Communicating a common operational definition for local governmental public health agencies

There is great diversity in local health departments (LHDs) across the country with respect to the populations served, geography, political climate and available resources. This diversity results in a wide variation of the level and nature of governmental public health protection at the local level. To promote consistency and accountability in public health services, in 2004, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) began an iterative consensus process to define what everyone, regardless of where they live, and regardless of the size of their community, should expect from their LHD. In the second phase of the project, NACCHO achieved agreement among federal, state and local levels of government and with state and local elected officials on an operational definition of a functional local health department. Materials were developed based on the operational definition to communicate the need for a robust public health system to different target audiences. The standards that were developed will serve as a foundation for LHD performance measurement and improvement. This collaborative grant provides support to implement a final phase of the project. The deliverables are: (1) creation of and support for a learning community around implementation of the operational definition; (2) assessment of the degree to which LHDs are meeting the operational definition standards; (3) an analysis of LHD involvement in performance improvement efforts; and (4) the institutionalization of the operational definition in the work of NACCHO and other stakeholders. This project furthers RWJF's objective to promote accountability measures to improve the visibility and impact of public health. The standards may serve as the framework for LHD standards in a national accreditation system.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $400,000.00

Awarded on: 7/7/2006

Time frame: 8/1/2006 - 7/31/2008

Grant Number: 57248


National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

1100 17th Street, N.W., 7th Floor
Washington, 20036-4636


Grace G. Gorenflo
Project Director