Public Health Systems & Best Practices

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Protecting the public’s health depends on strengthening the public health system and implementing proven strategies to improve health outcomes.

Best Practices in Public Health

Learn about health department accreditation
Read about the national voluntary accreditation program and how CDC supports it.

Explore models, frameworks & tools for community health assessment and planning
Then find more information about community health assessments & health improvement plans

Measure the capacity and performance of your public health agency
ASTHO and NACCHO provide assessment instruments based on the National Public Health Performance Standards

Expand your agency’s capacity by sharing services and resources across jurisdictions
Then learn about cross-jurisdictional sharing activities and resources that can help jurisdictions collaborate to provide robust services

Explore the history of performance management & quality improvement in public health
Then access information and materials to support your health department’s efforts to improve performance

Photo: Doctor talking to a patient

The Arctic Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Regional Training Center and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services collaborated to implement an intervention proven to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed by those who are drinking too much.

Read more stories about the innovative public health practices of health departments and national partners in Public Health Practice Stories from the Field.

Chart showing public health system

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. Public health systems are networks of public, private, and voluntary entities that contribute to the health and well-being of communities. Each community should undertake 10 Essential Public Health Services to protect and promote the health of its members.

Profile of State and Territorial Public HealthExternal
Public health happens at all levels of government—state, tribal, local, territorial, and federal. Comprehensive data about health agency responsibilities, organization and structure, workforce, and planning illustrate the similarities and differences in how they work to protect the public’s health. Find out more about these diverse entities in Health Agency Profiles.

How do state and local health departments work together?
Public health governance varies from state to state, as do the relationships between state and regional or local agencies. Explore the map to determine how agencies collaborate to protect the public’s health in your state.

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and PartnershipsExternal
Discover how the MAPP model guides system and community partners through a community health improvement planning process

Page last reviewed: August 24, 2018