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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: April 5, 2013


The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) joined U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper and Henrietta Johnson Medical Center to celebrate National Public Health Week (April 1 - 7, 2013). The event message "good health is more than a visit to the doctor" highlights the importance of a holistic approach to health, including:

"Public health services are vital to meeting the needs of many Delaware families," said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). "If we focus our public health efforts on prevention and wellness in an effort to keep Americans healthy, instead of waiting until people are sick to provide treatment, we will be healthier as a nation, and future spending on health care can be reduced."

Good public health is also a partnership between the individual, family, health care system, and larger community. It is about making good choices every day, creating a community dedicated to supporting good health, and making an investment in prevention programming, such as the recently launched Promoting Healthy Activities Together program - better known as "P.H.A.T."

Targeting girls in third to seventh grades, the P.H.A.T program works with students and parents to develop life plans, and provide education on behavioral health topics, hygiene, and the 5-2-1-Almost None healthy lifestyles guidelines. P.H.A.T. teaches girls that when they know more, they do better. The program is getting results. Seventy-four percent of participants report they drink more water; 84 percent report eating more fruits and vegetables; and 100 percent report increasing their physical activity.

"Henrietta Johnson Medical Center is committed to treating the whole person," said Rosa Rivera, CEO of Henrietta Johnson. "The P.H.A.T. program is just one of many examples of the work we do to improve public health as we work in our community and with our neighbors."

DPH's Diabetes Prevention and Control Program is also partnering with Henrietta Johnson's staff to help persons with type 2 diabetes manage their condition by improving their quarterly blood sugar reading, improving diabetes self-management, and learning how to live healthier. The six-week-long workshops are free and teach participants how to develop written Action Plans. In Delaware, over 500 people have received certificates for completing at least four of the six sessions.

Another community-based, holistic initiative is the Health Ambassador program, funded by the Affordable Care Act, which-among other services-refers people to the Diabetes Management Program. Two Health Ambassadors help promote the health and well-being of Henrietta Johnson's neighbors, especially pregnant women, fathers and young families by seeing them as a whole person. The goal is to help people in the community connect to the information and services they need including health care, social services, healthy lifestyle choices, and home visiting programs.

"At the Division of Public Health we share messages every day about the importance of healthy eating, physical activity, and not using tobacco," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director. "Celebrating public health week and this day, however, enables us to highlight the depth of commitment by so many partners and the programs that are necessary in order for Delawareans to optimize their health."

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.