Public Health Infrastructure

The nerve center of the public health system.

Improving & updating the field

Public health infrastructure is broadly defined as the capacity of public health stakeholders to enhance the health of a population in order to prevent disease, promote health, prepare for and respond to emergency threats, and address ongoing challenges to health. Examples include everything from the integration of public health and primary care, to health data collection/storage, to the training of the public health workforce, to name only a few.

Why it matters:

All public health services rely on the presence of public health infrastructure. It’s the foundation of how health care in all its forms functions in our communities. It defines our region’s ability to prevent disease, promote health, and prepare for and respond to chronic and emergency health-related issues. It has been described as the “nerve center of the public health system.” Learn more about public health infrastructure here.

Missouri ranks 50th in the nation for the amount of state funds dedicated to public health. The national median is $33.50 per person, but Missouri spends less than a quarter of that: $6. The state ranks 46th in the nation for public health financing by state and federal sources, spending only $41 per person in 2015. Average funding across the country amounts to approximately $92 per person.

How we’re changing things:

We have offered direct funding to local public health agencies, are facilitating a workgroup of key public stakeholders to think about how to improve and update the field, and are supporting new innovative ideas.
Collaborating groups include the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, #HealthierMO partners, local public health agencies, academic institutions, private sector public health partners, and many others.

Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure Through Innovation
Missouri’s public health system is experiencing a period of significant change, and public health stakeholders are seeking innovative ways to finance and structure their work in order to continue providing and enhancing the services they deliver to the public. We’re partnering with stakeholders to explore ways to strengthen public health infrastructure in our state, making it more sustainable and responsive to the region’s needs.

$33.50 National median $6 Missouri
Median state spending on public health per-person, as compared to Missouri's rate, which is the second lowest in the U.S.
50th Missouri ranks second-to-last in public health spending
$92 National average $41 Missouri
Average public health financing by state and federal sources per-person, as compared to Missouri, which ranks 46th in the country.