Magazine article The Nation's Health

Governmental Public Health at Risk Because of Cuts to Infrastructure

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Governmental Public Health at Risk Because of Cuts to Infrastructure

Article excerpt

OUR NATION is still reeling from our current recession. Communities large and small, urban and rural are losing critical resources in public health. We are dismantling our basic public health infrastructure, particularly at the state and local levels.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials has documented the severe program cuts and job losses from the public health work force and local health departments. From January 2008 to December 2009, about 15 percent of the work force at local health departments--23,000 jobs--was lost due to attrition or layoffs. NACCHO points out that during the second half of 2009, about 13,000 jobs had hours cut or suffered imposed furlough days. Almost 75 percent of the nation's people live in jurisdictions that lost staff to layoffs or attrition, and 23 percent live in jurisdictions that saw furlough days and cuts to hours.

Program cuts have ranged from population primary prevention programs to communicable diseases, food safety, epidemiology and emergency preparedness programs. The direct impact of these program cuts and job losses can be measured in outbreaks caught late, restaurants without inspections and physical activity programs eliminated. The direct damage that these cuts create is disturbing enough. But the real damage will be felt in the future.

It is certainly true that state and local public health departments are not the only units of government with profound impacts on population health. We would certainly include human and social services, education, transportation, employment and economic development, to name a few. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.