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The Healthy People Initiative: Understanding the User's Perspective

Benz, Jennifer PhD; Blakey, Carter BA; Oppenheimer, Caitlin Carroll MPH; Scherer, Hilary BA; Robinson, Wilma Tilson PhD, MPH

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: March/April 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 2 - p 103–109
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e318254cc31
Original Articles

Objective: After 30 years of implementation, this study provides the first assessment of how the nation's preeminent health promotion and disease prevention initiative, Healthy People, is utilized by key stakeholders in state, local, and tribal health organizations.

Methods: Surveys of state, local, and tribal health organizations were conducted in 2005 and 2009. Respondents completed a questionnaire about their organization's awareness and the use of Healthy People 2010.

Results: The awareness and use of Healthy People have grown over time. However, states are 32% more likely than local organizations and more than 200% more likely than tribal organizations to use Healthy People, demonstrating a continued need for targeted outreach directed toward local, tribal, and smaller health organizations. Different stakeholders appreciate different aspects of Healthy People. Barriers to increased use of Healthy People are primarily attributed to organizations, rather than the Healthy People initiative itself. Implementation planning for Healthy People 2020 is well aligned with users' recommendations.

Conclusions: The Healthy People initiative is useful to different stakeholder groups in different ways. Encouraging and assisting users to adopt a broader set of its functionalities could increase the overall utility of the initiative.

This article provides the first assessment of how the nation's preeminent health promotion and disease prevention initiative, Healthy People, is utilized by key stakeholders in state, local, and tribal health organizations.

Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, NORC at the University of Chicago, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Benz); Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland (Ms Blakey); Public Health Department, NORC at the University of Chicago, Bethesda, Maryland (Ms Oppenheimer); Graduate Student, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (Ms Scherer); Office of Adolescent Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland (Dr Robinson).

Correspondence: Jennifer Benz, PhD, Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, NORC at the University of Chicago, 225 Friend St, Ste 204, Boston, MA 02114 (benz-jennifer@norc.org).

This project was funded under contract 100030020 from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Health Policy, US Department of Health and Human Services.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.JPHMP.com).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.