Global to Local Toolkit Highlights How to Adapt and Adopt Global Health Approaches to the Needs of U.S. Communities
While health transcends geographic and sociopolitical boundaries, it remains socially determined by a host of factors, including race and ethnicity, income, access to transportation, and housing status. In the U.S. and abroad, historically marginalized populations, including racial and ethnic groups, sexual and gender minorities, and substance users, often face significant barriers to affordable, effective, and efficient treatment and care. These conditions drive incidence and premature death from diseases such as cancer, HIV and, most recently, COVID-19.
The rapid emergence of new public health threats—coupled with budget cuts, workforce burnout and turnover spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic—have created additional impediments to LHDs’ work facilitating and maintaining immunizations, food safety, infectious and chronic diseases, injury and violence prevention, tobacco control, maternal and child health, environmental health, and emergency preparedness in their jurisdictions.
Using a global-to-local approach—applying global solutions at the local level in the U.S.— enables LHDs to diversify their responses to existing and new public health challenges and mitigate the impact of these issues. Global health interventions and practices–which include a slate of demonstrated, evidence-based approaches–are often developed and tested in low-resource settings, which makes them more affordable to implement and easy to adapt, especially in rural and resource-limited communities. Implementing new and innovative ideas derived from global health practice can also boost fundamental public health protections and preparedness capabilities in the U.S. and bolster prevention, detection, and response to emerging and future epidemics and pandemics. While the U.S. traditionally has not leveraged international health approaches, health provision is inherently a transnational issue that benefits from global health’s emphasis on partnerships and pooled expertise to address persistent health challenges.
NACCHO collaborated with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop The Global to Local Toolkit: Adapting Global Interventions for Local Public Health, which highlights benefits of global solutions as well as replication steps, tools, and guidance for LHDs and other local public health organizations on how to adapt and adopt global health approaches to the needs of U.S. communities. The toolkit also includes a case study on Calvert County (Maryland) Health Department’s experience in adapting WHO resources to bolster their mental health and substance use disorder responses in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Additionally, NACCHO developed two companion tools. The Are You Prepared to Go Global-to-Local? checklist walks LHDs and other local public health organizations through an assessment of whether or not they are prepared to implement a global intervention. The Global-to-Local Partner Identification Tool helps LHDs and other local public health organizations identify potential partners to help implement a global-to-local effort.