Cross-Jurisdictional Relationships in Local Public Health

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) commissioned an environmental scan to gain a better understanding of the issues involved in creating formal, collaborative relationships between local health departments in different communities. The research project is led by Patrick Libbey, former National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) director, who has completed one round of interviews and site visits with public health leadership around the nation and is planning a second round.

More specifically, Libbey and his colleagues are talking with two groups of stakeholders: 1) executive leadership and key staff at national public health and policy-maker organizations, such as NACCHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Governors Association, etc.; and 2) state and local public health leaders and local policy-makers in seven states where some communities have experience with cross-jurisdictional relationships between local health departments. The interviews and site visits are being used to gather answers to questions such as:

  • What types of sharing relationships currently exist between local health departments—how are they structured, how and why were they created, and how well are they working?
  • What factors contribute or detract from the success of these cross-jurisdictional relationships?
  • What are the challenges or barriers associated with the various types of relationships?

An executive summary of the project’s preliminary report, “Cross-Jurisdictional Relationships in Local Public Health: An Environmental Scan,” is now available. It contains the researchers’ observations regarding barriers to these types of relationships, conditions for successful relationships, and considerations for moving forward with cross-jurisdictional relationships.