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community health planning, local public health system performance assessment, public health administration



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


The objectives of the study described in this article were to test training and resource materials for preparing Kentucky public health agency staff to lead the National Local Public Health System Performance Assessment and to identify barriers encountered in implementation. Readiness supports provided to five Kentucky district and county health departments that led the system assessment process in 12 counties were evaluated using training pre- and posttests, performance assessment posttests, observations, and interviews. The training and materials provided in this study appeared to be the minimum needed for these Kentucky health departments. Training sequences need to allow time for independent study of assessment processes, and training in using and interpreting the assessment instrument should be included. Partner orientation materials targeted for nonpublic health partners would be useful. In Kentucky, barriers to completing the assessment included questions about its purpose and benefits and the lack of a self-identified local public health system. Formal training of health department staff, committed leadership, and adequate personnel resources can help overcome these barriers. The health departments that brought together system partners for the performance assessment considered it a valuable community-building educational event.