insurance. Our Public Health Nurses also work with community members who are sick with a foodborne disease or other communicable diseases to help determine where they might have gotten sick and how they can help prevent others from getting sick. Our staff also works on issues you may not think of, such as working with law enforcement and community members when an animal bites someone, so we can help prevent the spread of rabies. We also prepare and practice for emergencies so that we are ready to help serve the public in the event of a public health emergency. Our staff also provides education to individuals and community groups at events or meetings on a wide variety of health topics. Another important aspect of what our department does is our work with other organizations in Green County to address health issues facing the community. Our staff is a part of several workgroups and coalitions focused on many different health topics, including breastfeeding, alcohol, and other drug abuse, anti-human trafficking, abuse prevention, vaccinations, youth health and wellbeing, and many others. To learn more about what our department does, we encourage community members to visit our website: On our website, check out our list of programs and services, or review our annual report to see what we do for you and your neighborhood.

Finally, our department wants to thank all of the organizations and individuals in Green County who are helping make our community a safer and healthier place to live, work, and play. We are fortunate to work with many wonderful people across Green County to improve the health of the community.

— Bridget Zimmerman is the Public Health Educator for the Green County Public Health Department and can be reached at or 608-328-9509.