Practitioner perspectives on foundational capabilities

Jonathon P. Leider, Chrissie Juliano, Brian C. Castrucci, Leslie M. Beitsch, Abby Dilley, Rachel Nelson, Sherry Kaiman, James B. Sprague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Context: National efforts are underway to classify a minimum set of public health services that all jurisdictions throughout the United States should provide regardless of location. Such a set of basic programs would be supported by crosscutting services, known as the "foundational capabilities" (FCs). These FCs are assessment services, preparedness and disaster response, policy development, communications, community partnership, and organizational support activities. Objective: To ascertain familiarity with the term and concept of FCs and gather related perspectives from state and local public health practitioners. Design: In fall 2013, we interviewed 50 leaders from state and local health departments. We asked about familiarity with the term "foundational capabilities," as well as the broader concept of FCs. We attempted to triangulate the utility of the FC concept by asking respondents about priority programs and services, about perceived unique contributions made by public health, and about prevalence and funding for the FCs. Setting: Telephonebased interviews. Participants: Fifty leaders of state and local health departments. Main Outcome Measures: Practitioner familiarity with and perspectives on the FCs, information about current funding streams for public health, and the likelihood of creating nationwide FCs that would be recognized and accepted by all jurisdictions. Results: Slightly more than half of the leaders interviewed said that they were familiar with the concept of FCs. In most cases, health departments had all of the capabilities to some degree, although operationalization varied. Few indicated that current funding levels were sufficient to support implementing a minimum level of FCs nationally. Conclusions: Respondents were not able to articulate the current or optimal levels of services for the various capabilities, nor the costs associated with them. Further research is needed to understand the role of FCs as part of the foundational public health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Foundational areas
  • Foundational capabilities
  • Foundational public health services model
  • Minimum package
  • Minimum package of public health services

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