SOMERVILLE, NJ - As part of Public Health Thank You Day Nov.  20, Somerset County is joining leading U.S. public health organizations in recognizing public health professionals who are committed to overcoming challenges to protect the health of all Americans.

“Public Health Thank You Day honors all those unsung heroes who keep us safe from infectious diseases, protect our food supply, prevent injuries in the community, increase the rate of immunizations and so much more,” said Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, public health & safety liaison. “We are pleased to join in with our expression of gratitude.

"Successful public health endeavors are often invisible because when they work people avoid illness and their quality of life is improved, she added. "Public health programs address underlying and contributing causes which lead to people living longer, healthier lives – for instance, they didn’t have a heart attack, are breathing better because of smoking prevention or have avoided infectious diseases due to vaccination."

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 “Public Health Thank You Day recognizes those people who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to prevent and find solutions for some of our most crucial public health threats,” said Dr. Paul Masaba, Somerset County Department of Health director. “It’s important that we not only thank them but acknowledge their daily contributions in addressing current and emerging health concerns.”

Despite the many challenges and risks, which include the growing opioid epidemic, concerns with multi-state foodborne outbreaks and limited resources to address mental health and unsafe drinking water, public health professionals continue to dedicate their time and energy to combating disease and building a healthier environment.

The Somerset County Department of Health is dedicated to combating disease and building a healthier environment for county residents.  Preparing for formidable diseases such as Ebola and Zika; assuring access to health care and services; addressing disease-specific issues such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease; and promoting protective behaviors such as handwashing are among the essential services provided by public health professionals at the county level.

The county health department regularly addresses risks and challenges such as protecting the public from environmental influences like lead-based paint, unsafe drinking water and noise pollution. In addition, it provides childhood vaccinations; prepares communities for hurricanes, disasters and emergency sheltering; and maximizes community efforts to assure all residents have access to healthy, nutritious foods.  

The Somerset County Department of Health, the Healthier Somerset Coalition, various institutions within the county public health infrastructure, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work together to tackle these threats and other health challenges year-round.

More information on the public health work of the Somerset County Department of Health can be found at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health.