Oregonians are able to live longer and healthier, thanks to the efforts of state, local and federal public health agencies.
The alarm clock buzzes. Stumbling out of bed, you head for the shower and then brush your teeth. The water coming out of the faucet is clean and safe, thanks to public health.
After waking your children you go to the kitchen. Mornings are rushed, but you have heard public health messages about the importance of a healthy breakfast. You set out milk, fresh fruit and whole grain cereal.
Pulling on coats and gathering bags, your family heads for the car. Fastening seatbelts is an automatic habit. Public health helped pass Oregon's seat belt and child car seat laws and promotes their use. Oregon ranks third in the nation for seat belt use, saving lives and preventing serious injuries.
After dropping off your children at school, you head to work. As you go in, you notice that a new "Smoke Free Building" sign has been posted. For years, public health has been educating people about the deadly health effects of tobacco and second hand smoke.
Your sister calls. She and her new baby have just returned from the pediatrician. The six-week check up was great! Public health promotes early prenatal care for all pregnant women.
It also ensures that every baby born in Oregon gets a newborn screening to test for 26 metabolic disorders, which, if not treated, can lead to developmental disability, illness or even death.
You change into tennis shoes and head out the door for a brisk walk. Public health studies have shown that people who exercise regularly live longer and healthier lives, with less chronic disease.
For lunch you stop at the cafeteria and make a quick trip through the salad bar. You naturally assume the food is safe to eat, because public health oversees the inspection and licensing of restaurants.
Back at work, you hear the sound of sirens as an ambulance hurtles past your building. Thanks to public health it is fully equipped, the paramedics are certified and a trauma system is in place to ensure that critically injured persons will have the best possible chance of survival.
Another day ends. You start your car and the radio comes on. You hear a public service announcement advising parents to make sure their two-year olds have all their shots. Public health promotes early childhood immunizations to protect toddlers from serious, sometimes crippling and even fatal childhood diseases.
You pick up your children and head for home. They want to ride their bikes and you remind them to wear their helmets. Public health was part of the coalition that helped pass Oregon's Bike Helmet Law. Since then, helmet use by children under 16 has doubled. Helmets reduce the risk of brain injury by 85%.
You call your family to dinner, and tell them to be sure to wash their hands before eating. Public health teaches that proper hand washing is a primary protection against disease and prevents the spread of infections.
The evening news tells of a mysterious disease outbreak among visitors at a large Portland convention. Thankfully, the illness is under control. Public health authorities say improvements and better coordination with other organizations, all made under the state's federal bioterrorism grant, helped them halt the epidemic quickly.
It is time for bed and your family drifts off to sleep. Public health has touched your lives in countless ways today, working behind the scenes to keep you all safe and sound.