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:  Healthy Communities

Tuesday:  Injury and Violence Prevention

Wednesday:  Rural Health

Thursday:  Technology and Public Health

Friday:  Climate Change, Environmental Health, and Preparedness

Saturday and Sunday: Global Health


People's health, longevity and well-being are connected to their communities - the places we live, learn, work, worship and play.  Having safe biking and walking opportunities, good air quality, safe drinking water, access to healthy foods, and access to health-promoting opportunities all impact our health and life expectancy.  According to the Sarpy/Cass Health Department's 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment, nearly 20% of Omaha metropolitan residents reported their health status as "excellent", and an additional 38% reported "very good". 

To ensure our communities are the healthiest they can be, the Sarpy/Cass Health Department offers a variety of programs addressing maternal child health, chronic disease prevention, facility inspections, emergency preparedness, senior health, disease surveillance and community outreach.  This past year, the Health Department has provided the following services to our residents:

Program Highlights


Today, Monday, April 1, the Health Department is celebrating our healthy communities by welcoming the community into our building for an open house.  Between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., stop in our office at 701 Olson Drive, Suite 101, in Papillion to learn more about what public health does for the community.  We will be providing a variety of complimentary services including blood pressure screenings and bike helmet fittings (plus a limited number of free bike helmets will be available while supplies last), free home screening tests including short-term radon test kits and colorectal cancer screening kits, and an array of health education information.


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


Today the Health Department will be offering a free Question Persuade Refer (QPR) training from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  QPR is a suicide prevention training for anyone in a position to recognize that someone may be contemplating suicide.  Register by calling Michelle at (402) 537-6977 or e-mailing at  Click here for more information about the  QPR Training.


Rural communities face a range of health disparities, from higher burdens of chronic disease to limited access to primary care and prevention services.  When compared to people living in urban areas, rural Americans face a greater risk of death from the five leading causes of death - heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke.  According to the 2018 County Health Rankings Report, the ratio of residents to primary care physicians in Cass County is 3,190:1.  In comparison, this ratio across all of Nebraska is 1,340:1.  Telemedicine, school-based health centers, and ride-sharing services are just a handful of ways that our rural residents can increase their access to health care. 

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department is addressing gaps in health in our rural communities by providing a variety of programs to increase access to health services and health education.  This past year, the Health Department has provided the following services to our rural residents:

  • Provided mental health education to staff at a K-12 school district
  • Provided 30 wellness clinics
  • Provided 52 home visits to our senior population
  • Provided 49 home visits to pregnant women and mother's parenting children up to age three
  • Provided 2 breastfeeding classes
  • Installed 5 child passenger safety seats
  • Provided health education courses for children
  • Provided health coaching to women with chronic diseases

Nebraska Office of Rural Health
Nebraska Rural Hospital Association
Nebraska Critical Access Hospitals - Map
Nebraska Medicare Certified Rural Health Clinics - Map
Cass County 2018 County Health Rankings


Visit us at the Plattsmouth Community Center (308 South 18th Street, Plattsmouth) from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. today to learn more about what public health does for rural communities.  We will be providing free home screening tests including short-term radon test kits and colorectal cancer screening kits, and an array of health education information.  


Many people lack the basic skills and supportive relationships to meet their health needs.  Limited access to healthcare services can result in lower usage rates of preventative services, less knowledge about chronic disease prevention, and poorer health status.  More and more, healthcare and public health are turning to technology to deliver health information and services.  Effective use of information technology has the potential to improve health care quality, increase the efficiency of public health service delivery, support care in the community and at home, and to increase the health knowledge of residents.  The use of social media has the potential to aid local public health departments in disseminating information across our communities, connect with hard-to-reach populations, and deliver accessible health information that is targeted to specific populations.

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department maintains robust Twitter and Facebook pages to provide a variety of health information to our communities.

twitter     facebook


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.


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