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It’s National Public Health Week! Spotlight: Public Health Nursing Division

April 1-7, 2024 is National Public Health Week!

Public health is more than just health care. It’s the steps we take to make sure our neighborhoods and environment are free from pollution. It’s making sure our food and water are safe to eat and drink. It’s also the relationships we foster in our communities. We’re all interconnected.

When we all come together to support public health, all of us — individuals, families, communities and the public health field — can achieve the goals of public health.

This week we encourage you to check out some of Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment’s most important public health initiatives, starting with our Public Health Nursing Division.

The Barnstable County Public Health Nursing Division, located within the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, offers a wide variety of health-related activities and services to Barnstable County residents. Our professional nursing staff directs efforts toward educating people about health issues, investigating health problems, providing immunizations, and engaging in community partnerships to identify and solve health problems.

The Division’s Public Immunization Program is one of our most utilized services. It provides a cost effective, convenient options to anyone seeking vaccination, including those without insurance. Due to capacity issues at many local pediatric practices, we provide childhood immunizations for families that might not otherwise be able to access to them. The Program also offers all travel vaccines and is listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel clinic website.

Our public health nurses (pictured below) are working hard out in our communities to bring health and wellness to everyone, even and especially those who lack resources to get sufficient healthcare services for themselves and their families. Look for their smiling faces at a health fair near you! They frequent local libraries, food pantries, councils on aging, and other venues to provide vaccines, health and wellness consultations, biometric screenings, and nutrition information to municipalities and residents alike.

Learn more about the offerings of our public health nursing division at Public Health Nurse – Barnstable County (!

Check out The Invisible Shield

“Public health saved your life today, but you didn’t even know it.”

“Public health has almost always been invisible. We have an invisibility crisis in public health and it impacts our ability to be appropriately resourced.”

“We only fund when there’s an emergency.”

“Clean water, breathable air, healthy food…these are protections that are made for all of us.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, public health was put to the test in every way possible. Barnstable County Department of Health & Environment, which was charged with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and contact tracing, answered the call to help our communities and protect the public health in every way possible. Where there roadblocks and challenges? Yes. Could things have been done better, faster, more efficiently from the federal level all the way down to the local level? Yes. COVID-19 exposed cracks in our public health system that need to be acknowledged and addressed, before another major public health crisis strikes.

The Invisible Shield, a four-part documentary series from RadicalMedia made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies, reveals how the field of public health has saved countless lives in the U.S., protecting people from the constant threat of disease and increasing lifespans. The series explores the hidden public health infrastructure that makes modern life possible. It highlights the thousands of unsung heroes — physicians, nurses, scientists, activists, reformers, engineers, and government officials — who work together to improve health outcomes, from the days of cholera and smallpox through the most recent battle with COVID-19.

View the trailer below: