Transforming Public Health

Emerging Concepts for Decision Making in a Changing Public Health World

The Transforming Public Health project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and convened by RESOLVE, tasked a small group of public health thought leaders with developing guidance for public health officials and policy-makers in prioritizing vital public health functions in a shifting political and fiscal landscape.

Participants included a diverse public health stakeholders, including state and local health officers, academics, federal agency representatives, and public health advocates. The dialogue was within the context of recent and ongoing budget and staffing cuts at health departments across the country, as well as new opportunities provided by a reforming health care system and ever present concerns about health care costs.

The resulting document stresses the need for health departments to develop policy goals; use integrated data sets; communicate with the public and other audiences to disseminate and receive information; mobilize the community and forge partnerships; cultivate leadership along with organization, management, and business skills; and protect the public in the event of an emergency. These emerging concepts are intended for consideration by governmental health practitioners to help guide difficult resource allocation decisions while also trying to adapt to ever changing challenges, demands, and opportunities.

On August 10, the Foundation hosted a webinar to highlight the key takeaways from the Transforming Public Health report. Terry Cline, director of the Oklahoma State Health Department, and David Fleming, director of the Seattle-King County Health Department, discussed how they have translated concepts in the report into action in their health departments. Paul Kuehnert, director of RWJF's Public Health team, reflected on his experience with the Kane County, Ill., health department and offer updates on how RWJF is continuing to support the work of governmental public health. View the webinar on this page, and continue the conversation on Transforming Public Health on www.newpublichealth.org.