NEWINGTON - If local health officials had their own holiday it would occur next week.
The Central Connecticut Health District is inviting residents to join in celebrating National Health Week April 2-9 with games, speakers, education and collaboration.
The CCHD kicks off the festivities Tuesday, April 3, with a Public Health Game Night from 6 to 9 p.m. Your Friendly Neighborhood Tabletop Shop at 741 New Britain Ave. will host a session of Pandemic, a game that pits teams to find the cure for emergent infections threatening regions around the world. CCHD staff, community members, and real public health officials from across the state will work to stop the spread of these pretend diseases in honor of National Communicable Disease Day.
Participants will be eligible for door prizes and successful teams will take home their own Pandemic games. Visitors will also have the rare opportunity to interact with some of the top experts in the medical field. Expected in attendance are health directors, epidemiologists, sanitarians, professors, physicians and researchers.
Then on Wednesday, April 4, is a chance to learn about drug abuse and addiction from people who have lived through it. The CCHD will collaborate with Newington’s Department of Human Services and the Newington Youth-Adult Council to host a Prescription Drug Abuse Seminar at Newington High School from 6 to 8 p.m.
Health Director Charles Brown will begin with an overview of local statistics. He will also discuss warning signs of drug use in teens, how they get their hands on drugs, why they do it and the pattern of abuse.
Central Connecticut State State University student Allyse Madey will share her journey overcoming addiction, from how it all started to recovery and sobriety.
Then Iran Nazario, who founded the Peace Center of CT, will share his own tale. Nazario grew up in the foster care system with the state Department of Children and Families before entering the world of gang membership and prison.
He will offer insight on the challenges youths face and his dedication to serving the community through violence prevention and counseling. Light refreshments will be served.
On Thursday, April 5, the Capitol Region Council of Governments will embrace environmental health with a Complete Streets Active Transportation Workshop. This will be an open discussion about adapting streets for multi-modal transportation, to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders alongside motorists.
The meeting will be held at Newington Town Hall, 131 Cedar St., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.
The American Public Health Association has facilitated NPHW for over 20 years, educating the public, policy makers, and practitioners about public health strategies, practices and prevention. This year’s campaign is ‘Healthiest Nation 2030: Changing Our Future Together.’
The Newington Town Council recognized National Health Week at its meeting Tuesday night, presenting CCHD volunteers with a proclamation.
“I encourage all our citizens to join me in this celebration, acknowledging the critical role of public health in prevention and in helping individuals and communities to achieve and maintain good health,” Mayor Roy Zartarian read.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097, @schmittnbh or firstname.lastname@example.org.