Helping Public Health Institutes Become a Key Player in the "New" Public Health

Assuring the health of the public in the 21st century is too big a job for governmental public health agencies alone. There are many other actors that have a stake and role to play in improving the health of the community—and they are positioned to address the economic, environmental and social determinants of health.

Recognizing this, RWJF and others have begun to speak about a “new public health,” one that emphasizes accountability, evidence-based standards, engagement in the political process and performance improvement.

The new public health does not for a minute presume that government can do it all on its own,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of RWJF. “The new public health taps into the very best leadership the larger community has to offer.”

Public health institutes are a key part of the new public health, filling the gap between what communities need to be healthy—places to live, learn, work and play—and the services that are provided by the governmental public health system.

The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), which fosters networking and collaboration among public health institutes and their governmental and other partners, launched this project to strengthen the nation’s public health institutes. NNPHI provides technical and some financial assistance to institutes, provides networking opportunities and has also strengthened its own capacity and infrastructure during the course of this project.