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Keywords

public health agencies, tobacco settlement funds, Turning Point

 

Authors

  1. Palm, David PhD

Abstract

Prior to 2001, the local public health system in Nebraska was weak, fragmented, and severely under funded. Local public health departments covered only 22 of the state's 93 counties. The Turning Point project provided the impetus for change by allowing a diverse group of public health stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for strengthening and transforming the public health system. The plan acted as a catalyst to use some of the Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Funds to provide dedicated state funding to build the local public health system. By June 2002, 16 new local public health departments had been organized, ultimately covering all of the 93 counties in the state. Some of the keys to long-term sustainability are creating a network of community health partners that support collaborative decision making, continually seeking input from the community, developing and implementing an education and training plan for public health professionals and local board of health members, and demonstrating accountability by documenting results and communicating them to policy makers and the general public.