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County public health agencies receive grant to explore shared services

MORRIS -- The Horizon Community Health Board has received a received a $125,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore how “cross-jurisdictional sharing” might help it fulfill its mission of protecting and promoting the health of the community.

This two-year grant will enable the Horizon Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing Team to explore the feasibility of integrating human and financial resources with the goal of providing more efficient and effective public health services.

The Horizon CHB comprised of Douglas County Public Health, Pope County Public Health, and Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health, governs the delivery of public health services throughout the five-county area.

Motivated by a desire to assure a strong and stable public health system to serve future generations, the Horizon CHB has embarked on an exploration of the feasibility of integrating the three public health departments into a single department as a strategy to achieve its goal of a strong public health infrastructure, said Sandy Tubbs and Sharon Braaten, co-directors of the Horizon Community Health Board.

Communities across the country rely increasingly on public health departments for services ranging from immunizations and health education to disaster preparedness and response. In recent years, funding for public health has dropped significantly even as the mission of public health departments has continued to expand. Cross-jurisdictional sharing enables health departments to share programs, services, and resources across the jurisdictions they serve.

Sixteen projects in 14 states are being funded through the Center for Sharing Public Health Services. The Center will help health officials, policymakers and other key stakeholders identify and share best practices as a strategy to expand the quality and availability of services while also improving efficiency.

“We believe that sharing services is and will continue to be an effective means of delivering comprehensive services in the rural area,” said Larry Lindor, Pope County Commissioner and Chair of the Horizon CHB. “The timing of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant just couldn’t be better. We are excited about the opportunity to work with the Center for Sharing Public Health Services and to learn from the other cross-jurisdictional grantees across the country.”

The Center is a national initiative managed by the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). To learn more, visit