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A Multistate Examination of Partnership Activity Among Local Public Health Systems Using the National Public Health Performance Standards

Barnes, Priscilla A. MPH, PhD, MCHES; Curtis, Amy B. PhD, MPH; Hall-Downey, Laura DrPH, MS; Moonesinghe, Ramal PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: September/October 2012 - Volume 18 - Issue 5 - p E14–E23
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e31822ca424
Original Articles

This study examines whether partnership-related measures in the second version of the National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS) are useful in evaluating level of activity as well as identifying latent constructs that exist among local public health systems (LPHSs). In a sample of 110 LPHSs, descriptive analysis was conducted to determine frequency and percentage of 18 partnership-related NPHPS measures. Principal components factor analysis was conducted to identify unobserved characteristics that promote effective partnerships among LPHSs. Results revealed that 13 of the 18 measures were most frequently reported at the minimal-moderate level (conducted 1%–49% of the time). Coordination of personal health and social services to optimize access (74.6%) was the most frequently reported measure at minimal-moderate levels. Optimal levels (conducted >75% of the time) were reported most frequently in 2 activities: participation in emergency preparedness coalitions and local health departments ensuring service provision by working with state health departments (67% and 61% of respondents, respectively) and the least optimally reported activity was review partnership effectiveness (4% of respondents). Factor analysis revealed categories of partnership-related measures in 4 domains: resources and activities contributing to relationship building, evaluating community leadership activities, research, and state and local linkages to support public health activities. System-oriented public health assessments may have questions that serve as proxy measures to examine levels of interorganizational partnerships. Several measures from the NPHPS were useful in establishing a national baseline of minimal and optimal activity levels as well as identifying factors to enhance the delivery of the 10 essential public health services among organizations and individuals in public health systems.

This study examines whether partnership-related measures in the second version of the National Public Health Performance Standards are useful in evaluating level of activity as well as identifying latent constructs that exist among local public health systems.

Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington (Dr Barnes); Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, College of Health and Human Services, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo (Dr Curtis); School of Human Sciences, Mississippi State University (Dr Hall-Downey); and Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Moonesinghe).

Correspondence: Priscilla A. Barnes, MPH, PhD, MCHES, 1025 E 7th St, HPER 116, Bloomington, IN 47405 (priscillab4@gmail.com).

Support for this research was provided by University of Kentucky Center for Public Health Systems and Services Research.

The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.