Local health departments (LHDs) are striving to meet public health needs within their jurisdictions, amidst fiscal restraints and complex dynamic environment. Resource sharing across jurisdictions is a critical opportunity for LHDs to continue to enhance effectiveness and increase efficiency. A recent study led by researchers from the Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health examined the extent of cross-jurisdictional resource sharing among LHDs, the programmatic areas and organizational functions for which LHDs share resources, and LHD characteristics associated with resource sharing.
Dr. Gulzar Shah and co-authors used data from the National Association of County & City Health Officials’ 2013 National Profile of LHDs and found that more than 54 percent of LHDs shared resources such as funding, staff, or equipment with one or more other LHDs on a continuous, recurring basis. Results from the multinomial regression analysis indicate that economies of scale (population size and metropolitan status) had significant positive influences (at P ≤ .05) on resource sharing. Engagement in accreditation, community health assessment, community health improvement planning, quality improvement, and use of the Community Guide were associated with lower levels of engagement in resource sharing. Doctoral degree of the top executive and having 1 or more local boards of health carried a positive influence on resource sharing.
Authors concluded that cross-jurisdictional resource sharing is a viable and commonly used process to overcome the challenges of new and emerging public health problems within the constraints of restricted budgets. LHDs, particularly smaller LHDs with limited resources, should consider increased resource sharing to address emerging challenges.
“Cross-Jurisdictional Resource Sharing in Changing Public Health Landscape: Contributory Factors and Theoretical Explanations,” is published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
Dr. Gulzar Shah, Georgia Southern associate dean for research was the lead author. Georgia Southern alumni Mr. Adrian, Dr. Claire Robb, Georgia Southern assistant professor of epidemiology, and Dr. William C. Livingood, University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions Senior Research Scientist were co-authors.