Conference Tracks

Public Health Revolution:

Bridging Clinical Medicine and Population Health

This year’s conference will build upon themes from previous NACCHO conferences, which focused on utilizing the 10 Essential Services, incorporating the Public Health Accreditation Board’s 12 Domains, and addressing the root causes of health inequity. The conference sessions will build upon these themes while focusing on improving health outcomes through a collaborative and coordinated system of health delivery and management in both clinical and population health arenas. The sessions are organized around the key areas in which local health departments are working on collaborative population health strategies to improve the social determinants of health. These are the tracks:

Track 1 – Metrics & Measurement

In the age of data-driven decisions, local health departments need to quickly assess and interpret a wide variety of information to make evidence-based decisions that best meet the needs of their communities. Submissions in this track should focus on the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and research that help document and describe decision patterns leading to poor health outcomes, disease outbreaks, or increased incidence of a disease or condition that disproportionately affects a group. Examples of possible abstracts include projects that do the following:

  • Identify scientific and other data sources such as community-based knowledge and provide guidance on how to incorporate and apply this information to local public health department work;
  • Develop health metrics that can be stratified by population sub-groups and geographies and adapt data infrastructure to enhance local data availability;
  • Discuss benefits and challenges experienced and opportunities for scaling sub-county data initiatives nationwide using public and commercial data sources;
  • Describe the process of selecting questions and methodologies for investigating the root causes of health conditions and inequities;
  • Collect data that illustrate current health and environmental conditions and access to care in a community;
  • Analyze trends in chronic and communicable disease that disproportionately affect individuals or groups and monitor health status for change;
  • Demonstrate how to make health and environmental data and information accessible and understandable for community and stakeholder use;
  • Diagnose and investigate public health problems and hazards in the community;
  • Conduct community health assessments, health impact assessments, and other types of assessments that gather information about what is taking place in a community and identify critical issues supported by data and evidence;
  • Use data, trends, and results of community health assessments to make recommendations on policy, programs, and strategies to improve public health;
  • Identify strategies, tools, and programs to improve the preparedness and resilience of the local public health department, the community, and the individual in the event of an emergency;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based programs and services and identify ways to improve and assure quality;
  • Describe how knowledge and data can illustrate how institutional action can lead to accumulation of conditions generating health inequities;
  • Monitor and track conditions to inform decision-making and maintain accountability, measure return on investment and produce results;
  • Explain research and how it can be practically applied and used in day-to-day local public health delivery;
  • Explore how community members can access technology to keep them informed and involved in the process of decision-making that affects their health; and
  • Analyze social and economic processes that produce conditions that result in poor health conditions.


Track 2 – Health in All Policies

To realize real improvements in the social determinants of health, local public health issues and ideas need to be incorporated into decision-making processes across all sectors and policy areas, a concept called Health in All Policies (HiAP). The goal of HiAP is to ensure that decision-makers are informed about health consequences of policy options during the process of policy development. The greatest public health challenges facing communities today are complex and will require collaborative solutions with other sectors such as housing, community development, business, private sector, and government. Examples of possible session abstracts include projects that do the following:

  • Explain the importance of a HiAP approach, how it can be used by a local health department to improve the social determinants of health, and how to integrate the approach into existing local public health efforts;
  • Describe examples of collaborations with governmental agencies and other partners to implement a HiAP approach and analysis of successful alliances that have supported the reduction or elimination of poor social and economic conditions for specific groups in a community;
  • Explore how one or more of the five key HiAP elements (promote health, equity and sustainability, support intersectoral collaboration, benefit multiple partners, engage stakeholders, and create structural or process change) can be used to improve health of a community;
  • Share ways to identify new partners and how to build meaningful and sustainable partnerships across sectors;
  • Describe how to develop and use messages and language to discuss how to apply a public health approach to non-public health policies;
  • Discuss successful strategies to secure funding for HiAP work;
  • Examine ways to monitor, evaluate and describe the impact of HiAP efforts in improving the health of a community; and
  • Describe projects that address the following:
  • Safe, sustainable, accessible, and affordable transportation, nutritious foods, drinking water, housing, healthcare, or places for physical activity;
  • Components of communities that provide quality schools, childcare, parks and recreation facilities, civic and cultural opportunities, libraries, community centers and other types of support systems and services that create safe and livable environments;
  • Resilient communities and individuals;
  • Environments that have clean air, water, and soil that address noise and are free from tobacco, smoke, and other toxins;
  • Living wage, job opportunities, and the overall economy of a community;
  • Health and social equity;
  • Social and civic engagement;
  • Safe communities free of violence and crime; and
  • Efforts that promote social relationships that support individuals, families, and communities.


