The Winter 2022 issue of NACCHO Exchange highlights how research and evaluation support and inform the work of local health departments and other public health agencies. Featured articles in this issue include:
- The Road from Local Numbers and Narratives to Public Health Change
- Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of Climate Change: Using Evaluation to Build Readiness and Resilience for the Next Disaster
- The Future of Public Health Data: Prioritizing Equity in Evaluation
- Elevating Public Health Practice through a Rural Academic Health Department Model
- Public Health 3.0 In Practice: A National Framework for Evaluating Local COVID-19 Response and Recovery
Below is an excerpt from the issue.
The Road from Local Numbers and Narratives to Public Health Change
By Adriane Casalotti, MPH, MSW, Chief, Government & Public Affairs, NACCHO, and Omayra Giachello, BA, MBA, MJ, Regional Health Officer, Illinois Department of Public Health
A total of 21% —that is how much our nation’s local health department (LHD) workforce capacity shrank in the decade before the pandemic. This one data point
helped put into context the stories we heard from LHDs across the country that struggled to keep up with the needs of their communities. It provided the key metric to reimagine national and state programs, drive congressional legislation, and provide a framing for the media, which turned its attention towards public health as COVID-19 swept the country. It is also a statistic that would not have been available without the efforts of LHDs to collect data, respond to surveys, and share stories.
We know there is variation among the nearly 3,000 LHDs across the country on a host of issues; just in Illinois, the 97 LHDs vary by how they are funded, what services they provide, and the role they play in their communities. This matters, because for all the important anecdotes of workforce constraints we hear, national and statewide statistics provide the broader context and evidence-base needed for stakeholders to engage, the media to take notice, and decision-makers to take action. Data are concrete, giving validity to the “what” and complementing the anecdotes describing the “why.” Together, local numbers and narratives drive public health change through national policies and state programs.
To read the rest of this article and the full issue of NACCHO Exchange, click here.