In July 2013, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), through the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) and Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), established a strategic partnership to align multiple public health priorities into one integrated system. The partnership aims to increase efficiency through single contracts with 13 agencies to serve as the host entity for a Regional Public Health Network (RPHN). The purpose of the RPHNs is to integrate multiple public health initiatives and services into a common network of community stakeholders. The 13 RPHNs include every community in the state.
This alignment is the culmination of multiple strategic planning and capacity-building initiatives undertaken in the last decade by DPHS and BDAS. Two of these initiatives, known as Public Health Regionalization and the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), included comprehensive reviews of the existing statewide capacity to deliver public health and substance misuse prevention and related health promotion services regionally. These initiatives both sought to build, and then expand, regional infrastructure and a capacity to deliver public health services, which includes substance misuse prevention, related health promotion services, and public health emergency preparedness.
As of late 2013, each RPHN is in the process of establishing a Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC). The role of the PHAC is to advise RPHN partners by identifying regional public health priorities based on assessments of community health; guiding the implementation of programs, practices, and policies that are evidence-based to meet improved health outcomes; and advancing the coordination of services among partners. Additionally, the PHAC structure is intended to build on existing leadership and coordinating groups in many areas, beginning with substance misuse prevention (SMP) and public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) and, over time, extending the advisory and coordinating role of the PHAC over a much broader range of public health issues and services based on regional priorities and capacity.
The long-term goal for the PHACs and RPHNs is to collectively develop a performance-based public health delivery system that provides all 10 Essential Public Health Services throughout their region. In support of this goal, NH DHHS will continue to seek and direct funding and other resources to the RPHNs and encourage other public and private funders to utilize this regional alignment, as appropriate, when funding public health services.
For more information about the variety of public health programs available in your RPHN, please select your town or RPHN from the drop down menu above.