Celebrate Public Health Week Locally


Today marks the beginning of National Public Health Week. To raise awareness about public health issues, we will highlight stories, videos, and photos related to all things public health throughout the week. The theme this year is “A Healthier America: One Community at a Time” — so what better way to start than to bring attention to what the Lehigh Valley’s communities are doing on the public health front?

As  many of you know, the Lehigh Valley Board of Health is finalizing the plan and budget proposal for a regional health department. A Lehigh Valley Health Department will bring essential services — such as immunizations, health screenings, regular restaurant inspections, and education about better nutrition and physical activity — to all residents and workers across the region, regardless whether they live in the cities, borough, or townships. The plan for bi-county health department is subject to the approval of the Lehigh Valley county legislatures. To learn more about this effort — and to learn how you can help out — visit RenewLV’s Regional Health Initiative page.

Two cities in the Lehigh Valley — Allentown and Bethlehem — do have existing local health departments that provide high-quality services to the residents of those cities. Below is a brief overview of what the two departments are doing this week.

Allentown Health Bureau is celebrating National Public Health Week by honoring a different local health champion every day of this week. According to the Health Bureau, health champions “advocate, organize, encourage and inspire health improvements and an overall healthy lifestyle for themselves, their families and their communities.” You can read about today’s honored champion — Connie Kunda, former Head of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics at Muhlenberg College — on the City of Allentown’s website.

Meanwhile, Bethlehem Health Bureau is kicking off their Lunch N’ Motion walking program this Tuesday, April 6. The Express Times reports:

“We need to help promote healthy lifestyles and decrease obesity,” said Sherri Penchishen, the bureau’s director of chronic disease, health education and planning programs. “We’re trying to take the guesswork out of it.”

For the first month, the group will walk on the South Bethlehem Greenway and East Third Street. Starting in May, the program will rotate to another city neighborhood, although health bureau officials are hopeful the South Side walking group will continue on its own.

A twice-weekly program, Lunch N’ Motion runs noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. In the month of April, the group meets at the grassy area outside of Comfort Suites, 120 W. Third St. Parking is available at the hotel. For more information or to register, call Claudia Richan at 610-997-3562 or e-mail her at crichan@bethlehem-pa.gov

Make sure you subscribe to the Crossroads RSS feed to not miss any of our updates. Also, follow us on Twitter – @renewlv – as we will be linking to public health-related stories often this week. And, of course, visit RenewLV’s Regional Health Initiative page to find out about what you can do to help support the establishment of a Lehigh Valley Health Department.

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About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on April 5, 2010, in Education, Events, Health, Municipal Government and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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