2013 National Profile of Local Health Departments

The National Association of County and City Health Officials profiled the status of local health departments in a 2013 report. Photo by NACCHO

Local health departments, or LHDs, are often called “the front lines” of public health for their ability to quickly respond when health emergencies arise. A report from the National Association of County and City Health Officials shows how their size and priorities have changed in recent years.

According to the 2013 National Profile of Local Health Departments the LHD workforce has dropped by 28,000 employees — from 190,000 to 162,000 — over the last three years.  In that same time span, funding for emergency preparedness has dropped by almost 45 percent.

Not all the news was bad. While quality improvement, or QI, was a relatively new concept at the time of NACCHO’s previous report in 2010, 56 percent of LHDs now have formal QI plans.

“This 2013 Profile report is a valuable resource for all public health professionals, policymakers, federal agencies, researchers and others to use to understand our nation’s current local public health infrastructure,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report and other resources for LHDs are available at NACCHO online.