Press Room

New ASTHO Profile Report Offers Comprehensive Look at Nation's Health Agencies

ARLINGTON, VAThe Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) released the ASTHO Profile of State and Territorial Public Health, Volume Four (Profile), a comprehensive report that takes an in-depth look at state and territorial health agencies, including funding levels, agency priorities, and governmental public health workforce.

The Profile reveals important trends, challenges, and developments across public health agencies in the states, U.S. territories, and freely associated states, including a decreasing public health workforce, prioritization of chronic disease, and increased resource sharing.

“State and territorial health agencies do incredible work to promote population health and the span of activities described in this report is impressive,” says Michael Fraser, executive director of ASTHO. “Reliable and comprehensive data is one of the best ways to demonstrate the value of public health to policymakers, researchers, public health practitioners, and the public.”

The report reveals that 25 percent of the public health workforce could be lost to retirement by 2020, leaving a dramatic gap in the nation’s ability to protect the public’s health. Bolstered succession planning and recruitment efforts are essential to prepare the workforce for the next public health crisis. While state health agency total revenue has remained relatively stable over time, demands are ever increasing and as a result these agencies are working to maximize limited resources through collaboration and partnership. The number of states sharing resources with other states on a continuous, recurring (nonemergency) basis increased substantially, from 9 percent in 2012 to 27 percent in 2016.

The report also reiterates the many public health services provided by the health department, including but not limited to emergency preparedness, maternal and child health, food inspections, and clinical care. State health agencies most frequently reported chronic disease prevention as a top priority, reflecting the larger public health goal to reduce the burden of chronic disease in the United States.

This report was developed with support from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To learn more about the Profile report, visit www.astho.org/profile.


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ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.

Support for this research was provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.