Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month is here! Join APHL in celebrating public health lab staff supporting newborn screening, environmental testing, foodborne illness outbreak detection, infectious disease testing, biological threat monitoring or so much more. Whether a microbiologist or chemist, an informatician or administrator, everyone deserves our appreciation!
Below you will find tools and resources to help you celebrate Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month. Whether a lab director, a partner organization or an individual who just loves public health labs, there’s something here for everyone. Please share this post with others in your network!
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Which laboratories are “public health” laboratories?
When we say “public health laboratory” we mean local, state and territorial government laboratories whose primary focus is on monitoring, detecting and responding to health threats. That means government environmental, agricultural and food safety labs are also public health laboratories! They are all public sector laboratories focused on protecting the public’s health by testing human, animal and environmental samples for potential threats. Here are some downloadable graphics that share this message:
- What we mean when we say “public health laboratory” – Twitter
- What we mean when we say “public health laboratory” – Instagram
- What we mean when we say “public health laboratory” – Facebook
- What we mean when we say “public health laboratory” – LinkedIn
- What we mean when we say “public health laboratory” – Instagram/Facebook Story
This year we are highlighting the many different types of scientists working at public health labs doing a wide range of work. We created some graphics featuring Flat Labby sharing a few examples and a blank version so you can make your own. Print and display in your laboratory and/or share on social media with #ThanksPHLabs! In addition to the downloadable graphics here, they can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram posts and stories.
- “I am a BT coordinator. I lead preparedness efforts to ensure our public health laboratory can effectively respond to potential bioterrorism threats.”
- “I am a chemist, I test people’s blood for PFAS in a public health laboratory.”
- “I am a state training coordinator. I lead professional development initiatives to equip public health laboratory staff with the skills and knowledge they need.”
- “I am a radiochemist. I test drinking water in an environmental laboratory to ensure no contamination from the nearby nuclear power plant.”
- “I am a microbiologist. I test milk samples for pathogens like Campylobacter in a food safety laboratory’s dairy program.”
- “I am a microbiologist. I test animal brains for rabies in a public health laboratory.”
- “I am a microbiologist. I sort mosquitoes and test them for diseases such as West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis virus in a public health laboratory.”
- Blank graphic to create your own! Add a photo of yourself or your team and complete the speech bubble describing the type of work you do.
Is there a public health laboratory in my community?
Every state has at least one public health laboratory. Some states have more than one laboratory at the state level, and some also have local or regional laboratories. While not all public health laboratories in the US are APHL members, most are. So check out our member list and map to see what types of public health lab(s) are in your state or territory.
Celebrate Public Health Laboratory Staff
Public health laboratory staff work hard every day to keep their community safe from public health threats. Whether you are a microbiologist, an administrative assistant, a custodian, a chemist or hold any other job role, you are vital to ensuring the laboratory operates efficiently and effectively. You are appreciated and deserve to be celebrated!
Check out these photos from laboratory teams who celebrated Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month in years past to get some inspiration:
And don’t miss this amazing video of Flat Labby touring the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory!
Below are suggestions for laboratory leaders, laboratory staff, partners and community members. You will also find graphics that you are free to use on your own social networks along with some sample posts.
Ideas for Laboratory Leaders:
- Create a video using online tools like Memento, Tribute or Vidday with messages of appreciation for your staff. Or have your staff make one for another lab!
- Hold a virtual or in-person open house for media, elected officials, school groups, staff families and other members of the public. Help your community see the interesting and valuable work your team is doing to keep them safe and healthy.
- Reach out to your agency’s public information officer and ask them to share posts of appreciation on social media! Sample posts and graphics are below.
- Hold a Flat Labby t-shirt design contest! The Flat Labby Cool cut-out page has a blank t-shirt, so everyone can create a fun, one-of-a-kind logo or design! Get everyone involved and have a contest for the best shirt!
- Invite staff to have lunch or a break together! Coloring is a great way to relax and have some fun. Print these Flat Labby coloring pages or NEW All Star coloring pages, gather markers or other coloring tools, and invite staff to take a break with others around the lab!
- Games are coming soon!
Ideas for Laboratory Staff:
- Print these activity sheets to celebrate individuals throughout the lab! Give one sheet to each staff person and ask them to add their name and photo. Then hang them together and invite everyone leave notes of appreciation for each other.
- Take Flat Labby on some fun adventures around the lab or out on the town – here’s how! Print your own Flat Labby, take them with you, snap some pictures of your adventures, and share during Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month using #ThanksPHLabs and #FlatLabby.
- Send a letter of gratitude to your staff, coworkers, family and friends. Here are some fun fillable letters for you to use or you can write your own:
- Sign up with Skype-A-Scientist to virtually connect with students to help them understand public health laboratory careers.
- Play our lab science themed Wordle! Save the link for a new word puzzle every day in September. Every puzzle is a science-themed word. Don’t forget to invite others to play and share your score!
- Print our All Stars Connections game! When you ace that one, create your own using this blank template.
Ideas for Partners and Community Members:
- Contact the public health laboratory in your area and offer to send coffee, lunch, snack or other treats as a token of your appreciation. This list of APHL member laboratories is a great place to start.
- Post on your social channels using #ThanksPHLabs to let everyone know how appreciative you are of the work public health labs do every day to protect the community. Graphics and sample posts are below.
- Send thank you notes to public health laboratories and encourage others to do the same.
- Make a video sharing how much you appreciate public health laboratories and share on social media using #ThanksPHLabs! We will compile the posts and share with APHL member laboratories.
Sample Social Media Posts:
- Every September we recognize public health laboratory professionals who work passionately to protect the health of all people and all communities. Their work saves lives daily. Join us in saying #ThanksPHLabs!
- Public health laboratory teams often work behind the scenes but our appreciation for them should be front and center! #ThanksPHLabs for keeping our communities protected from health threats and making us all feel safe!
- Public health laboratories play a crucial role in pursuing health equity and supporting health justice. “The diseases, conditions and exposures that we track reflect socially driven inequities…” Read more: https://buff.ly/3JigMXG #ThanksPHLabs
- “Hey now, you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play!” September is Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month, but we are grateful year-round to public health lab teams who detect health threats like COVID-19, rabies and more! #ThanksPHLabs
- Stars don’t just shine at night because all public health laboratory professionals are superstars! If you know someone who works in a public health lab, shine a light of appreciation their way by using the hashtag #ThanksPHLabs
- Remember the cough that canceled your vacation…for two years? Thanks to the work of public health laboratories, tests are conducted that cross human, animal and environmental health domains. Learn more https://bit.ly/PHL_OneHealth #ThanksPHLabs
Stories to Share:
- 5 things to know about responding to a chemical emergency like the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment – APHL Blog
- Biosurveillance Shows Fentanyl’s Role in Rhode Island Overdose Epidemic – Lab Matters
- Jesus Mendoza, APHL-CDC Public Health Laboratory Fellow, shared why he chose to pursue the fellowship and how it’s going – Facebook (video)
- Twinning on Two Continents: Tanzania and South Carolina Laboratories Partner to Exchange Opportunities – Lab Matters
- Visit to New York’s Wadsworth Center reignites APHL staffer’s passion for lab science – APHL Blog
- Supporting Polio and Mpox Surveillance Through Wastewater Testing – Lab Matters
- Importance of newborn screening for early detection and treatment emphasized by patients and families – APHL Blog
Downloadable Public Health Laboratory Appreciation Month graphics