New Report: Supporting Communities and Local Public Health Departments During COVID-19 and Beyond: A Roadmap for Equitable and Transformative Change
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unreckonable damage and loss for individuals, families, and communities, claiming the lives of over 91,000 Californians
. The devastating consequences raised renewed concerns about health inequities for low-income communities and communities of color and the impact of historical and ongoing racism on health. COVID-19 also helped reveal an essential opportunity to rebuild better, creating a new foundation for lasting, transformative change, community resilience, and equity.
Supporting Communities and Local Public Health Departments During COVID-19 and Beyond: A Roadmap for Equitable and Transformative Change
, a report released by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California in July 2022, offers policy, program, and resource recommendations and best practice examples to ensure that local public health departments are adequately prepared to protect communities most vulnerable to the health and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 as well as future public health emergencies.
The report was commissioned by the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity and is informed by 68 key informant interviews from across California’s public health, community, healthcare, philanthropy, and other sectors, along with more than 100 survey responses; local, regional, and state level public health professional meetings; and a scan and review of policy and best practices.
The report highlights the challenges faced by California’s local health jurisdictions during COVID-19. Years of inadequate funding left our nation’s public health systems ill-prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. 89% of local health departments who participated in the report’s 2020 survey stated that funding was a barrier to addressing the response. Additionally, over half (59%) of local health department staff reported that they don’t have funded equity staff. Of those, 83% believe additional funding for dedicated equity staff would have better supported their department’s COVID response.
Using the opportunities and best practices emerging from the evolving COVID-19 response, this report serves as a roadmap to help transform systems from a short-term public health crisis response to longer-term recovery, with equity at the very center.
“This report serves as a critical resource for government and healthcare agencies, public health departments and community serving groups to be able to effectively plan for long-term recovery from public health emergencies, such as COVID, and to ensure that local public health departments are adequately prepared to protect communities most vulnerable during a public health crisis”
Tracy Delaney, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director of the Public Health Alliance of Southern California
The seven chapters of the report outlined below include challenges, best practices, and practical recommendations for transformative change. This transformation requires co-visioning and co-creating between public health, communities and other sectors to ensure that the needs and priorities of communities most disproportionately impacted by inequities are the leading force of these reimagined public health systems.
Local and state agencies, community-based organizations, funders, healthcare systems, and many other actors can apply the lessons learned elevated throughout the report and implement proposed recommendations to advance shared health equity goals.
The full report, executive summary, and individual chapters are provided below.
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