Financing Rural Public Health Activities in Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2005
Project completed:
June 2008
Changing national policy combined with state and local variation in the distribution of funds for chronic disease prevention and health promotion can influence the ability of rural communities to conduct public health functions that address specific objectives.

With funding from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP), researchers from the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and the Center for Rural Health Practice at the University of Pittsburgh (Bradford, PA) investigated how federal and state funds for chronic disease prevention are applied at the local level. The purpose of this study was to describe the federal-state funding streams for selected local public health activities in the areas of chronic disease prevention and health promotion, and assess potential barriers to program implementation in less populated, rural areas of a state. The research sought to address deficits in understanding related to how federal and state funds for particular public health objectives are being used by localities, particularly in rural communities where disparities in health risks such as smoking and obesity may be marked.

Through a quantitative analysis of funding streams across all 50 states and a qualitative analysis conducted through interviews with key informants in six states, this work examined the availability of funding and organizational mechanisms by which localities receive funding for selected population-based chronic disease prevention and health promotion activities. The study expanded on prior qualitative research which yielded case studies of six states' public health infrastructure and addressed a broader aim of describing how differences in state public health infrastructure influence the provision of public health activities in rural communities.