Thursday, February 25, 2016

How to #BeLikeBen when Caring for our Communities

Dr. Benjamin Franklin cared about others in his community. He worked to make his community, and indeed, his country better.
Among his many contributions to colonial American society, Dr. Franklin was an avid supporter of a collective focus on public health and safety. He helped establish the nation’s first public hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, and contributed to a variety of medical discoveries (see Did You Know section). As a public health activist, Dr. Franklin is remembered as an avid supporter of smallpox inoculation in the 1730s. At that time, protection from smallpox was afforded by a process known as variolation. Variolation involved taking pus from a smallpox pustule of an infected person and either injecting it into a non-immune person or drying it for later inhalation as a powder by a non-immune person. While the process would typically cause a mild form of the illness, it also produced lifelong immunity. (CHOP Ben Franklin — Pro-vaccine Before Vaccines Were Invented?)
Dr. Franklin supported using variolation to protect against smallpox after losing his own son to the disease. Sadly, his son had not been inoculated.

Like Ben Franklin, nurses work to make their community and country better. Every day, in communities around the country, nurses care for people. They work to make them better; they work to prevent them from getting ill. The educate communities and families on importance of healthy living and infection prevention.

Doctors are also an important asset to community health. One particular doctor has made it his life's mission and recently received recognition. Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (VEC), recently received the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Founder Award for his contributions to public health and medicine. To celebrate this award, this month’s issue of the VEC’s Parents PACK newsletter  shares stories of Ben Franklin’s accomplishments and those of other groups working to make our communities better.

You don't need to be a doctor, nurse or Ben Franklin to make a difference. Shot Of Prevention provides 5 simple things you can do to support public health and immunizations:

  •  With Your Comments and Posts On Social Media
  •  With Your Family At Holiday Functions
  •  With Your Friends While Out to Dinner
  •  With Your Neighbors At the Bus Stop
  •  With Your Vote On Election Day

Check out their blog post for more info.

The Vaccine Education Center is also promoting use of #BeLikeBen on social media to recognize people you know, who like Ben Franklin, Paul Offit and all the Nurses Who Vaccinate, make their communities better places to live. Be sure to use the hashtag often and spread the word how we can can support public health.

This guest post was contributed by Matthew Chando who is member of Nurses Who Vaccinate. He is the Parents PACK program manager at the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

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