I have a confession to make; as a health worker, I think public health “awareness” days are dumb. Sure, it’s a good idea to designate days for special outreach and education, but there are so many specially designated days/weeks/months now, that their effects are diluted. For example: the first week in March is Patient Safety Awareness Week, National School Breakfast Week, and National Sleep Awareness Week. I just can’t fit all of that into my schedule.
Like a good public health worker, I am in the process of planning my health promotion activities for next year. Searching for inspiration, I knew that I was in for a landslide of health observances to choose from when I downloaded the 2013 National Health Observances Calendar to from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What I didn’t realize was just how many obscure or poorly-named health observances I would have to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites:
Brain Awareness Week: I think some people need to be encouraged to celebrate this observance throughout the year.
National Tsunami Awareness Week and National Salt Awareness Week: I’m not convinced that there is a lack of awareness among our citizens of the existence of either tsunamis or salt. What’s worse is that these observances are scheduled for the same week.
Ultraviolet Awareness Month: Ultraviolet is an adjective, so I have no choice but to believe that in this phrase “ultraviolet” is describing the type of awareness we are being encouraged to have. Let’s burn people’s skin with the strength of our awareness!
Get Ready Day: Is this about the zombie apocalypse? The calendar doesn’t specify, but I think it’s a good idea. Preparing for the zombie apocalypse prepares us for a host of other events by proxy.
International Survivors of Suicide Day: That can’t be a well-attended party. I wonder if it has a companion holiday for the survivors of murder?
Alcohol Awareness Month: Every April, you’re all encouraged to be aware of alcohol and make other people aware of alcohol. Think you can handle it?
Considering Louisianians love any excuse to have a festival or throw a party, the DHHS has given us 175 more excuses. I can’t wait to see what you plan for your National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month party!