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Will County Health Department Marks National Public Health Week

“This is Public Health” is the Theme

With the first week of April being National Public Health Week, the Will County Health Department is working on promoting how prominent public health is all around us. The theme “This is Public Health,” created by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), is the main focus around the health department as well as in the community.

“This is the most active we have been with National Public Health Week,” executive director Sue Olenek stated. The plans for the Health Department workers themselves include all five divisions having a day to talk about what they do, through morning open houses, along with special banners showing pictures of each division at work.

The schedule calls for the Community Health Center to be honored Monday the 2nd, followed respectively Tuesday through Friday by Administration (which includes the Emergency Preparedness and Response team), Environmental Health, Behavioral Health, and Family Health Services.
Much of the Health Department staff will be wearing t-shirts with the “This is Public Health” logo throughout National Public Health Week. And since National Walking Day occurs on Wednesday the 4th of April, the Health Department’s Wellness Committee is encouraging everyone to walk each day of the week during their lunchbreak. The top walkers in this effort, called “Once a Day for Public Health,” will receive prizes.

In addition, employees will be invited to participate in an informational scavenger hunt, where they will visit all five divisions and find out important information that applies to Will County residents when visiting the Health Department.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Barb Agor in the EP&R office,” Public Information Officer Steve Brandy said. “She mentioned the scavenger hunt idea for employees to me. And then we thought, ‘why not have them hunting for information rather than things?’ Then, it was Barb who did so much amazing work putting together our banners for National Public Health Week. All I had to do was submit the pictures of different divisions, and her creativity took it from there.”

Meanwhile, the effort to bring National Public Health Week and the “This is Public Health” campaign to the community has been happening for the last couple of weeks, through visits to Science and Health students at various high schools. “Susan Caitleux invited me to Joliet Central and Kristen Neuberg to Lincoln Way West,” Brandy recalled.
“We were able to talk about some of the interesting careers that exist in public health.
In fact, I had an Environmental Health sanitarian with me at Joliet Central telling some great stories from ‘out in the field,’ as well as two Community Health Educators who explained how their initial interest in teaching led them to careers teaching about public health issues; such as diabetes awareness, the dangers of tobacco, pregnancy prevention, and other areas.”

Brandy stated that another high school has a chapter doing some teaching on its own. “Mary Spata, a teacher at Joliet West High School, looks over their HOSA chapter, which is for students interested in professional health careers. They are planning all kinds of public health informational campaigns during National Public Health Week, especially during the lunch hours. In fact, I have encouraged other high schools to establish HOSA chapters as well. It gives them great experience, and allows them to work with the Health Department’s ‘Medical Reserve Corps’ volunteer group.”

For more information on Will County Health Department programs; at their Joliet, Bolingbrook, or Monee locations; go to