For Immediate Release
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Innovation is a Hallmark of Local Public Health Departments, Says New Book Local Public Health Practice: Trends & Models

By Glen P. Mays, PhD, C. Arden Miller, MD and Paul K. Halverson, DrPH

Washington, DC, April 2000 -Faced with an accelerating rate of change in population health needs, available health resources, technologies and delivery systems, local public health departments continue to adapt to meet the needs of the public's health, says a new book published by the American Public Health Association.

The authors identify trends and models in local public health practice that may be applicable to meet needs in other communities. These include practices to meet challenges posed by managed care organizations, privatization initiatives, health care mergers and closures, shifts in health policy and funding streams, new and resurgent health threats and demographic changes.

Local public health practitioners at all levels of government may identify promising new interorganizational models, strategies, and trends from the material presented here. Managers in health fields will gain valuable insight regarding ways to engage in public health activities within their communities. Students of public health and health administration may acquire an enhanced understanding of the mechanics of local public health practice.

Chapters include:

  • Public Health and Its Infrastructure
  • An Overview of the Nation's Health Departments
  • Contribution to Public Health by Organizations other than the Local Health Departments
  • Assessing the Performance of Local Public Health Systems: Trends in the 50 States
  • Longitudinal Observations of Local Health Departments: Structure, Function and Interaction

The book contains in-depth case studies in local public health practice, including studies of Denver, CO; Milwaukee, WI; Genesee County, MI; Memphis and Shelby County, TN; Multnomah County, OR; Beloit, WI; Southwest Washington Health District; and Thurston County, WA. A local public health assessment survey is also included.


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The American Public Health Association is the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world and the foremost publisher of public health-related books and periodicals promoting high scientific standards, action programs and public policy for good health. More information is available at