News  |  November 28, 2018

The American Public Health Association (APHA) held its 146th Annual Meeting & Exposition on "Health Equity Now" from November 10-14, 2018, in San Diego, California. PHNCI, along with the Public Health Accreditation Board and All In: Data for Community Health, participated in the Public Health Expo to promote innovation in public health, accreditation, and cross-sector data sharing in an effort to improve community health and wellbeing. Meeting attendees that visited the exhibit booths shared the following anecdotes related to these topics:

  • “Public health is full of impressive innovators – it’s what we do. But we need to do a better job of innovating together across disciplines and program areas. We need to convene and work together to begin to define how we can do this. Moving forward, we need to develop a common set of goals and core values around which we agree to collaboratively innovate together.”
  • “The greatest threat to public health today is not a lack of resources but a chronic lack of creativity and innovation.”
  • “The public health workforce needs to be at the forefront of cultivating and creating better ways to address public health through technology and innovation, especially taking in to consideration the demographics of who is using tech and social media platforms.”
  • “Policy surveillance is an important aspect of public health – it is a source of reliable data for evaluation; allows for non-partisan information to be accessed; tracks changes over time; diffuses innovation; and builds capacity.”
  • “Public health can achieve health equity through stronger collaborative partnerships that impact communities with innovative individual solutions.”
  • “As public health professionals, we can develop innovative solutions but sometimes fail to meet the community and policymakers where they’re at. Public health needs to use similar language and the right framing for the public to better understand the social determinants of health and trends in population health improvement.”

As noted above, public health professionals in an uncertain environment need the ability to think boldly, create new ideas, and focus on innovation. PHNCI now offers a full-day workshop that provides these skills, so design thinking can be put to immediate use.

Does your health department have a public health innovation worth sharing? PHNCI would love to hear about it! Please visit this submission page to provide some brief details about your innovation. In the meantime, read our innovation stories to learn what innovative approaches health departments are taking to improve their communities.