Olympia – On February 7th, approximately 150 public health workers descended on Olympia to meet with the legislature and discuss public health issues impacting Washingtonians across the state. The event was organized by the Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA) and participants included local health jurisdictions, the state department of health, community agencies, advocacy groups, and students. WSALPHO helped sponsor the event and had over 50 members attend, including many first time attendees.
The day started with a welcome and an opening remarks on state priorities by Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman. His talk focused on Tobacco 21 – the top priority of his department – the opiate epidemic, and encouraging continued engagement with policymakers throughout the year. Next, a panel including WSALPHO President Chris Bischoff (Wahkiakum County), Patty Hayes (Director, Public Health Seattle-King County), Allene Mares (Department of Health), and Jaime Bodden (managing director, WSALPHO) wrapped up last session’s efforts on Foundational Public Health Services, discussed current work of local jurisdictions to implement FPHS, and highlighted on-going needs.
Participants then worked to develop and practice their messages before spending the afternoon on the hill meeting with legislative aids, pulling legislators from their chamber floor and caucuses, and meeting with other attendees from their districts. Topics covered by participants included Tobacco 21, foundational public health services, and funding for critical public health programs.
Public Health Education Day has been an annual event for several years. The day is an opportunity for the state public health workforce to connect with their district Representatives and Senators and educate them on emerging public health priorities and important public health issues throughout the state.
Photo 1 – Secretary John Wiesman answers questions from the audience
Photo 2 – Participants meet in the morning
Photo 3 – Event co-planner Anne Burkland (Public Health Seattle-King County)
Photo 4 – FPHS panel (Allene Mares, Chris Bischoff, Patty Hayes, Jaime Bodden)
Photo 5 – Patty Hayes (Public Health Seattle-King County) discusses current FPHS work
Photo 6 – Chris Bischoff (Wahkiakum County) addresses participants
Photo 7 – Participants network during the day
Photo 8 – Participants meet-up in front of the galleries