, Salem, MA

April 4, 2013

Letter: Public health workers play key role

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Public health is often called the invisible profession because people don’t hear much about it until a major problem or disaster occurs. Since the first week in April is National Public Health Week, I’d like to take this opportunity to explain what local boards of health/public health offices do for their communities.

Local boards of health in Massachusetts are required by state and local laws and regulations to perform many critical duties related to the protection of public health. These duties cover a wide range of public health control and prevention activities. Health directors and agents and public health nurses work in your community to protect the food supply, water supply, air and land; control infectious disease; and promote sanitary living conditions in housing. We inspect pools, beaches, tanning facilities and recreational camps for children; enforce state lead poisoning and anti-smoking laws; and are partners in emergency planning. We attend to many other responsibilities that keep people healthy, including offering influenza vaccination clinics and dental clinics and promoting healthy behaviors such as sun safety, eating right and exercising.

Local public health offices are critical to a community’s health. Just take a moment to imagine how different our lives would be if the local public health system disappeared.

If you have any questions about the Ipswich Public Health Office, please call me at 978-356-6606.

Colleen E. Fermon

Public Health Director