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  1. Siddiqi, Sameer M. PhD
  2. Uscher-Pines, Lori PhD
  3. Leinhos, Mary PhD
  4. Dekker, Debra PhD
  5. Chari, Ramya PhD


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the experiences of US health departments with citizen science.


Design: In 2019, we conducted a national survey of 272 local health department (LHD) representatives about knowledge and attitudes, readiness, experiences, and barriers related to citizen science (response rate = 45%).


Setting: LHDs in the United States in 2019.


Participants: LHD representatives.


Main Outcome Measures: Knowledge and attitudes, readiness, experiences, and barriers related to citizen science.


Results: Sixty-two percent of respondents reported LHD experience with citizen science in areas such as health promotion, emergency preparedness, and environmental health. LHDs in large jurisdictions (78%) were more likely to report staff familiarity with citizen science than small (51%) and medium (59%) jurisdictions (P = .01). Although 64% reported readiness for citizen science, only 32% reported readiness for community-led activities. We found that LHDs use citizen science more for community engagement activities, such as public education, than data collection activities. Respondents indicated that staff education and training in citizen science methods, funding, and partners with relevant expertise were priority needs.


Conclusion: LHDs have leveraged citizen science for community engagement, but barriers to technical uses remain.