Emerging Public Health Initiatives: Public Health 3.0

Recommended by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Public Health 3.0 (PH3.0) is a paradigm for public health transformation that calls on local public health infrastructure to ensure the conditions in which everyone can be healthy.

Public health has been evolving over time. From the late 19th century through much of the 20th century, an era we call Public Health 1.0, public health practice was modernized through the advances in vaccines, antibiotics, epidemiology, and lab sciences, as well as a system of sanitation and standards in food and water safety. The era of Public Health 2.0 focused on defining and developing essential functions of governmental public health agencies and ensuring universal access to healthcare.  Public Health 3.0 focuses on ensuring universal access to health.

In PH3.0, the Chief Health Strategist (or Community Health Strategist) drives local public health transformation and brings together community members and partner organizations for collective impact on social determinants of health. In this capacity, the local health department can be defined or re-defined as the interpreters of data and diagnosticians on a community scale; illuminators of health inequities and advocates for social justice; partners for non-health sectors working toward a culture of health; agents of policy change who broaden legislators’ understanding of health; conveners and supporters of community organizations; identifiers of evidence-based strategies for local priorities; and assessors of health service access in the communities they serve.

PH3.0 recognizes that, “In order to solve the fundamental challenges of population health, we must address the full range of factors that influence a person’s overall health and well-being.From education to safe environments, housing to transportation, economic development to access to healthy foods—the social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, live, work, and age.” Also, PH3.0 recommendations seek to shift the responsibilities of public health upstream, focusing on social determinants addresses the outcomes rather than the causes of inequity.

Since the communities that make up Kentucky are largely rural in nature, PH3.0 urges the avoidance of marginalizing this large segment of health departments and the populations they serve. Small and rural health departments already face resource limitations restricting their ability to engage in population health promotion.  Learn more at Public Health 3.0.

Lake Cumberland District Health Department aspires to work with community partners as we become our communities’ “chief health strategists” while facilitating Community Health Improvement Plans. For more information on these efforts, visit LCDHD: Health Assessments, Analyses and Statistics.