National Public Health Week is a celebration of all things public health: It’s a time for public health professionals, students, academics and advocates to celebrate the good work they’ve done, and to look toward the work we have yet to do. It’s also a time to introduce the public to public health, and to see where they fit within it. 

NPHW 2024, which came to a close April 7, was all of that and more. With a theme of “Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We Are All Public Health,” APHA showcased the way public health and healthy communities intersect. Community leaders, grassroots organizers, public health practitioners and students all had their moment to shine during the Association’s 11 events.Pattie Gonia, an environmentalist and drag queen, speak at the online APHA forum

Pattie Gonia, a critically acclaimed artist, environmentalist and drag queen, set the stage for the week during the celebration’s opening event. One of Gonia’s key takeaways was for everyone in public health and beyond to not see themselves as a cog in a well-oiled machine, but instead a healthy and thriving meadow — each piece just as important as the others, all vital for a healthy ecosystem. 

Student Day was held Tuesday, with a focus on where and how to launch a public health career. “Getting our First Gig,” a returning favorite event, showed different pathways students and early-career professionals could take toward a variety of public health jobs.

APHA also hosted a discussion on the benefits of attending a minority-serving institution, with students, professors and administrators talking about how students in public health and beyond can find unique services and communities there.

“This event allowed us to connect with high schoolers, undergraduates and prospective graduate students, giving them an opportunity to think more critically about where they can pursue a public health degree — a conversation I really wish I’d had thought more about when I was back in college,” said Arianne Noorestani, APHA Affiliate manager and lead organizer of Student Day.

Another standout event this year was a fireside chat that featured APHA President Ella Greene-Moton and NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, JD. The chat highlighted how truly intersectional public health is and how two organizations can share resources and expertise to collaborate with each other’s networks and advance racial and health equity. 

“This is what National Public Health Week is all about,” Noorestani said. “It doesn’t matter if you are just embarking on your public health journey or a seasoned professional. NPHW is...a safe space for discussion on our collective role in shaping public health.”

Public Health Workforce Day was held Thursday, with three webinars offering continuing education credits. Events included a session on climate change activism, a webinar highlighting the opportunities provided by the Public Health AmeriCorps program, and a session on how public health professionals can access All of Us Research Program datasets and use them to support their work. 

Recordings of APHA’s NPHW events are available online now and are free and accessible for all.

Challenge participants log 1 billion steps

The Keep It Moving Challenge came to a triumphant close during NPHW after three months of inspiration. More than 2,200 people walked, danced, swam, rolled and posed their way to an impressive amount of activity — almost 964 million points, equivalent to nearly 1 billion steps. This year’s challenge also featured for musical playlists to keep participants motivated, and a chat function so participants could talk about their movement, scenery on their walks and more.

“It’s the sense of community that truly sets the challenge apart — supporting each other, celebrating milestones and fostering a culture of well-being,” said Ursula Oguejiofor, MPH, APHA Affiliate specialist and Keep It Moving Challenge lead. “Here’s to the vibrant community built and the lasting impact of our collective efforts!”

Hundreds of people talked about public health during April 3’s NPHW chat, which was held on both X and Threads. More than 1,300 posts with the event hashtag were shared on X alone, with more than 59 million impressions — helping to spread the NPHW message even farther online.

APHA sends an enormous thank you to our more than 800 NPHW partners — particularly our 2024 NPHW Champions, who support NPHW programming financially — and the more than 100 communities across the country that hosted their own events, webinars, conversations and more.

It is in our network that NPHW truly becomes national. Thank you to everyone who joined us for this year’s celebrations. We’ll see you for NPHW 2025, April 7-13!

Lindsey Wahowiak is director of APHA’s Affiliate Affairs Department, which organizes APHA’s National Public Health Week activities and provides resources to spur engagement nationwide.