capacity, infrastructure, National Public Health Performance Standards Program, NPHPSP, performance, public health system



  1. Scutchfield, F Douglas MD
  2. Knight, Evelyn A. PhD
  3. Kelly, Ann V. MHA
  4. Bhandari, Michelyn W. MPH
  5. Vasilescu, Ilie Puiu PhD


The study described in this article identifies local public health agency capacity characteristics that are related to their local public health systems' performance scores on the CDC's National Public Health Performance Standards Program assessment instrument. Public health system performance scores from a test version of the National Public Health Performance Standards instrument (5b) from county and city/county jurisdictions in three states were matched to organizational capacity data from the 1997 National Association of County and City Health Officials profile of health departments, resulting in a sample of 152 jurisdictions. Twenty-eight capacity variables from the profile and all 10 scores on the Essential Public Health Services plus the total performance score were analyzed in 11 separate multivariate regression models. Public health agency capacities in the areas of funding, organizational leadership, and certain nonprovider partnerships were found to be significantly related to public health system performance. Further study is needed to determine if these relationships between agency capacities and system performance are found, with data from other states now using the nationally released performance assessment instruments and with capacity measures that are more specific for evaluating public health system performance.