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Public Health

Gov. Steve Beshear praised Kentucky’s public health professionals for their dedication to the commonwealth while outlining a number of new programs designed to improve the state’s overall health during a speech last semester at UofL’s Health Sciences Center.

Governor Beshear

Gov. Beshear discusses health outcomes and initiative during SPHIS sponsored seminar

Gov. Steve Beshear praised Kentucky’s public health professionals for their dedication to the commonwealth while outlining a number of new programs designed to improve the state’s overall health during a speech last semester at UofL’s Health Sciences Center.

Speaking during a seminar sponsored by UofL’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Beshear noted that public health practitioners touch the lives of every citizen through such activities as cancer screenings, early childhood development efforts, health education, immunizations and infection control.

Despite these broad-ranging efforts, Kentucky remains near the bottom of many national health rankings, Beshear said. The state is fifth in the nation for heart-disease mortality, for example, and 12th for stroke deaths.

To help improve these rankings, Kentucky is launching or expanding several initiatives:

  • Increased enrollment in K-CHIP, Kentucky’s implementation of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program. Nearly 53,000 children currently are enrolled, but 67,000 additional children are eligible. The state plans to increase enrollment by more than 35,000 children by 2010.
  • A new wellness program for state employees, slated for adoption in fall 2008. The program provides incentives and rewards that encourage employees to adopt healthier lifestyles and better manage diseases.
  • Reduced smoking rates. Beshear renewed his pledge to raise cigarette taxes, which he said would lead to a significant reduction in smoking rates. A reduction in smoking rates would be the single most effective tactic in improving the overall health of Kentuckians, he added.

In closing, Gov. Beshear noted that his administration is committed to pursuing new solutions to long-standing problems, using focused strategies that will foster long-term change in the health of all Kentuckians.

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