Counties play a critical role in promoting and protecting the health of people and the communities in which they live, learn, work and play. As administrators and operators of the local health safety net, county agencies employ a wide range of public health services that protect resident health and well-being through the prevention of illness, injury and other adverse health outcomes.

A robust public health system centers equity and actively promotes policies, systems and overall community conditions that drive optimal health.1

Public health is an intersectional field that works to address the underlying causes of health outcomes. This work requires both intergovernmental collaboration between federal, state and local governments, as well as multisectoral partnership across local government agencies.

This brief provides an overview of how counties provide integral public health services for all Americans, describes their public health authority, their role in preparedness and response efforts, and local public health efforts to address social determinants of health (SDOH) in our communities. The brief will also outline key federal policy recommendations for our federal partners to safeguard funding and authority for local public health services and programs.

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Upcoming Events


Building a Behavioral Health Continuum of Care: The Role of Rural Leaders and Behavioral Health Directors

This webinar is hosted by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in partnership with the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Development Disability Directors (NACBHDD).


Prevention to Treatment: Substance Use Disorder Solution Strategies

Our discussion will cover what's available, what's currently working, differences in approach, and potential strategies for various populations including the underserved population.


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Blaire Bryant

Legislative Director – Health | Large Urban County Caucus
Meghan McQuillen

Meghan McQuillen

CDC Public Health Associate