Modernization of the public health system requires local health departments to address issues beyond their historic geopolitical boundaries. The need to identify common areas of concern, duplication of effort, resource sharing and planning, and vulnerable populations in need of assistance in the event of a wide-scale disaster is being addressed regionally in forums known as Governmental Public Health Partnerships (GPHPs). Each GPHP consists of the health officers (or their representatives) of each local health department in a county or multi-county area. The GPHPs provide the capacity and expertise needed to assure the protection and promotion of the health of the residents in their jurisdiction.
The GPHPs have taken the lead in strategic, county-wide community health planning, engaging hospitals, FQHCs, community service providers, local businesses and many other partners. In addition to assisting in planning for emergency preparedness, these county-based community partnerships have produced county-wide Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs) which identify high priority public health issues for the county. The CHIPs are based on a rigorous review of mortality and morbidity data, behavioral risk factor survey, and, in many instances, include the results of broad community health assessments and consultations. Each CHIP also contains implementation plans for each of the identified priority issues.
There are fifteen GPHPs covering NJ’s 21 counties. The Southern Region GPHP encompasses the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland/Salem, and Gloucester.