National Public Health Week

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation's health.

Everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life in a safe environment.  To make that possible, we need to address the causes of poor health and disease risk among individuals and within our communities.  Where we live, learn, work, worship and play affects each of us and can determine our health and life expectancy.  In the workplace, let's partner across public and private sectors to make sure decisions are made with the public's health in mind.  Within our communities, let's start new conversations with our neighbors and become advocates for positive change.  Working together, we can build healthier communities and eventually, the healthiest nation.  But we need your help to get there.

Each day this week will focus on a different public health topic that's critical to creating the healthiest nation.  This page contains information about each of these health topics, including ways the Sarpy/Cass Health Department is addressing them.  Consider following our Facebook and Twitter pages for additional information.

Daily Themes

Monday:  Mental Health

Tuesday:  Maternal and Child Health

Wednesday:  Violence Prevention

Thursday:  Environmental Health

Friday:  Education

Saturday:  Healthy Housing

Sunday: Economics


Mental health is essential to personal well-being, family and interpersonal relationships, and the ability to contribute to community or society.  One in five Americans experiences some form of mental illness, and that doesn't just impact the individual: it has a ripple effect that touches families, communities, and society overall.  According to the Sarpy/Cass Health Department's 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment, 34% of Omaha metropolitan residents reported their mental health status as "excellent", and an additional 35.8% reported "very good". 

To ensure our communities are the healthiest they can be, the Sarpy/Cass Health Department offers a variety of programs addressing mental health and suicide prevention.  QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training is an evidenced-based program taught by a Certified QPR Instructor.  People that attend these trainings learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis, respond to someone who may be having suicidal thoughts, and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help.  

Today, Monday, April 6, the Health Department will be offering a free suicide prevention training for the public.  QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training will be taught from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. at the Department's office at 701 Olson Drive, Suite 101, in Papillion.  Everyone is welcome to attend this class and learn about this mental health intervention for suicidal persons.  If you plan to attend, please call or email at 402-339-4334 or by April 1.  Additional information on QPR training can be found at


Maternal and child health efforts focus on ensuring the health of mothers and babies throughout the lifespan.  In the United States, nearly  25% of pregnant women do not receive sufficient prenatal care, and that percentage is even higher for African American mothers.

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department offers a variety of maternal and child health services to our community.  Our goals are to promote healthy families, empower parents through education and support, improve breastfeeding success, and develop community connections.

In the fall of 2019, the Department opened the Sarpy/Cass Baby Cafe in our office in Papillion.  This free resource for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers includes support from certified lactation staff and WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, opportunities to share experiences and make friends, and refreshments, comfortable seating, and open-forum discussions.  The Sarpy/Cass Baby Cafe also offers a fun play area for accompanying toddlers.


Today, Tuesday, April 7, is the official grand opening of the Sarpy/Cass Baby Cafe. Join the celebration at 9:45 a.m. with a ribbon cutting and tour of the Baby Cafe space. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are invited to stay from 10:00 a.m. through noon to experience first-hand the benefits of breastfeeding peer support.


Violence is a serious problem in the United States, and affects people in all stages of life.  Child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, suicide, youth violence, and elder abuse can happen in any community.  In 2016, more than 19,000 people were victims of homicide and nearly 45,000 people took their own life (CDC, 2019).  According to the 2018 County Health Rankings Report, the number of reported violent crime offenses per 100,000 population is 64 in Sarpy County and 95 in Cass County.  Violence affects communities by reducing productivity, decreasing property values, and disrupting social services.

Preventing youth violence begins by promoting family environments that support healthy development.  The maternal and child health nurses at the Sarpy/Cass Health Department provide early childhood home visitation and teach parenting and family relationship skills.  Through the Health Department's Safe Kids Sarpy/Cass program, children are provided with health education to strengthen their skills to prevent youth violence.  Health Department staff also provide programs aimed at educating community partners and school personnel about mental health and suicide prevention.


2017 Crime in Nebraska Report
Preventing Suicide Fact Sheet
Understanding Elder Abuse
Preventing Sexual Violence
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect



The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the condition of our homes all affect our health.  According to the Sarpy/Cass Health Department's 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment, 9.3% of metro area adults have asthma, 11.3% "often" or "sometimes" had food insecurities (worried about their food running out before they had money for more), and 

Today, Thursday, April 9, the Health Department will be distributing free short-term radon gas testing kits to the first 50 homeowners in Sarpy or Cass Counties that stops in our office to pick one up.  The kits will be available while supplies last from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at 701 Olson Drive, Suite 101, in Papillion.


Climate change has been identified as one of the greatest threats to public health, and is linked to more frequent and extreme natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding , and drought.  It negatively impacts food security, water and air quality, and increases the risks of vector-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus.  Climate change disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations including the elderly, children, and people living with chronic diseases.

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department provides education, training, and resources to our residents to ensure they are prepared for the effects of environmental outbreaks and disaster situations.  Visit the Health Department's Preparedness page to learn more about preparing for issues commonly encountered in Nebraska, including flooding, winter storms, and extreme heat.

The Health Department will be providing a variety of public health education through our social media accounts today.  Keep an eye out for tips and resources throughout the day.


Communities across the world struggle with preventable diseases and other health challenges, including outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, drug-resistant pathogens, growing rates of obesity and physical inactivity, and the health impacts of environmental pollution. 

The World Health Organization identified the top ten threats to global health in 2019.  The top issues that will need attention this year include:

  • Air pollution and climate change
  • Noncommunicable diseases (including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease)
  • Global Influenza pandemic
  • Fragile and vulnerable settings
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Ebola and other high-threat pathogens
  • Weak primary health care
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Dengue
  • HIV

10 Threats to Health in 2019 - World Health Organization
Top 10 Causes of Death - World Health Organization
Recommended Vaccines by Disease - CDC



Communities across the world struggle with preventable diseases and other health challenges, including outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, drug-resistant pathogens, growing rates of obesity and physical inactivity, and the health impacts of environmental pollution. 

The World Health Organization identified the top ten threats to global health in 2019.  The top issues th