March Health Observances


The month of March recognizes Patient Safety Awareness Week, Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action, and National Doctors Day.

Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient safety is a public health issue. According to the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), most people in the US are likely to experience a missed, delayed, or wrong diagnosis in their lifetime. Research suggests that as many as 400,000 deaths occur in the United States each year as a result of errors or preventable harm, and that many others suffer significant and lasting morbidity, and quality-of-life implications. Given this evidence, NPSF advocates for addressing patient safety as a serious public health concern.

United for Patient Safety is an ongoing NPSF education campaign that works to bring together diverse organizations with a commitment to patient safety and the general public to learn more about the topic, start important dialogue, and take action for improved safety conditions.

As part of this campaign, Patient Safety Awareness Week—observed March 8-14, 2020—serves as a dedicated platform for growing awareness about patient safety. NPSF encourages patients, families, and health care consumers to be active members of their health care teams and share their concerns about patient safety.

For more information, visit

Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action

Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action

Take Down Tobacco, a fresh take on Kick Butts Day, is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ signature platform for empowering people to stand up and speak out against the tobacco industry. The Take Down Tobacco program is a 365 day a year effort that culminates every March with the Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action. This year’s Day of Action will be held on March 18. 

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the US. While youth smoking rates are at an all-time low, the use of e-cigarettes by young people has skyrocketed to an all-time high and overall tobacco use among high school students is at the highest level in nearly two decades. The youth e-cigarette epidemic has now hooked 5.3 million kids, including 1 in 4 high school students. And almost 5,000 US kids start using e-cigarettes every day. Juul and other tobacco companies are targeting kids with slick marketing, thousands of kid-friendly flavors, and massive doses of nicotine. From cigarettes and cigars to smokeless tobacco to heat-not-burn cigarettes, the tobacco industry peddles a wide range of addictive and dangerous products that put kids at risk across the globe.

By getting involved in Kick Butts Day/Take Down Tobacco and other activities, America’s youth can raise awareness about the tobacco problem, encourage their friends to be tobacco-free, and urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.

For more information, visit Take Down Tobacco.

National Doctors Day

National Doctors Day

National Doctors Day is held every year on March 30 in the United States to recognize and celebrate the contributions of physicians to individual lives and communities.

The annual event was first celebrated March 30, 1933, when Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, set a day aside to honor physicians. The date chosen was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthesia for surgery in 1842. From those beginnings, the celebration spread, and the House and Senate officially declared March 30 “National Doctors Day” in 1990.

As of 2013, there were more than 1 million active physicians licensed to practice in the US.

There are many ways you can participate in Doctors Day: thank your personal doctor, reach out to one you don’t know, email a message of gratitude, deliver a card, or send flowers. You might also leave something on a deceased doctor’s grave, such as a red carnation, commonly associated with National Doctors Day.