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WHAT ARE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES WHAT WILL THE PARTNERSHIP DO BACKGROUND EXPANDING A BASE OF SUPPORT WHY WE NEED A NEW PLAN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH IN LANCASTER COUNTY

Over the past five years, a group of concerned residents has considered the question, "Does Lancaster County need a local public health department?" We have talked with people around the county, the region, and the state in order to understand the needs and opportunities involved. We have become convinced that the ability to make decisions locally would benefit Lancaster County. With a local public health department, we would be much better positioned to address quickly and effectively concerns such as toxic lead levels in children, illnesses from vaccine-preventable diseases, H1N1, air pollution, and high death rates from stroke, asthma, and melanoma.

The intent of the Steering Committee was to gain the support of the County Commissioners to pass a resolution to create a county public health department. In February 2007, the Board of Commissioners requested and received a Certificate of Approval from the PA Department of Health, granting the county permission to establish a county health department, if it so chose. However, with a change in members of the Board and the subsequent downturn of the economy, establishing a department was no longer an option for the County.

The Steering Committee was challenged to search for other ways of addressing the gaps in delivery of public health services. Using the momentum already in force and strong community interest, the concept of a private/public partnership surfaced, with the hope that someday the effort to create a county department can resume.

A new entity emerged - Partnership for Public Health in Lancaster County - with the following goals:

  • Centralize public health information, research, and concerns
  • Convene information, people, and funding to address public health priorities
  • Disseminate public health information
  • Coordinate efforts and resources to address public health priorities
  • Document barriers to effective delivery of public health services
  • Assure that state provided public health services align with the needs of Lancaster County
  • Demonstrate the importance and efficacy of the need for an organized approach to address county-wide public health needs and priorities
 Partnership for Public Health - description