Investing in Evidence to Inform How to Rebuild the US Public Health System in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

CCHRPP Faculty member Erika Martin

CCHRPP researcher Erika Martin, along with Betty Bekemeier from University of Washington School of Nursing, reflect on the gaps in information about the public health delivery system in their recent Health Affairs Blog. In their article, “Investing in Evidence to Inform Practice: Reimaging the US Public Health System,” they describe the growth of the field of public health systems and services research that uses the methods and concepts of health services research to examine the organizations, structures, staffing, and service delivery of our public health system. The evidence developed has guided the accreditation of public health agencies, demonstrated the impact of public health services on population health, and established a foundational set of essential public health services for all communities. Despite the importance of this research to evaluate and enhance the performance of our public health system, it has never received long-term and stable federal allocations. The federal Prevention and Public Health Fund that was established under the Affordable Care Act was never funded at the level needed to support research on public health systems, and the field has relied on funding from heath foundations with shifting priorities. Martin and Bekemeier conclude with specific recommendations on how to revive this field and its critical importance as experts discuss how to rebuild a “reimagined” public health system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read their full article on the Health Affairs Blog.