Question of the Week

April 7, 2003


It seems as though each month, week, or day has been claimed to bring awareness to a different cause. Prior to the Question of the Week are some topics to think about this April.

"As always, the American Public Health Association (APHA) is honored to take the lead in partnering with other public health organizations, agencies and associations to prepare and disseminate materials in order to make this week a success....The year's theme is overweight and obesity. The goal during this week is to educate American adults and children about the health risks associated with this fast-growing epidemic and to present communities and individuals with ways to 'shape up their future.'"

"Autism Awareness Month, celebrated every year in April, provides an opportunity for families, friends, and local communities to raise public awareness about autism....Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects an individual's social interaction and communication. It is known as a spectrum disorder, because it affects each individual in different ways and to varying degrees."

"The month of April has been proclaimed National Youth Sports Safety Month....Each year the campaign focuses on a different aspect of injury prevention. Past campaigns have addressed: the emergency plan, preparticipation physicals, individual risk factors, coaching education, eating disorders, the recognition of sports injuries, safety equipment, and emotional injuries. This year the focus will be on keeping informed about the most current youth sports safety resources."

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced that the month of April will be observed as National Donate Life Month to help raise public awareness of the critical need for organ, tissue, marrow and blood donation. 'Each year the month of April brings springtime and nature's renewal,' said Secretary Thompson. 'Now, each April will remind all Americans of their own ability to renew and enhance life through the gift of donation.'"

"17th Annual Alcohol Awareness Month 2003 Theme: GIVE CHILDREN A CHANCE - END UNDERAGE DRINKING...Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence since 1987, encourages local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues...."

"This year, National Sleep Awareness Week® takes place March 31 - April 6, 2003. The theme for NSAW 2003 is 'Let Sleep Work For You!' What is National Sleep Awareness Week? It's a major public awareness campaign sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation to promote the importance of quality sleep to health, productivity and safety. The campaign coincides with the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, when we turn our clocks forward one hour and therefore risk losing an hour of sleep. NSF's annual Sleep in America polls show that it is an hour of sleep that most Americans can't afford to lose."

"National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 6 - 12, 2003....Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters will speak at the event. The message for this year‚s campaign is: In 2001, over 1,000 people lost their life in a highway work zone crash. Four out of five were motorists. Don‚t add to the numbers - Stay Alert and Obey the Speed Limit!"

"Removing Dangerous Animal Swings is the Focus of National Playground Safety Week, 2003
April 21-25, 2003
More than 10,000 animal figure swings were installed in parks, schools, child care centers, and public playgrounds between 1951 and 1991. These animal swings have caused serious head injuries and deaths to children. An undetermined number can still be found on many public playgrounds. In recognition of National Playground Safety Week, the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) and the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and its members are announcing a voluntary initiative to find and remove the old animal swings."

"In the past year, answers have come fast and furious about the causes�and possible solutions�for high minority cancer rates. So as we observe the 17th annual Minority Cancer Awareness Week, April 20-26, the nation is challenged to make progress against cancer reach every American, regardless of race, ethnicity, or income."

Questions of the Week:
How well does an "Awareness Week" really work to raise interest and help others learn about specific topics? Are there too many groups trying to use this method to raise awareness? In what ways is this a good method to help educate the public? What other ways can you think of to help increase public interest in important health issues?

Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum

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