Funding and job cuts as a result of the economic recession have weakened the impact public health departments have on their communities, says a series of articles published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
"Continued cuts to public health services will have an unsatisfactory impact on the health of individuals and the community," said Dr. Lloyd F. Novick, the journal's editor-in-chief. "There is a heightened vulnerability at the present time for adverse health outcomes. Above all, the realization of the vital need to maintain resources for our public health delivery system is imperative."
In 2009, 23,000 jobs in public health departments were eliminated, 15 percent of the total. By 2010, more than half the agencies had a cut in core funding. As they scramble to make do with their new bottom lines, more cuts are expected. "The current, alarming trend of diminishing resources, reduced workforce and impaired capacity to maintain public health programs pose major hurdles for local agencies, with consequences that will be felt well into the future," said Dr. Rachel Willard of the University of California.
To view an article on the impact of the 2008-2010 economic recession on local health departments, one on a local health department that is providing only essential services, and one on enhancing public health value in an era of declining resources, click here.