A clear relationship exists between full-time equivalent staffing, the provision of services for women and children, and a reduction of between one to two infant deaths per 1,000 live births in North Carolina, according to a paper published online February 17 in the American Journal of Public Health.
[Photo: Dr. Anna Schenck]
Dr. Anna Schenck, director of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Public Health Leadership Program and its North Carolina Institute for Public Health, is first author of the study, “Building the Evidence for Decision-Making: The Relationship Between Local Public Health Capacity and Community Mortality.” Support for this research was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“The recent economic recession resulted in loss of staff and services at our local health departments. This study provides support for the important work those departments do to improve infant health in their communities,” said Dr. Schenck, who is also associate dean for public health practice at the UNC Gillings School.
Dr. Schenck and colleagues analyzed data from North Carolina’s 85 local health departments (LHDs) to examine how investments in spending, staffing, and services impact community health outcomes in the state. This study was conducted in an effort to expand what is known about investments in public health staff and services that generate improvements in community health.