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Investing in Our Local Health Departments: How Our Funding Decisions Today Will Determine California’s Future

Released by PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California, this report explores how local health departments play an important role in keeping us safe and healthy—and why years of funding cuts to public health left us vulnerable to a public health emergency like COVID-19. The brief features data, infographics, and key messaging on the history of public health funding cuts and a call to action for investing in a resilient and robust public health system.

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Over the past decade alone, local and state health departments lost 20% of their workforce, and local health department budgets shrank by as much as 24%. In fact in the past 15 years, 11 local public health labs closed in California—hampering the state’s ability to test for COVID-19, a key criterion for safely re-opening businesses, schools, and other gatherings. Almost all funding sources for local health departments have been declining at the same time that public health threats are growing, such as natural disasters like Zika, Ebola and now COVID-19. 

Investing In Our Local Health Departments, from PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California, explores the important role local health departments play in keeping us safe and healthy and explains how years of funding cuts to public health left us vulnerable to a public health emergency like COVID-19. The brief features data, infographics, and key messaging on the history of public health funding cuts and a call to action for investing in a resilient and robust public health system.

Read and Download the Brief

What funding local public health does for communities

Visit Public Health Alliance of Southern California’s website to also access additional related materials, such as adaptable talking points, graphics, and resources that local health departments and advocates can customize to their local context and use for advocacy:

"We have more knowledge than ever about successful ways to ensure that everyone in
our communities has the opportunity to live full, healthy lives, but we need the political will and flexible funding to make it a reality."
- Investing in Our Local Health Departments: How Our Funding Decisions Today Will Determine California's Future

Investing in our local health departmentsLocal health departments (LHDs) are responsible for protecting the health, safety and general welfare of the residents within their jurisdictions. LHDs are also at the forefront of advancing health equity, or addressing the root causes of poor health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that our LHDs are at a critical juncture. As our elected officials wrestle with budget decisions, it is essential to recognize that the choices made today will have lasting implications on the public’s health and our ability to advance healthier, equitable communities tomorrow.

Read and Download the Brief


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Newsom Announces $63m PHI/KP Contact Tracing Initiative

On Aug 10, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new $63m partnership with Kaiser Permanente and the Public Health Institute to support the state’s COVID-19 response, by building California’s clinical contact tracing infrastructure and strengthening contact tracing statewide.

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