Local Public Health Capacities to Address the Needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations

In the most diverse communities, local health departments screen for communicable diseases and chronic conditions.

The expansion of minority populations is changing the public health landscape in America. Local health departments (LHDs) are the best places for poor minorities and immigrants to obtain essential health services. This study gives policy-makers and program managers a better idea of how LHDs are serving culturally diverse populations.

This study created demographic profiles for over 2,000 LHDs. The authors assigned a diversity “score” to each LHD jurisdiction. Four hundred LHDs serving the most diverse areas received survey questionnaires asking about their respective approaches to caring for minority populations. The questions addressed administrative systems, use of foreign language interpreters, and workforce training.

Key Findings:

  • Most local health departments use information about diversity to identify their patients’ needs and plan programs.
  • More than 70 percent of LHDs reported inadequate funding for programs that care for diverse populations.
  • Among minorities served by LHDs, 63 percent live in poverty.

LHDs increasingly serve communities like Palisades Park, New Jersey, where 19 languages are spoken. Despite financial constraints, LHDs have developed a number of approaches to caring for diverse populations; grants targeting prevention activities and health disparities will aid their efforts.

April Issue of Health Affairs Focuses on Patient Safety and Health Care Quality

  1. 1. The Ongoing Quality Improvement Journey
  2. 2. A Road Map for Improving the Performance of Performance Measures
  3. 3. The Trade-Off Among Quality, Quantity, and Cost
  4. 4. Global Trigger Tool' Shows that Adverse Events in Hospitals May be Ten Times Greater Than Previously Measured
  5. 5. Preventing Bloodstream Infections
  6. 6. Measuring the Performance of Individual Physicians by Collecting Data from Multiple Health Plans
  7. 7. Measuring Health Care Performance Now, Not Tomorrow
  8. 8. Despite Improved Quality of Care in the Veterans Affairs Health System, Racial Disparity Persists for Important Clinical Outcomes
  9. 9. The Importance of Transitional Care in Achieving Health Reform
  10. 10. An Early Status Report on the Beacon Communities' Plans for Transformation Via Health Information Technology
  11. 11. A Comparative Study of 11 Local Health Department Organizational Networks
  12. 12. Public Health Performance
  13. 13. A Self-Assessment Process for Accreditation Preparedness
  14. 14. Public Health Delivery Systems
  15. 15. Regionalization in Local Public Health Systems
  16. 16. Public Health Services and Systems Research
  17. 17. A Shot in the Rear, Not a Shot in the Dark
  18. 18. What Predicts Local Public Health Agency Performance Improvement?
  19. 19. Growth of a Scientific Community of Practice
  20. 20. Evolution of Coauthorship in Public Health Services and Systems Research
  21. 21. Resources that May Matter
  22. 22. Evidence Links Increases in Public Health Spending to Declines in Preventable Deaths
  23. 23. Public Health Financial Management Competencies
  24. 24. Decision Science
  25. 25. Public Health Financial Management Needs
  26. 26. Data-Driven Management Strategies in Public Health Collaboratives
  27. 27. Using Geographic Information Systems to Match Local Health Needs with Public Health Services and Programs
  28. 28. Public Health Systems and Services Research
  29. 29. Local Public Health Capacities to Address the Needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations
  30. 30. A Needs Assessment for Data and Methods in Public Health Systems Research
  31. 31. Mapping the Multidisciplinary Field of Public Health Services and Systems Research