The County Role in Public Health
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.
On November 13, members of NACo's Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committees on Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The Commission called on Congress to support counties in delivering high-quality, assessible mental health services to address residents' comprehensive behavioral health needs in any mental health legislation package.
Senators launch the Bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, a promising partner for NACo's Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing in advancing crucial mental health policy.
NACo submits comments on the proposed Mental Health Parity rule, championing mental health coverage, supporting fair treatment limits and robust data collection and requesting consideration of county health plan administration.
Guilford County, N.C. is aiming to reduce its racial disparity in infant mortality by 50% in five years and eliminate it completely within the next decade.
By addressing the social determinants of health, Harris County, Texas is aiming to reduce its Black maternal and infant mortality rates.
This event will bring together leaders from all levels of government to discuss effective strategies for investing opioid settlement funds and to explore opportunities to strengthen intergovernmental coordination in our nation’s response to the opioid epidemic.