Track 3 – Community & Healthcare Linkages

Local health departments today must make strategic alliances with traditional and non-traditional partners and stakeholders that hold the power, influence, and resources to bridge the gap between clinical medicine and population health. Submissions in this track should focus on how to build a broad base of public and private support and constituencies that can contribute knowledge, connections, resources, and financial support to further enhance population health for all. Examples of possible abstracts include projects that do the following:

  • Discuss strategies to identify formal and informal partners and stakeholders, develop partnerships, build consensus, and align resources to achieve shared goals and implement evidence-based practices;
  • Include public health system, community, business sector, and other groups in discussions and coordinated efforts to identify and address health issues affecting the community;
  • Describe and analyze examples of collaborations for conducting health impact assessments, community health improvement plans, community health assessments, and campaigns that reduce or eliminate poor social and economic conditions for specific groups in a community;
  • Explain how local health departments can become involved in other social movements that further public health goals;
  • Highlight efforts to build alliances with organizations and entities that have knowledge, power, and resources not readily available to public health to undertake activities that complement the work of the local health department;
  • Showcase successful collaborations that support programs and services that sustain healthy communities;
  • Examine collaborative approaches of the delivery of clinical care;
  • Showcase approaches that enhance capacity of local public health departments and other organizations in the community to conduct research and share knowledge about their communities in effective ways; and
  • Discuss ways to build trust between the local health department, clinical providers, and other community partners to effect real, lasting change that brings people together to solve health problems and improve population health.


Track 4 – Communications, Marketing, & Messaging

To build support for bridging the gap between clinical medicine and population health, local public health needs to share compelling, inspiring stories and create shared language and understanding. Local health departments can be instrumental in educating community partners and the public at large about health issues and empowering them to create healthier communities. Strong communication strategies, comprehensive marketing plans, and effective messaging efforts are critical to achieving success in improving population health in a community. Examples of possible abstract submission include projects that do the following:

  • Use health education, health promotion, and communication strategies to help individuals and groups take part in informed decision-making and develop skills that support healthy living and reduce risk;
  • Deliver programs with specific health messages about nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, substance abuse, mental health, maternal and child health, injury and violence, environmental health, emergency preparedness, resiliency, health equity, access to care, making informed decisions about health, and other key health issues affecting individuals and communities;
  • Demonstrate ways to increase public awareness of the relationship between prevention, clinical care, and treatment to improve health;
  • Develop local public health department capacity for advocacy work to effectively deliver critical health education messages to media, legislators, partners, stakeholders, individuals, and the community at large;
  • Build health literacy for individuals and groups;
  • Use technology to communicate key health messages to target audiences;
  • Build relationships with the media to promote local public health and improve risk communication;
  • Communicate the importance of planned social marketing strategies and branding for local health departments;
  • Describe media campaigns and other communication strategies that have successfully shifted public awareness and perception of critical health issues and resulted in action and change in health behaviors and health status;
  • Describe ways to overcome assumptions about the health of individuals and communities among local public health department staff, other partners, the community, and individuals;
  • Explain strategies to influence other agencies to incorporate public health concerns into their priorities, recommend actions for change, and explore strategies for motivating others;
  • Describe efforts to educate traditional and non-traditional media outlets on effective ways to discuss local public health, clinical medicine and population health, and the conditions that affect the health of specific populations to increase awareness and build support for shared resolution and change;
  • Help local public health departments write and communicate the story of working collectively to improve both clinical medicine and population health in communities to achieve real improvements in population health;
  • Develop an index of shared terms, definitions, and language that can be used to develop strategies, tools, and metrics to improve population health and address specific target audiences; and
  • Identify ways to improve the language used to describe and explain clinical medicine and population health.


