Improving Public Health Practice

                                Improving Public Health Practise

Public health research and practice are credited with many notable achievements, including much of the 30-year gain in life expectancy in the United States over the 20th century. A large part of this increase can be attributed to provision of safe water and food, sewage treatment and disposal, tobacco use prevention and cessation, injury prevention, control of infectious diseases through immunization and other means, and other population-based interventions. Despite these successes, many additional opportunities to improve the public’s health remain. To achieve state and national objectives for better population health, more widespread adoption of evidence-based strategies has been recommended. Increased focus on evidence-based public health (EBPH) has numerous direct and indirect benefits, including access to more and higher quality information on what works, a higher likelihood of successful programs and policies being implemented, greater workforce productivity, and more efficient use of public and private resources.



Efforts to measure public health practice have taken on various forms and focused on different aspects of the system of public health practice over the past century. Before 1990, measurement was primarily based on a series of self-assessment instruments initiated under the auspices of the Committee on Administrative Practice of the American Public Health Association. These instruments emphasized measurement of immediate results of local public health services although they also provided information on local resources and capacity to perform. Following the Institute of Medicine's report in 1988, efforts began to focus on performance related to public health's core functions. These more recent assessments suggest that the system of public health practice must be improved to achieve the targets of effectiveness established for the year 2000. Ultimately, a comprehensive national surveillance system for public health practice will need to both measure and examine the relationships among inputs (resources, capacity, etc), core function-related processes, outputs (services) as well as outcomes


  • Improving preparedness for infectious disease emergencies
  • Role of health communication
  • Outbreak investigation: lab and epi response
  • Infectious diseases and policy implications
  • Strengthening public health systems

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Improving Public Health Practice Conference Speakers