Local health departments (LHDs) play a critical role in promoting and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of their communities. Whether they are responding to outbreaks, addressing gaps in prevention and care, or mobilizing and supporting partners, much of their work is unrecognized by policymakers, the public, and other stakeholders. This is particularly true for prevention efforts, which rarely receive attention when they succeed. LHDs have become increasingly overburdened and under-resourced, as new public health priorities and threats have emerged and as the Great Recession led to a decade of budget cuts across federal, state, and local governments. LHDs have found ways to maximize limited resources but these cuts have had a significant impact on their work and communities.
This toolkit is designed to help LHDs demonstrate the value and impact of their work through op-eds. This resource includes tips for getting started, a sample op-ed, and recommendations for tailoring messages based on local needs, trends, and priorities. While the sample op-ed focuses on the impact of budget cuts on local HIV, STI, and hepatitis programs and related health outcomes in the community, the tips and recommendations can be applied to other priorities and other forms of communication.
Please contact Kat Kelley, Program Analyst, HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions, or to share how you are using this toolkit to highlight your work and communicate with stakeholders.