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How to Prevent Future Pandemics: Public Health Infrastructure

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Hello and welcome to the third part of my miniseries, How to Prevent Future Pandemics! There are many different aspects to preventing future pandemics, but I will focus on four main areas: vaccinations, infrastructure, public health infrastructure, and research. We will focus on one of these areas in four different posts. This post will focus on public healthInfrastructure.

Public health infrastructure refers to local, state, federal, and international public health organizations and departments. Without these organizations and departments it would be impossible for us to keep track of what is happening in a huge country like the United States, let alone in the world. According to healthypeople.gov, “The public health infrastructure provides communities, states and the nation [and the world] with the ability to prevent disease, promote health, and prepare for and prepare for acute (emergency) threats and chronic (ongoing) challenges to respond for health. Infrastructure is the foundation for planning, delivering, evaluating and improving public health. "1 Here are some examples of public health infrastructure at the local, state, state, and international levels:

  • Local - Tri-County Health Department (https://www.tchd.org/). The Tri-County Health Department serves Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties in Colorado. It offers over 60 programs / services ranging from birth certificates to vaccinations and health care referrals to restaurant inspections and infectious disease screenings (this is extremely relevant right now) in 11 offices spanning 3,000 square miles. The agency's jurisdiction includes 26 parishes and three unincorporated districts, 15 school districts with more than 360 public schools, 12 acute care hospitals, three state-qualified multi-facility health centers, three community mental health providers, and a regional collaborative care organization (Colorado Access) ). ”2 This agency is one of many across the country responsible for managing daily events in the local areas. These agencies usually exist at the county level, but can also exist in larger cities.
  • State - Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe). The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment is responsible for overseeing public health activities throughout the state of Colorado. You are responsible for identifying and overseeing work towards public health goals such as Healthy Colorado. Healthy Colorado: Shaping a State of Health is Colorado's plan for improving public health and the environment from 2015 to 2019. It provides evidence-based strategies and helps guide actions with the ultimate goal of achieving measurable and lasting improvements for Coloradoans. "3 You are also responsible for public records (such as birth and death certificates), laboratory services, and emergency preparedness. They are the primary resource for the state of Colorado during this COVID-19 pandemic. Each state and territory in the United States has its own state health authority.
  • Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (https://www.cdc.gov/). The CDC's Mission: “CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats at home and abroad. Whether diseases occur at home or abroad, chronic or acute, curable or avoidable, human error or deliberate attacks. CDC is fighting disease and helping communities and citizens do the same. CDC increases the health security of our nation. As the country's health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our country from costly and dangerous health threats and responds when they arise. "4 The CDC helps coordinate responses at the federal level between all federal states. It supports all states and territories in the country.
  • International - World Health Organization (WHO) (https://www.who.int/). “WHO works worldwide to promote health, protect the world and serve the vulnerable. Through our work we address: human capital throughout life, noncommunicable disease prevention, mental health promotion, climate change in developing small islands, antimicrobial resistance, [and] elimination and eradication of high impact communicable diseases. "5 WHO also addresses health emergencies by: “Identifying, mitigating and managing risks, preventing emergencies and supporting the development of tools needed in outbreaks, identifying and responding to acute health emergencies, and providing essential health services in fragile environments supported. "5 WHO is responsible for monitoring situations around the world that may affect international borders.

Each of these levels play an important role in our efforts to fight disease at home and around the world. They work together to keep us safe from outbreaks. A failure anywhere in the chain creates a security breach in our communities. As we invest in these organizations at various levels, we invest in our frontline defenses to identify and respond to diseases that can lead to pandemics. Healthcare professionals are committed to protecting your health, and public health infrastructure enables them to do just that.

What you can do:

  • The state of Colorado is currently looking for volunteers to help with the response effort. You're looking for people who deliver food, medicines, medical supplies, and more. Visit https://helpcoloradonow.org/#volunteer-or-donate for more information.
  • Many public health infrastructure projects are decided on and further developed at the state and local levels. In addition, the public health infrastructure is determined at federal and international level during federal elections.


  1. Healthy people. Public Health Infrastructure. Https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/public-health-infrastructure
  2. Tri-County Health Department. Via Tri-County Health Department. https://www.tchd.org/236/About
  3. Colorado Department of Public Health. Colorado: Local Public Health and Environmental Resources. Shaping a state of health. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe-lpha/shaping-a-state-of-health
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About CDC 24-7. Mission, role and promise. https://www.cdc.gov/about/organization/mission.htm
  5. World health organization. What we do. https://www.who.int/about/what-we-do