Efforts are under way to develop a performance measurement monitoring system for state and local public health systems and to develop a strategic planning tool for local public health systems. The development of these measures is being based on the Essential Public Health Services. This article provides the rationale for why the Essential Services offer a good framework for identifying, analyzing, and evaluating public health activities. The article also reviews the history of local public health and the development and application of the Essential Public Health Services and their predecessor frameworks such as the core functions, the organizational practices, and the essential elements.
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