Public health is everywhere — in clean water, safe roads and effective vaccines. It is also within cultures and communities, which influence lifelong health and well-being.

National Public Health Week, organized by APHA, is a chance to celebrate and engage Americans around public health. This year’s theme,“Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health,” highlights the diversity and uniqueness of communities and their resilience in the face of threats to their health.

“Our communities and cultures have so much impact on our health,” Lindsey Wahowiak, APHA director of Affiliate affairs, told The Nation’s Health. “This year, we celebrate all the ways cultures aid health and how public health can help uplift them.”Two college students pose in front of vaccine mural during NPHW 2022

The annual event, April 3-9, will bring together health workers, advocates, educators, students, community members and more to partner and raise awareness of public health’s importance to society.

Every day of NPHW will feature a health topic that organizers are building activities and outreach around. Monday will focus on community; Tuesday, violence prevention; Wednesday, reproductive and sexual health; Thursday, mental health; Friday, rural health; Saturday, accessibility; and Sunday, nutrition and food. Fact pages on each of the topics are available on the NPHW website.

Hundreds of NPHW events are held across the U.S. every year. In Grand Forks, North Dakota, the local health agency is working with its mayor to present a NPHW proclamation to the City Council and organize a public health champion awards ceremony, said Sarah Odegard, RN, who coordinates NPHW at Grand Forks Public Health.

“We have many local public health heroes who advocate for health policies and promote the well-being of our citizens and often go unrecognized,” Odegard told The Nation’s Health. “We love to promote this week and raise awareness of what we do and honor the public health champions who help us.”

The agency also will present an online contest called “Healthy Selfies,” in which residents submit photos of “random acts of health,” such as gardening, riding a bike or playing tennis. A random winner will receive a prize donated by a community business.

Other events planned across the U.S., as shared by organizers on APHA’s NPHW calendar, include fitness walks, speaker panels, information booths, CPR classes, networking events and film festivals.

APHA is organizing national events, including Student Day, a Twitter chat, webinars, a virtual yoga class and an art contest. A live online forum will kick off the week on April 3.

APHA’s Keep It Moving Challenge, which helps motivate people to become and stay active, continues through April 9. Participants join teams, track activities and can win prizes. The annual event is especially popular this year, with twice as many participants as 2022. 

For challenge participant Ash Philliber, PhD, of Accord, New York, having teammates increases motivation to stay active and engaged.

“They are truly amazing people, and on days when I want to do nothing, I think about how that means one of them has to do more,” Philliber told The Nation’s Health. “We really all feel responsible to each other, but in a positive way.”

The NPHW website offers step-by-step event planning tips, sample promotional language — including a NPHW proclamation — and social media shareables.

Check out the resources and make plans to celebrate!

Caption: A mural project at the University of Florida in Gainesville uses art to promote vaccine confidence during NPHW 2022. (Photo courtesy AlexandraRodriguez)