Guest post by Dr. Jayme Hennenfent
Save the date! Monday, Nov. 24, is Public Health Thank You Day, an opportunity to say “thank you” to those professionals across many fields who have dedicated their careers to public health.
This national social media campaign has gained momentum in past years through the dedication of partner organizations that get the word out through their social media accounts, blogs and membership communications. This year the AVMA is joining a dozen other organizations that support the event, including the American Cancer Society and American Public Health Association, to thank public health professionals for their crucial work. The idea is that many of the things we take for granted on a daily basis, like clean water and a safe food supply, require the constant efforts of specially trained individuals working together in many fields. The event is designed to thank those professionals who often work behind the scenes to ensure healthy communities nationwide and around the world.
Public Health Thank You Day is sponsored by Research!America, a nonprofit alliance based in Washington D.C., that works to advance progress in medical research through leadership, advocacy and education in the areas of scientific and health research in all fields. As a recent DVM graduate from the University of Illinois, I am the first veterinarian to serve in the role of science policy fellow at Research!America. When asked to spearhead Public Health Thank You Day this year as a part of my fellowship, I immediately knew I wanted to work to define the term “public health professional” and highlight the daily public health contributions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and, of course, veterinarians, along with many others. This idea came from my personal perspective as a veterinarian interested in food safety and health security, and my realization that we need to increase public awareness of our profession’s contribution to these areas. I figured this may be the case for other professions as well, and got the green light to make the theme of this year’s event: putting a face on public health!
As a part of this theme, this week’s activities will include:
• Profiles of early career professionals in public health (including a DVM working at a state health department)
• Descriptions of how many different health and scientific professions are contributing to public health on a daily basis
• Encouraging social media messages recognizing health professionals impacting public health in their local communities
If you would like to become involved in Public Health Thank You Day and recognize veterinarians you know who are impacting public health in private practice, academia, industry or government, visit our website for information on how to become active in this year’s event. We also have a toolkit of materials with templates for social media, letters to the editor or contacting an elected official to raise awareness of public health professionals. Thanks to the AVMA for their enthusiasm in spreading the word of the great work veterinarians do every day in public health!
Jayme Hennenfent is a current science policy fellow at Research!America and a 2014 DVM graduate from the University of Illinois. She also holds a master’s degree in veterinary pathobiology and is interested in policy in the areas of food and health security. She currently interns in the Office of Health Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security and is active in the District of Columbia Veterinary Medical Association. She completed an AVMA headquarters externship in the Scientific Activities Division during her fourth year of veterinary school.