Health centers have a recognized history of community involvement and empowerment that facilitate integration of their primary medical care services with public health activities to affect the social determinants of health and well-being. This study examined primary care and public health activities among federally funded health centers to better understand their successes, the barriers encountered, and the lessons learned. Qualitative and quantitative data were obtained from 9 health centers, stratified by administrative division, urban–rural location, and patient race/ethnicity. Descriptive data on patient and institutional characteristics came from the Uniform Data System, which collects data from all health centers annually. Key informants completed questionnaires and participated in phone interviews.
Health centers reported conducting many essential public health activities. The study identified specific needs for integrating primary care and public health including the need for more funding for collaborations and for addressing the social determinants of health; strong leadership to champion collaborations; trust-building among partners with shared missions and clear expectations of responsibilities; and alignment and standardization of data collection, analysis, and exchange.
Report Title: Primary Care and Public Health Activities in Select US Health Centers: Documenting Successes, Barriers, and Lessons Learned
Agency Sponsor: HRSA, Health Resources and Services Administration
Federal Contact: Lydie Lebrun-Harris, 301-443-2178
Performer: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Record ID: 10099 (June 29, 2012)