THE MAGAZINE

Bioterror Focus Changing Public Health Systems

Every U.S. state has an agency that handles public health, but how the public health apparatus functions from state to state diverges widely. Some agencies are freestanding, others are part of a larger health and human services department. The way they deal with local health agencies varies as well: some states centralize control over local health agencies, others grant local agencies wide latitude in operations, and still other states fall somewhere in between. The services provided by these agencies are also all over the map. Does the structure matter? Not really, say researchers at the RAND Corporation who recently examined “whether there is a link between how state and local public health departments are organized and the level of their emergency preparedness.” Read the report.

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