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Public Health: Start Here is theme for 2014 National Public Health Week


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO-AM) Every year in the United States, seven out of ten deaths are due to preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, chronic diseases account for a whopping 75 percent of national health care spending, yet only 3 percent of our health care dollars go toward prevention.

Fortunately, according to Public Health Director Jill Franken, there are easy and small steps individuals can take to make prevention a part of their lives.

“This week marks National Public Health Week,” said Franken, “and it is a great opportunity to talk about how Sioux Falls and communities across the nation are calling attention to the value of prevention in our lives and the role it plays in public health. We all have a part in making our community a healthier place to live, and the Sioux Falls Health Department and the Live Well Sioux Falls initiative are excited to help lead the way.”

The Sioux Falls Health Department addresses public health issues through the promotion of physical, behavioral, and environmental health; the prevention of illness, disease, and injury; and the elimination of health disparities.

The Health Department Environmental Division is responsible for areas relating to sanitation/inspection, licensing, and reducing neighborhood or property problems through code enforcement, public health preparedness, community programs, and services such as mosquito control. One prominent program from this division is the upcoming Project NICE/KEEP, which helps identified neighborhoods with a volunteer-driven neighborhood cleanup.

Falls Community Health is a community health medical and dental clinic with a mission to reduce or eliminate health disparities. The clinics serve patients at four sites. The main site located at 521 North Main Avenue, and three school-based sites located at Hawthorne Elementary, Terry Redlin Elementary, and Hayward Elementary. All sites are available to patients regardless of ability to pay.

The goals of Live Well Sioux Falls include promoting good nutrition and access to healthy foods, encouraging more physical activity, promoting quality clinical preventive services, and reducing tobacco use. One project currently underway is The Big Squeeze, an annual community-wide project to raise awareness of high blood pressure in our community. Free screenings are taking place throughout the month of April at more than 120 locations.

“Many cost-effective, preventive steps can add up to make a big difference in transforming a community’s approach to health from one focused on treatment to one that equally values prevention,” said Franken.

These steps include everything from creating more opportunities for residents to be active and safe outdoors and being able to access healthy foods and from promoting preventive screenings to educating residents about emergency preparedness.

“Research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years,” Franken said. “That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested.”

For more information about National Public Health Week, visit www.nphw.org. To learn more about public health efforts in Sioux Falls, visit www.livewellsiouxfalls.org.

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<p">MEDIA STORY IDEAS (these ideas are not limited to this week only):


  • Interview with a provider at Falls Community Health regarding services provided through the main clinic and school-based clinics.
  • Interview with an inspector and restaurant owner regarding why public health inspections are a valuable service to the community. 
  • Information on HIV screenings available through the Public Health Department and why this is an important community health issue. 
  • The Big Squeeze blood pressure initiative organized by Live Well Sioux Falls and community partners during April and how preventive screenings have a positive impact on community health. 

Please contact Mary Michaels at 605-367-8286 or mmichaels@siouxfalls.org if you are interested in these or other public health-related stories.

Contact Us

Sioux Falls Health Department

521 N. Main Ave. Suite 101

Sioux Falls, SD 57104-5963

Phone: 605-367-8760

Fax: 605-367-8246



Hours of Operation

M-F: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.