NACCHO is excited to announce the release of the 2016 National Profile of Local Health Departments (Profile) report. The Profile is a comprehensive (read “long”) survey of local health department (LHD) infrastructure and practice that NACCHO administers every three years. This year, 76% of all LHDs across the United States responded to the Profile survey, helping us to present a complete and accurate overview of LHD funding, workforce programs, and partnerships.
The 2016 Profile includes new findings on LHD emergency preparedness infrastructure and activities. For example, data show that nearly one in five LHDs had smaller budgets overall for emergency preparedness in 2016 compared with 2015. This problem was especially acute in the Midwest and West, where nearly 30% of LHDs reported smaller preparedness budgets. Despite these budget challenges, almost all LHDs (90%) participated in some kind of emergency preparedness exercise in the past year; 80% participated in tabletop exercises, 64% participated in functional exercises, and 38% participated in full-scale exercises.
The Profile is a critical resource for NACCHO, policymakers, LHDs, and researchers. To be a credible and effective national voice for LHDs, NACCHO needs up-to-date information about LHDs. NACCHO staff use Profile data to educate congressional and agency staff about how LHDs improve and protect health in communities and about the challenges LHDs face. Local and state health departments use Profile data to compare their agency or agencies within their states to others nationwide. Universities use Profile data to educate the future public health workforce about LHDs and to conduct research about the relationship between public health infrastructure and community health outcomes. Profile data also helps highlight challenges faced by LHDs and differences between small, medium and large LHDs.
New this year, NACCHO produced a highlights version of the report, presenting what we found to be the most interesting findings from the 2016 Profile. However, there are many more findings to share, all of which are available online at www.nacchoprofilestudy.org. A PDF of the full Profile report, a PDF of this highlights report, image files of all the figures included in both reports, and the dataset for those who may be interested in conducting additional analyses are available at this link.
The 2016 Profile study was a success because of the commitment of capable and dedicated local public health department leaders throughout the country and we thank you for your support. Visit www.nacchoprofilestudy.org for more information about the Profile – we hope you will find the 2016 report useful for your work.