Journal of Public Health Management & Practice
October 2012, Volume 18 Number 5 , p E14 - E23
This study examines whether partnership-related measures in the second version of the National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS) are useful in evaluating level of activity as well as identifying latent constructs that exist among local public health systems (LPHSs). In a sample of 110 LPHSs, descriptive analysis was conducted to determine frequency and percentage of 18 partnership-related NPHPS measures. Principal components factor analysis was conducted to identify unobserved characteristics that promote effective partnerships among LPHSs. Results revealed that 13 of the 18 measures were most frequently reported at the minimal-moderate level (conducted 1%–49% of the time). Coordination of personal health and social services to optimize access (74.6%) was the most frequently reported measure at minimal-moderate levels. Optimal levels (conducted >75% of the time) were reported most frequently in 2 activities: participation in emergency preparedness coalitions and local health departments ensuring service provision by working with state health departments (67% and 61% of respondents, respectively) and the least optimally reported activity was review partnership effectiveness (4% of respondents). Factor analysis revealed categories of partnership-related measures in 4 domains: resources and activities contributing to relationship building, evaluating community leadership activities, research, and state and local linkages to support public health activities. System-oriented public health assessments may have questions that serve as proxy measures to examine levels of interorganizational partnerships. Several measures from the NPHPS were useful in establishing a national baseline of minimal and optimal activity levels as well as identifying factors to enhance the delivery of the 10 essential public health services among organizations and individuals in public health systems.