Studies of public health departments have found mixed results regarding the relevance of governance through local boards of health (LBOHs). Some studies find that LBOHs can be an important component in higher performance by local health departments. Other analyses, however, find no advantage for local health departments having or not having a LBOH. The hypothesis was that a typology of LBOHs nationwide can define different types of LBOHs based on their powers and responsibilities.
Using national profile sample data from the National Association of Local Boards of Health, LBOHs were categorized using 34 variables based on four domains of responsibilities and duties: enforcement powers, regulatory powers, human resource powers, and budgetary powers. Correlations between types of LBOHs defined by this typology were then computed, and whether they shared significant characteristics in terms of the race, ethnicity, sex, and educational demographics of their board members was determined. ArcGIS was used to analyze the data spatially for regional and national patterns.
Different types of LBOHs may have different influences on their associated local boards of health. This study provides a typology for future research to allow analysts to distinguish different types of LBOHs nationally.
“Variations in public health governance,” was published in the Journal for the Georgia Public Health Association.
Dr. Jeff Jones, assistant professor of health policy and management (HPM) at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Georgia Southern University (JPHCOPH) was the lead author. Mr. Ankit Bakar, alumni of the Masters of Public Health (MPH) HPM at JPHCOPH, Mr. Patrick Chang, student of the MPH in Biostatistics at JPHCOPH, and Dr. Yelena Tarasenko, assistant professor of HPM and epidemiology at JPHCOPH were co-authors.