The 2018 theme, Unleashing the Power of Local Public Health was selected to highlight the unique opportunity local public health has to be the conveners of discussions and efforts around population health, clinical medicine, and management of systems that measure health and heath care outcomes. As the Chief Health Strategist in their communities, local health officials and their departments are well positioned to serve as conveners of like-minded groups to frame, define and develop the issues and renew and strengthen critical local partnerships with clinical medicine and other groups in order to improve the health and the populations that they serve.
Here are the achievable goals for the 2018 annual conference that fit into our theme. After the conference the attendees should be able to:
- Describe strategies of integration of health equity into the LHD
- Discuss innovative ways to enhance overall service delivery
- Identify advances to healthy populations within the community
- Identify new opportunities for improving public health practice and its infrastructure
- Describe future challenges to Local Public Health
- Mitigate Policy impacts: challenges and changes
The passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the US Congress in 2010, marked the greatest revolution in US health policy since the 1960s. The law established the first National Prevention Strategy, brought new funding and increased focus for prevention and public health programs, and promoted the use of clinical preventive services and other critical evaluation and management measures. The ACA has provided important impetus for greater collaboration between the health care and public health systems for improved coordination and shared responsibility for better health outcomes for the populations they serve. It has also necessitated that local public health learn new techniques and skills in order to work with different health care delivery systems and to hire and train staff to meet these new roles and demands.
The ACA and the increased focus on billing, contracting, patient-centered medical care, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), State Innovation Model activities, and other ways to improve individual and community health outcomes, are revolutionizing the way health and well-being are defined and measured as well and how local public health departments operate. To be successful and achieve real change in health status, requires a strong alliance between public health practice and clinical medicine. It necessitates that local health departments have strong, functional, and effective operational infrastructures that are also nimble, able to adapt in order to be viable and successful while implementing comprehensive strategies for delivering care in their communities. They must also remain true to their roles in delivering and assuring public health programs and services, responding to public health threats and emergencies, and fulfilling traditional public health responsibilities under their local public health authority. The new world of local public health is both challenging and inspiring.
Findings from the NACCHO 2015 Forces of Change survey, show that more than half of the local public health departments (61%) encourage primary care providers to use evidence-based public health services such as interventions to reduce asthma triggers in children’s home environments. This year’s conference will provide a call to action for local health officials to serve as the Chief Health Strategist in their communities, to convene stakeholders to help define terms, develop common frameworks, and develop, implement and evaluate new systems of care intended to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. Local public health departments must explore new ways to collaborate with clinical medicine, with clinical providers, and other key partner sectors in order to realize long-lasting improved health outcomes in their communities.
This year’s thought-provoking sessions have been organized around the following track:
- Public Health Law and Policy
- Leadership, Management and Workforce Development
- Behavioral Health (Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Violence Prevention)
- Health Equity
- Healthy Populations and Communities (Chronic Disease, Infectious Disease & Resilience)
- Addressing the Social Determinates of Health Through Partnerships
These tracks are aligned with the work currently underway in local health departments across the country around assessment, collaboration, communication, and management. Abstract submissions should describe innovative, proven, or promising evidence-based practices, programs, services, systems, research, technologies, tools, partnerships, principles, and policies that offer insight or guidance that attendees can readily apply to advance the work in their communities. Submissions may also suggest planned improvements, challenges faced and potential solutions, and innovative theories and concepts from other fields that may be applied to public health work. Abstracts should also describe how the work to be presented aligns or relates to addressing health inequity, where applicable. Examples of possible session submissions are included for each track.