As one of four Divisions under the Georgia Department of Human Resources, the Division of Public Health describes itself as "the lead agency entrusted by the people of the State of Georgia with the ultimate responsibility for the health of communities and the entire population." In the execution of this responsibility, the Division works diligently to assure and protect the public health interests of the state, even as demographic changes and socioeconomic challenges continue to place an increased burden on the states' public health infrastructure. Some of these challenges include
* rapidly growing population
* poor health status of its residents;
* relatively high rates of poverty;
* disparities in health care;
* limited access to care in rural areas;
* the uninsured and their growing reliance on the healthcare safety net; and
* sustainable public health financing.
Faced with these challenges and a shifting national paradigm away from direct personal care toward more focus on population-based services, the Division of Public Health commissioned the Georgia Health Policy Center to perform an inventory and assessment of public health practice within the state to assist in future strategic planning efforts. Information for this project was gathered in several ways. First, a review of current literature on best practices for public health reform was examined along with budget and regulatory documents. Then, interviews and focus groups were conducted with leadership from within the Department of Human Resources and the Division of Public Health, external stakeholders, partners and local community members to better understand the current and ideal business practice of the Division. The information was fed back to an Advisory group formed to guide the process. Finally, discussions with District Health Directors and Division staff contributed to the development of a logic model for public health practice in Georgia.