Posted April 6, 2022
This week, April 4-10, is National Public Health Week. The theme for this year is “Public Health is Where You Are,” and I certainly think that is fitting for all that we’ve experienced over the last couple of years. I think KMA in particular has embodied this theme through its public health work, as we continue seeking to ‘meet people where they are’ with our public health messages.
Our multimedia lung health effort with the Anthem Foundation, Breathe Better Kentucky, recently helped sponsor, in part, a three-episode series on KET called “Fighting to Breathe: Lung Disease in Kentucky.” The program examined the under told story of lung disease in Kentucky: the causes, the impact on those afflicted and the exciting new developments in treatment and prevention. The program can be viewed and shared at ket.org/breathe. We will continue promoting this campaign and improvements in lung health efforts, including the recently expanded coverage for lung cancer screening with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) and the reduced age requirement to get screened, which will improve health outcomes.
Our COVID-19 vaccination efforts also continue to get our messages in front of those who need to hear them the most. Through a workgroup with the Department for Public Health, we have published content encouraging students and families to get their COVID-19 vaccines prior to any spring break travel and in conjunction with sports physicals. In collaboration with KHSAA, the group also sponsored material at the Sweet 16 State High School Basketball Tournament, including video from KMA’s “Take It From Me” campaign featuring various physicians, including KMA President-Elect Monalisa Tailor, M.D.
In addition, we’ve been excited to continue working with the Kentucky Crushed Stone Association on encouraging miners to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They are currently applying for a national grant to conduct a campaign targeting miners in Kentucky and have requested assistance from the KMA in designing and implementing the campaign. The grant is being sought through the US Department of Labor and may feature some of the material previously produced by the KMA.
As always, I continue to be proud of the public health work of the KMA, this week and every week, and I thank you for helping us further these important efforts.
The KMA board lost two members these past few weeks, both of whom were not only important KMA leaders, but leaders in other areas as well. SarahBeth Hartlage led Louisville’s covid vaccine efforts and days before her passing, was featured in the media for saving the life of a person on the flight taking her to Florida. Bill Monnig, from my area of the state, was a Past-President of the KMA, as well as a Past Chair of our political action committee. He also chaired and participated in many different committees, commissions and groups at the local, state and national levels of organized medicine throughout his long career. Doctor Hartlage was our newest elected board member, while Doctor Monnig was the dean of the board. Their work and experience will be sorely missed.