Public Health in Action

Profiling innovative leaders from the front lines of public health.

    • April 19, 2010

Our new video series showcases some of our nation’s leading innovators in public health. We document the strides of public health departments across the country to protect and promote health in the face of challenges such as natural disasters, health emergencies, budget constraints and changing needs. The solutions they are applying today represent the future of this field and will help create the healthy communities of tomorrow.

“These stories illustrate a range of strategies that public health departments can use to help provide every citizen in their communities the opportunity to be as healthy as they can be. They provide a powerful example of what Americans can and should expect from public health,” said Michelle Larkin, senior program officer at RWJF and director of the Public Health team.

Watch the full series in the video player or click on the links below to learn more about each Public Health leader.

Stories in the Video Series:

Building Blocks to Accreditation: Bethlehem, Pa.

(Posted July 14, 2010)

National Public Health Accreditation is coming in 2011.But the Bethlehem, Pa., Health Bureau isn’t waiting. For three years they’ve engaged in a groundbreaking Quality Improvement initiative that includes partnering with the business community for QI training, engaging in a community health needs assessment and implementing what they’ve learned.

Ïn addition to helping us to pursue a goal of public health accdreditation,”says Health Bureau director Judith Maloney, QI is leading us toward improving our efficiency and our accountability to the people we are here to serve with our public health programs.””

Community Health Partnerships: “We Need Everyone at the Table.”

(Posted April 19, 2010)

Community partnerships are vital for an effective public health system, according to Judith Monroe, M.D., the newly appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support.

In Indiana, Monroe formed partnerships with businesses, universities, schools and faith-based groups. These partnerships resulted in many new health programs designed to prevent illness and help everyone in Indiana live a healthier life.

County Health Rankings—Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health

(Posted: February 10, 2010)

Four years ago, Juneau County received the lowest ranking in a pilot program to assess public health in Wisconsin. See how Juneau County Health Director Barb Theis found opportunity in the low ranking to mobilize a community-wide response that is showing promising results. Local leaders responded by assessing the county’s needs and are creating new programs to improve public health in the short- and long-term.

Persevering in Tough Budget Times

(Posted: January 27, 2010)

Like many communities across the nation, the Multnomah County Department of Public Health has faced cuts in its operating budget. Rather than create discouragement, the latest round of cuts prompted county health director Lillian Shirley to review her strategy and adopt a combination of technological and staffing improvements that have enabled the department to maintain and in some cases expand coverage.

Kane Kares: Nurses Who Make House Calls

(Posted: October 27, 2009)

The nurses of Kane Kares use the Nurse- Family Partnership model to help mothers prepare for childbirth and child rearing. Follow Kane County nurse Carol Moshier as she visits clients in her office and at their homes. Their approach has been proven to be successful in the short term in Kane County and is expected to bring long-term results including fewer subsequent teenage births among mothers in the program. The media package also includes: two slideshows on Kane Kares mothers and their children; a video interview with James Marks, M.D., M.P.H. and Senior Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, about the Nurse Family Partnership program; and a video with Kane County Health Director Paul Kuehnert about Kane Kares.

The Need for Vigilance in Public Health

(Posted: March 10, 2009)

Follow Pierre Vigilance as he explains the challenges facing one of the nation’s most compelling urban environments for public health: Washington DC. As the city’s Director of Health, he is charged with developing a strategy to confront a trifecta of serious issues: the nation’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS, childhood obesity and infant mortality. In this video, Vigilance presents a first-hand look at D.C. programs that save scarce funds and increase the quality of life for a diverse population.

Inspiration in Greensburg: The Role of Public Health

(Posted: February 25, 2009)

How does a public health agency respond to the unexpected? Ask the residents of Greensburg, Kansas. Almost three years ago, a Category 5 tornado leveled 95 percent of the town. The devastation required a state-wide, comprehensive public health response to handle issues such as temporary housing and reconstruction. This story illustrates the breadth of the response and shows how public health continues to play a critical role in rebuilding the community and improving residents’ lives.

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