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Public Health Rep. 1992 Nov-Dec; 107(6): 609–615.
PMCID: PMC1403710

Strengthening the public health system.


Although the American public health system has made major contributions to life expectancy for residents of this country over the past century, the system now faces more complex health problems that require comprehensive approaches and increased capacity, particularly in local and State public health agencies. To strengthen the public health system, concerted action is needed to meet these five critical needs: First, the knowledge base of public health workers needs to be supplemented through on-the-job training and continuing education programs. To this end, self-study courses will be expanded, and a network of regional training centers will be established throughout the country. Second, communities need dynamic leadership from public health officials and their agencies. To enhance leadership skills and expand the leadership role of public health agencies, focused personal leadership development activities, including a Public Health Leadership Institute, and national conferences will provide a vision of the future role of public health agencies. Third, local and State public health agencies need access to data on the current health status of the people in their communities and guidance from the nation's public health experts. To improve access to information resources, state-of-the-art technologies will be deployed to create integrated information and communication systems linking all components of the public health system. Fourth, local and State agencies need disease prevention and health promotion plans that target problems and develop strategies and the capacity to address them.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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