Background: Several recent analyses of the status of public health activities in the United States indicate the fragility of the public health infrastructure. The Public Health Functions Project was created to help clarify the issues and develop strategies and tools to address the matters identified. Special emphasis will be given to: marshalling consensus on the essential services of public health; quantifying the investment in those services at the Federal, State and local levels; assessing the current capacity and needs for public health workforce in various areas; developing guidelines for sound practices in public health; linking with activities to characterize the information system elements necessary for the conduct of public health services, including the relationship of those elements to the personal health services information systems; developing strategies for enhancing public and professional awareness of the nature and impact of public health activities.
Project: To address these issues, the following tasks will be undertaken as part of the Public Health Functions Project:
Project Coordination: The project will be coordinated by a Steering Committee chaired by the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Surgeon General, and comprised of the PHS agency heads and the presidents of the American Public Health Association, the Association of Schools of Public Health, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Environmental Council of the States, the National Association of Country and City Health Officials, the National Association of Local Boards of Health, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Partnership for Prevention and the Public Health Foundation.
Execution of activities will be overseen by a Staff Working Group co-chaired by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and comprised of designees from each of the organizations represented on the Steering Committee.
Affiliate membership includes groups representing a single profession or interest with a shared commitment to the goals of the Public Health Functions Project. Affiliate members often participate in the Working Group and Steering Committee, various Subcommittees, and regularly share information with and about the Public Health Functions Project.
Each specific activity undertaken within this project will have identified leadership, and staff support from the Public Health Service. Wherever possible, existing structures and communication devices will be used as the basis for Public Health Functions efforts (e.g., the Public Health Service Data Policy Committee, the Joint Council of Governmental Public Health Agencies, the Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice).
Project Timetable: Completion of all activities of the Public Health Functions Project will be in 2000.