Emerging Trends in Public Health
Pre Conference - 120 Minutes
Problem Statement: The transition of local health departments (LHDs) away from clinical service provision is one way to prioritize population-focused strategies addressing the social determinants of health. In small and rural LHDs, these complex transitions are poorly supported due to limited capacity and evidence available to guide decision-making.
Methods: Analytic case studies were developed with staff representing seven LHDs that had successfully begun a transition: Jackson County, WV; Knox County, TN; Mecklenburg County, NC; Boone County, IL; Richland County, MT; Clark County, WA; and Washington County, OR. During the sharing session, overall findings and recommendations from the case studies will be presented, as well as summaries of two case studies from Boone County Health Department and the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department.
Findings: During interviews, LHD staff emphasized that an impetus for their transition from direct clinical services to population-based strategies was that it was “time to modernize.” Most LHDs included the 10 Essential Public Health Services or Public Health 3.0 in their strategic plan to guide the transition. Adding this new focus to their strategic plan facilitated support from local government and the ability to maintain the LHDs’ focus on population-based strategies.
Recommendations/Practical Application: We developed recommendations for LHDs who wish to transition to population-based strategies. These recommendations are informing the development of a Learning Lab and tools to support LHDs who wish to transition from clinical services to population-focused strategies.