Emerging Public Health Initiatives: Foundational Public Health Services

The Public Health Leadership Forum, funded by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, has worked to create a “minimum package of services” needed for all health departments.  It focuses on the suite of skills, programs, and activities that must be available in state and local health departments everywhere for the health system to work anywhere, and for which costs could be estimated. The result was a conceptual framework describing both the foundation and programs that no health department should be without.

Foundational Public Health Services include:

  • Foundational Areas are those substantive areas of expertise or program-specific activities in all state and local health departments also essential to protect the community’s health.
  • Foundational Capabilities are cross-cutting skills and capacities needed to support the foundational areas, and other programs and activities, key to protecting the community’s health and achieving equitable health outcomes.

Other areas of locally defined significance include:

Programs and Activities Specific to a Health Department or a Community’s Needs are those determined to be of additional critical significance to a specific community’s health and also are supported by the foundational capabilities and areas.

Learn more at Foundational Public Health Services.

In some capacity, Lake Cumberland District Health Department engages in all the Foundational Public Health Services.  Work by the Kentucky Health Departments Association has developed a cross walk (see below) that translate such into the “cost centers” to which we code our work time.

Of pressing concern, however, is the severe shortage of federal and state funds to fully engage these foundational services. To this end, the Kentucky Health Departments Association has attempted to illustrate the cost of providing statutorily required services summarized in the linked infographic, What You Need to Know About Kentucky’s Statutory Requirements. This infographic is being used as one tool to advocate for full funding for statutorily required programs so locally generated funds can be utilized to address areas of unfunded/under-funded Foundational Services and other important areas identified in local community health assessments.