Health Department enlists Hollywood to get points across

Friday, April 1, 2016

The people at the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department are enlisting the entertainment professionals in Hollywood to get its message across.

They still have a Website, news releases and brochures, but nobody beats Julia Roberts or Dustin Hoffman for keeping people's attention.

SWNPHD and other public health agencies can explain at length their roles in surveillance, investigation, emergency preparedness, environmental health, immunizations and education, but it's always better to show someone than just tell them.

To do that during next week's National Public Health Week, SWNPHD Director Myra Stoney is suggesting viewing movies like Outbreak, Contagion, Erin Brockovich and The Deadly Fever: A Documentary on America's Yellow Fever Disaster.

While agencies perform the duties listed above, the members of the public have their own duties, such as acquiring good handwashing skills, staying home when you run a fever, covering your cough and being prepared for emergencies.

Agencies are bringing new media and technology into play as well, recommending apps such as Quealth, TravWell, FEMA and Kids Get A Plan, and YouTube suggested viewing includes Should You Get Vaccinated? What is Public Health? Are You Breathing Radon? and Disaster Preparedness Episode 2.

Plus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website is an important resource.

The agency is also enlisting a Flat Stanley-type character, Public Health Pete, who will be traveling around the globe to learn about public health issues. You can keep track of him at www.swhealth.ne.gov, on Facebook and Twitter.

But avoiding illness is only half of the equation when it comes to good health.

SWNPHD is spotlighting the other half with its Walk to Health program which begins this Sunday.

The 12-week program is designed to help get the blood flowing and strengthen your heart. Be sure to check with your family physician before starting any new exercise program.

It's a simple program:

* Walk everyday.

* Record each days activity on our tracking log.

* Track your weight and inches lost (optional).

* At the end of the 12 weeks, turn in the tracking log and evaluation form.

* Receive a free t-shirt.

For more information, visit http://1.usa.gov/1MHacsI

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