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Local Health Departments and the Challenge of Chronic Disease: Lessons from California


The essential role local health departments have played in the control of infectious diseases has not been matched with an equivalent contribution in prevention of chronic diseases. Local health departments have attempted to define and build that capacity, but they have been confronted with budget cuts and competing public health priorities, most notably bioterrorism preparedness. This article is based on interviews with local health officials and describes some of the common ways local health departments in California have forged ahead to develop the capacity to engage in comprehensive approaches to chronic disease prevention in spite of the challenges. Additionally, the article highlights future considerations that need to be addressed if these promising trends in chronic disease prevention are to become more widespread.

Primary Toolkit:

Health Equity and Social Justice Toolkit

Secondary Toolkits:

Chronic Disease Prevention Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Health Equity, Social Justice


Institutional Author:

Bob Prentice, PhD, George Flores, MD, MPH





The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.