“Public health” is a strange and nebulous term. But public health affects the life of every person in Wyoming, and not just during a pandemic.
Public health involves thinking about health not at an individual level, but at a community level. Instead of working to improve the health of one patient, I am working to improve the health of everyone in Wyoming. Just like a doctor measures the health of a patient with temperature checks or diagnostic tests, we use data to understand when the health of our community is under threat.
And just like doctors, public health professionals like me have tools to improve the health of a community. But rather than prescriptions and surgery, our tools reach much more broadly—things like health education to prevent teens from vaping, bike trails to promote physical activity, water quality testing to ensure safe drinking water, and vaccines to protect against disease.
As our community grapples with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need public health more than ever to ensure our health and safety. To do that, our county gets a ‘check-up’ in the form of a needs assessment every three years. A couple of concerns in Laramie County from our most recent ‘visit’ include a suicide rate that is twice the national average and 40% of high school students reporting vaping in the last month.
As a public health professional, I have been trained to improve community health. I put the community first and identify unique solutions that will help improve the lives of all of us. This experience makes me uniquely prepared to represent House District 11. I am trained to put my community first.