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Background


The effectiveness of the future public health system largely depends on the ability of organizations to form strong relationships among all interested parties. The Turning Point initiative served as a catalyst for the development of these partnerships at the state and local levels, bringing together community groups and leaders, elected officials, healthcare providers, hospitals, public and environmental health agencies, other governmental units, academic institutions, philanthropic groups, faith networks, businesses, and others.

Strengthening public health systems requires a thorough examination and strategic redevelopment of the basic ingredients of human, organizational, financial, education, and information resources. While government leadership plays a critical role in all communities, Turning Point partnerships explore approaches that involve sharing the responsibilities associated with providing public health services. In the long run, these partnerships will not only make additional resources available, but will build a much larger and diverse constituency actively engaged in supporting public health. Effective systems development also requires new ways of thinking about the roles, methods, and strategies employed by the various agencies and entities engaged in the pursuit of a healthier nation.

Owing to the governance structure of public health and the large scope of this program, two National Program Offices (NPO) were established. NACCHO focused its attention on local efforts and the University of Washington worked on the state component. The NPOs provided technical support to state and local participants by brokering resources to assist the partnerships in achieving their goals. In addition, the NPOs worked in concert to foster a national learning experience and national commitment to the efforts of Turning Point.