My Day Through the Lens of Public Health

Unless your workplace is having a snow day or you brought an incredible lunch to look forward to – Mondays tend to be a bit of a bummer. As we all push through the daily grind – I try to revitalize my afternoon with a reminder of how often public health touches our lives each and every day…

Graphic courtesy of here

(Adopted from www.whatispublichealth.org)

 

6:30 am
BUZZ. Wake up and brush my teeth, take a shower and get that coffee brewing! Luckily, my water is potable and I don’t think twice about turning on a faucet.

7:04 am
My stomach is rumbling as I head to the kitchen to scarf down anything convenient and edible. Thankfully, in a more awake state of mind I was paying attention at this year’s American Public Health Association conference, which showed research on the country’s rising obesity epidemic and thus I’m opting for organic milk, oatmeal and OJ over pop tarts and energy drinks.

7:19 am
Cursing an insane driver who sped through a red light while texting, my seatbelt tugs at my shoulder and prevents whiplash, my brakes screech to a halt. Injury prevention is a silent lifesaver quietly involved in the mechanics and design of countless aspects of our lives.

7:30 am
Arriving safety to the office, someone posted a sign promoting free flu vaccines from the county health department tomorrow in the conference room. Making immunizations accessible, affordable and building awareness on influenza and other viruses is public health’s “bread and butter.”

10:19 am
Shifting in my chair, I feel the need for a break from the fluorescent lights. My company’s health and safety officer provided ergonomic advice for my desk set-up and made short walking breaks a suggested activity for all employees to avoid chronic pain and disease. Perhaps it’s even time to pursue the notion of a standing desk?

12:00 pm
Lunchtime! At the cafeteria, I notice a health inspection sticker at the salad bar. Norovirus, E. coli and salmonella are just a few “bad bugs” I’m grateful to avoid.

1:08 pm
Returning to my work space, I notice a missed call. Listening to it, I hear that my cousin just had a baby! Immediately, I call back to give them congratulations and also a heads up on an excellent prenatal clinic (which pushes the importance of nutrition, breastfeeding, stress reduction, other pregnancy care issues and subsequently, pushes for newborn screening tests for dozens of metabolic disorders to avoid developmental disability or worse).

4:49 pm
Minutes to happy hour, and I couldn’t be more grateful! Packing my belongings, I hear a siren and am comforted by the excellent response time of paramedics in the city.

5:36 pm
At my favorite nearby dive for happy hour food, I see the “No Smoking” sign walking in. Education on secondhand smoke and public health policyworkers made the smokefree environment possible – saving lives and avoiding deadly health effects through meaningful legislation.

6:13 pm
Rejuvenated after a healthy snack, I take a few laps around the gym before calling it a night. Recalling a lecture my primary care physician gave me on an exercise regiment, my New Year’s resolution is to take in 10-minute brisk walks, 3 times a day, 5 days a week and am feeling particularly ambitious tonight.

8:27 pm
Washing my hands before dinner comes as second nature, thanks to an instilled reminder from public health authorities my entire life.

10:45 pm
Before hitting the pillow hard, I chill out to my favorite zombie flick, where I rest easy with the knowledge of the state’s strong emergency preparedness and bioterrorism agencies. Sweet “zombie safe zone” dreams whisk me off into slumber and I’m eternally grateful for all the aspects of my life positively affected by our public health safety net.

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StudentSpeak

StudentSpeak

Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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