First Year Checkup: Strategies for a Stronger Public Health System


For this study, the Commission reviewed California’s public health system. In 2006, California policy-makers severed public health functions from the former Department of Health Services and established a separate Department of Public Health, a recommendation previously made by the Commission. The separation and establishment of the new Department of Public Health occurred on July 1, 2007. One year later, the Commission had the opportunity to assess the accomplishments of the new department as well as the challenges that remain and provide input and guidance as the new department takes root.

Additionally in this review, the Commission had the opportunity to follow-up on the progress that had been made in implementing its other prior public health recommendations and to determine what additional actions are necessary. Specifically, the Commission assessed whether action had been taken in other key areas, such as its recommendations to install a real-time surveillance system to track the emergence of contagious disease, increase capacity of laboratory and other essential functions, improve communication and coordination among public-health and emergency-related agencies to ensure emergency-preparedness, and develop a plan for reducing illness and death resulting from hospital-acquired infections.

In this update, the Commission reviewed California’s public health system, continuing an assessment that began in 2002 with the Commission’s initial assessment of the state’s level of emergency preparedness in Be Prepared: Getting Ready for New and Uncertain Dangers. That report was followed by a more specific examination of public health in the Commission’s 2003 study, To Protect and Prevent: Rebuilding California’s Public Health System, and a follow-up report in 2005, Recommendations for Emergency Preparedness and Public Health, which refined and reiterated the recommendations made in 2003.

Previous Studies