THANKYOUDAY15-FINALIf the last year of preparing for and responding to the Zika virus has taught us anything, it’s that public health workers will not be deterred from protecting and serving our communities. Faced with a novel disease threat and lacking funding commitments to respond for much of the year, public health agencies rallied to protect public health.

In a message today to commemorate Public Health Thank You Day, APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, called such commitment “commendable.”

He celebrated other progress made over the year: decreasing tobacco use, reducing the number of uninsured Americans to a record low and addressing environmental threats such as climate change. But, he said, “We still have much work to do.

“While enormous challenges lie ahead, I want to take the time today, Public Health Thank You Day, to honor the work you do each and every day to improve the health of all people and all communities.”

Other leaders sounded their appreciation as well.

“It’s easy to miss public health successes – you don’t see the heart attacks that don’t happen, the years added to the lives of those who quit smoking, or the flu death avoided because of vaccines,” said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a news release. “To all who have dedicated their careers to help us live our lives to the fullest, thank you!”

“We are all vulnerable to communicable and non-communicable diseases, injuries, and other threats to our heath, with the poorest among us disproportionately affected,” said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. “Today, we salute the millions of public health workers globally – in communities, clinics, research laboratories, health departments and many other settings who have dedicated their lives to helping all the world’s people achieve the highest attainable standard of health. Thank you for your service!”

Organized by Research America, Public Health Thank You Day is set aside to recognize public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect us from disease, injury and other health threats.

“Public Health Thank You Day salutes those whose work has made a difference in protecting the health of Americans, sometimes putting their own lives at risk,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “It’s important that we not only thank them on Nov. 21, but recognize their contributions daily as they work tirelessly to combat current and emerging health threats.”

In honor of the observance, the co-chairs of the Public Health Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives — Reps. Robert Wittman (R-VA), Gene Green (D-TX), Kay Granger (R-TX) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), introduced a resolution recognizing this important work.

It reads: “That it is the sense of Congress that public health professionals in the United States are to be celebrated, commended and thanked for their profoundly important contributions to the nation on Public Health Thank You Day.”

Learn more about how you can show your appreciation on the Research America website.