US Climate and Health Alliance

Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure


Public health infrastructure is the underlying foundation that supports the planning, delivery, and evaluation of public health activities and practices. Public health concentrates on the health of the population rather than care of the individual patient. Public health works to protect and improve the health of communities through education, policy development, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research to improve clinical care and injury prevention. The public health workforce’s focus on population-level health distinguishes it from the health care workforce that provides clinical health care and medical services to treat individuals in clinical settings.(1) A strong public health infrastructure provides the capacity to prepare for and respond to both acute (emergency) and chronic (ongoing) threats to the nation’s health. Public health infrastructure includes three key components that enable a public health organization at any level to deliver public health services. These components are a capable and qualified workforce; up-to-date data and information systems; and public health agencies capable of assessing and responding to public health needs.(2) It is imperative that we as a nation invest and maintain a strong public health infrastructure in order to ensure that appropriate health care services are available to meet the population’s health care needs. Ensuring that federal, state, tribal, and local health agencies have the necessary infrastructure to effectively provide essential public health services is also part of the 2020 Healthy People Objectives.(2) Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to encourage collaborations across sectors, guide individuals toward making informed decisions, and measure the impact of prevention activities.

Resource Type
Position paper/statement
American College of Physicians (ACP)
Resource URL
Organization Type
Health and Human Impact
Public health/health sector response

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