Community Impact

Northeastern U. Study Looks at Local Public Health Infrastructure

April 11, 2022

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation contracted with the Public Evaluation Lab at Northeastern University to conduct a study of local public health infrastructure in the region. Researchers conducted interviews and surveys of local public health leaders to elicit feedback on public health collaborations and opportunities.

The report found that local health departments (LHDs) in the region are staffed by dedicated and insightful leaders who have an earnest desire to strengthen public health capacity and build on community assets. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for a coordinated response to public health in the region. Over the past two years, LHDs have cooperated with schools, local hospitals, and community health centers to present unified public health education and easily accessible resources such as COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

While it is important to draw attention to progress, it is equally important to highlight emerging and entrenched public health challenges. Towns of different populations and budgets have contrasting views on how to partner effectively on a host of issues ranging from health promotion to housing to food security. This report maps these challenges and identifies differences in public health experiences among communities. It also found that formal partnerships and collaborations have great potential to further strengthen public health infrastructure, foster policy development, and improve social determinants of health, allowing all MetroWest residents to live a life of dignity.

A copy of the full report can be found on our Publications page.

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