Emerging Trends in Public Health
Sharing Session - 60 Minutes
Public health innovation refers to the development of a new process, policy, product, or program that increases quality, impact, and efficiency, and embodies several characteristics. Through an Innovation Grant Program administered by the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI), this definition of public health innovation and its characteristics have been tested by public health agencies and organizations in varying capacities over the past 18 months. One of those grantees, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, is a leader and innovator that is partnering across sectors to engage in non-traditional activities. With a culture of innovation embedded within the agency, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department can reach beyond public health services to involve actual residents and engage with them to better understand the needs of the communities it serves. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department implemented the innovative practice of participatory budgeting, a process of public involvement in decision-making. Participatory budgeting allows ordinary people to decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget. Residents identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects and make real decisions about how money is spent. With funding from PHNCI, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has initiated participatory budgeting projects in two schools in Eastside Tacoma, one of Pierce County’s highest-need communities.