NACCHO released the 2018 Forces of Change report highlighting new findings on the forces that are affecting the nation’s local health departments (LHDs).
Results show that although the economic situation is slowly improving for many LHDs, workforce capacity challenges persist. One-third of LHDs reported experiencing job losses in 2017. LHDs also faced with challenges associated with emerging public health threats, such as the use of opioids, increased severity of influenza seasons, and impacts of climate change. LHDs are adapting to these changing priorities by shifting towards a population health approach. For example, many LHDs reported addressing issues related to food insecurity, family supports, and community infrastructure. An additional factor supporting public health transformation is informatics capacity, which enables LHDs to collect, analyze, and communicate data across health systems to effectively respond to the dynamic health needs in their communities.