The concept of a public health system, as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a complex network of individuals and organizations that have the potential to play significant roles in creating the conditions for health. The component parts of a potential system can improve health individually, but when they work together toward a health goal they act as a true system – a public health system.

“Government has a unique responsibility to promote and protect the health of the people built on a constitutional, theoretical and practical foundation. However, government public health agencies alone cannot assure the nation’s health…. There is growing recognition that individuals, communities, and various social institutions can form powerful collaborative relationships to improve health that government alone cannot replicate.”
– Institute of Medicine, The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century, 2003

The idea of a local public health system recognizes that health improvement is best achieved at a local  or regional level using a collaborative approach. Local communities can come together to identify health problems, galvanize a community response, and devise appropriate solutions based on available resources.
The vision for a Regional Public Health Network includes:

  • Serving as a local, collaborative entity with collective responsibility for the health and safety of community residents;
  • Coordinating comprehensive health improvement efforts at the local level, including assuring sufficient capacity exists for an effective response to emerging public health threats;
  • Assuring the delivery of the Ten Essential Services of Public Health at the local level;
  • Serving as the local liaison with state agencies involved in the public’s health and safety; and
  • Coordinating the effective use of state prevention and health promotion funds at the local level.

Related Information

“The New Hampshire Public Health Network: Creating Local Public Health Infrastructure Through Community-Driven Partnerships”
Published in the “Journal of Public Health Management Practice”, this article describes the history and development of the New Hampshire Public Health Network.