Track 5 – Health Informatics & Technology

Health informatics is the acquiring, storing, retrieving, and use of healthcare information to foster better collaboration with public health, health delivery systems, and health information technology to improve the health of our nation. It is a critical tool for bridging clinical care and population to improve the social determinants of heath. Health informatics is a relatively new interdisciplinary field that is constantly evolving to address new advances in technology and health care. The field designs, develops, adopts, and applies IT-based innovations in healthcare service delivery, management, and planning. It links information science, computer science, communications, and healthcare efforts to improve the quality and safety of patient care. It is the science behind health information technology (or health IT). Examples of possible abstracts include projects that do the following:

  • Explain what health informatics is, its importance to local public health, how it can improve population health and clinical medicine, and how it can be applied at the local level;
  • Describe the skills, training, and knowledge needed by public health and other professionals to deliver and work in health informatics capacities;
  • Establish a common vision for the interchange of actionable information between public health and healthcare;
  • Identify potential resources and funding strategies for health informatics work;
  • Describe successful collaborations to secure and deliver health informatics at the local level;
  • Showcase how to apply informatics concepts, theories, and practices to real-life situations at the local level to improve health outcomes;
  • Describe how to collect, store, analyze and present data in a digital format that is understandable, relatable, and useful to local public health and clinical medicine;
  • Showcase the use of health informatics to improve health assessments and investigate disease;
  • Explain how electronic health records (EHRs) can be designed to store and share information to improve health outcomes;
  • Identify critical components of EHRs, ways to upgrade existing databases, and how local public health departments can achieve meaningful use;
  • Identify a consistent, nationwide, and sustainable approach to using healthcare’s EHR data to improve public health surveillance;
  • Describe the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in public health and clinical medicine;
  • Explain how local public health departments can apply health informatics tools, clinical guidelines, medical terminology, information, and communication systems to nursing, clinical care, public health, research, and other related fields;
  • Describe how to collect, analyze, and manage population health data to maximize efficiency and efficacy;
  • Describe how to work with clinical medicine and other stakeholders to analyze information and match clinical and population health activities with population needs;
  • Identify ways to gather information about communities, neighborhoods and groups and explain how that information can be integrated with a patient’s EHR to help the patient and the provider develop a treatment plan that takes into consideration the patient’s environment, available resources, and potential needs for additional services and programs;
  • Discuss critical components of an IT- based platform that help clinical medicine integrate public health to improve population health;
  • Identify ways to use health informatics and technology to reduce healthcare costs, improve health outcomes, enhance the healthcare experience for patients and providers, and maximize existing resources; and
  • Empower both public health and healthcare with the information needed to improve their constituents’ and patients’ health.


Track 6 – Developing LHDs from Within

Local health departments need to evaluate how their structures can best support transformations to program and service delivery and collaboration with clinical medicine. Local health departments need strong, functional, nimble, and effective operational infrastructures to deliver new programs and services, introduce and strengthen business practices, and prepare and maintain their workforce. Submissions in this track should focus on strategies that strengthen internal infrastructure of local public health departments of all sizes that enable them to remain key public health leaders in their communities. Examples of possible abstracts include projects that do the following:

  • Describe the role of the local health official as the Chief Community Health Strategist, the responsibilities of the role, and how to apply the concept to improve the health of communities;
  • Share tools that strengthen and support local health department administration and management capacity and foundational capabilities;
  • Develop effective financial management systems;
  • Build capacity to meet and address accreditation requirements;
  • Evaluate the need for funding and resources to support public health infrastructure;
  • Describe operational definitions and statements of local public health roles, responsibilities, and authorities and share effective ways to promote the understanding of the importance of these functions within the community;
  • Educate governing agencies, policymakers, and other entities regarding the value and impact of public health and the importance of adequate funding for local public health departments;
  • Promote the engagement of government and other entities in supporting local health department’s functions and responsibilities;
  • Encourage the development of trained, qualified workers in all areas of public health, including professional and support positions;
  • Describe the dialogue and training necessary to prepare and recruit staff to address and collaborate on joint public health and clinical medicine projects;
  • Assess staff competencies, identify gaps, develop training and staff development plans, and provide appropriate continuing education and training of the workforce;
  • Illustrate partnerships within local public health departments and the community that assist in the provision of the necessary training and education for a qualified workforce and initiatives that provide training and practice opportunities for students seeking public health careers;
  • Develop leadership and management skills in the existing workforce and create, implement, and evaluate plans for leadership succession;
  • Examine the effects of the changing healthcare delivery system on the local public health department workforce and explore ways to operate in a more business-minded environment while retaining the local public health mission;
  • Examine existing internal procedures, policies, statutes, and mandates (e.g., hiring, management, leadership, training) to identify those that negatively affect the health of specific populations and develop ways to successfully resolve conflicts;
  • Describe efforts to improve existing policies, statutes, mandates, and laws to more effectively protect specific groups and improve delivery of care and health equity;
  • Describe methods and strategies for institutionalizing collaborations between public health and clinical medicine within a local health department (e.g., dedicating staff); and
  • Identify challenges and opportunities for redefining and expanding the role of local health departments to effect real improvements in population health and clinical medicine.