Priorities for Action
The GMPHN engaged its members in a collaborative process to identify the area's biggest public health infrastructure needs. The priorities areas identified through this process were as follows:
- Strengthening communication linkages within the local public health system to respond to health threats;
- Enhancing coordination between public health and law enforcement responsibilities;
- Establishing procedures to alert communities to public health threats and disease outbreaks;
- Holding more frequent simulations and mock events;
- Developing a current directory of organizations that make up the local public health system;
- Assuring that members of populations with barriers to accessing care are able to access care.
Based on this assessment and significant community feedback, GMPHN developed a Public Health Improvement Plan, which identifies the region’s top public health needs:
- Essential Service #2: Diagnose and investigate identified health problems and health hazards in the community.
- Essential Service #4: Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems.
- Essential Service #7: Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
Since 2003, the GMPHN has focused on the development of a regional plan to swiftly and effectively respond to and recover from a public health emergency. In the spring of 2008, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan were approved by the state of New Hampshire. In 2008, the State of NH, Division of Public Health Services began conversation with community partners regarding the need to regionalize public health services. The goal is to develop a performance-based public health delivery system, which provides the 10 essential public health services throughout New Hampshire. The GMPHN has actively participated in these discussions and begun to evaluate the mapping of our services area to include the towns in western Hillsborough County. Over the next 12-24 months the GMPHN will be engaging in needs assessments and evaluations to determine effective delivery of public health services in the region.