It’s National Public Health Week

Image courtesy of the American Public Health Association

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Each year the American Public Health Association sponsors National Public Health Week, this year from April 3-9. Public health deals with the health of populations, not of individuals, and largely with prevention of disease. Some of the most successful public health interventions have been the development and installation of safe municipal water systems, toilets, and vaccine programs largely in the 20th century that prevented hundreds of millions if not billions of premature deaths and cases of illness worldwide.

I am a member of the APHA, as is Jamie Banks, PhD, MSc, founder and president of The Quiet Coalition’s parent organization, Quiet Communities, Inc. Dr. Banks is also chair of the APHA’s Noise & Health Committee, on which I serve. In 2021 she spearheaded the revision of the APHA policy on Noise as a Public Health Problem, which was published last year.

During National Public Health Week, I want to call attention again to this APHA policy, and to the dangers of noise for the public. As the policy notes, noise exposure doesn’t just cause hearing loss in workers and the public, but has non-auditory health effects including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and increased mortality. Noise also interferes with learning and decreases productivity. The health of more than 100 million Americans is at risk with children among the most vulnerable.

As our colleague Arline Bronzaft, PhD, has noted for years, we have the methods to make the world a quieter place, we just need the will to do it.

During National Public Health Week, let’s redouble our efforts to make the country and the world a quieter and better place for all.

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