About Us

Building healthy communities through public health innovation.

The Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) serves as the national headquarters for empowering health departments to drive change and improve health. PHNCI: 

  • Provides a learning lab for health departments’ innovations
  • Develops and shares resources, tools, education, and expertise
  • Connects innovators within public health and across sectors
  • Monitors, disseminates, and builds the science of public health innovation. 


Sharing Ideas. Inspiring Innovation in Public Health.

As public health departments adapt to meet the growing and changing needs of their communities, experts say there is a need for strategic coordination to help incubate and share innovative ideas. 

In order to support health departments and make innovation a useful tool rather than a buzzword, PHNCI convened thought leaders in both innovation and public health to develop a definition and characteristics for public health innovation

PHNCI identifies and fosters innovations in health departments, and collects lessons learned and successes through innovation grantees; publishes The Spark (our blog) and Innovation Stories; and provides resources to guide health departments in developing new or replicating innovations in their communities.

Public Health Accreditation Board and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), established PHNCI to identify, implement, and spread innovations in public health practice to help meet the health challenges of the 21st century in communities nationwide. PHNCI acts as a leader to coordinate and share innovative ideas as communities transform to improve health outcomes. 

PHNCI is governed by the PHAB Board of Directors and is guided by an Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from all levels of public health practice and health care. PHNCI actively engages with innovation experts from other sectors to connect health departments with thoughts leaders.

To meet the needs of the 21st century, we need innovative public health practices that build on the work of non-health sectors to transform the health of the population. Pamela G. Russo, MD, Senior Program Officer, RWJF

At the core of PHNCI’s current body of work are learning communities comprised of statewide coalitions, health departments, and other agencies implementing the systems transformations and innovations needed to improve public health practice and health outcomes.

The 21st Century Learning Community is comprised of collaboratives in Ohio, Oregon, and Washington that are using the foundational public health services (FPHS) as a tool to modernize public health systems in each state by determining the cost of core services and related funding sources necessary to advance the practice of public health; developing and maximizing service delivery models (e.g. the use of shared services); and working to demonstrate the value of this work in transforming public health.

The Innovation Learning Community is comprised of nine sites that are implementing cross-sector innovations in health equity, data collection and analytics, health in all policies, systems redesign, and access to services. From now until October 2018, information about the grantees will be shared such that others may be able to adapt, adopt, or replicate innovations in their own communities.

Moving forward, PHNCI will test and refine the definition and characteristics of public health innovation and continue to share successes and challenges in innovation to inspire others to pursue innovative practices and transform public health.