Local Public Health Systems and the Incidence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Objectives. We examined the associations of local public health system organization and local health department resources with county-level sexually transmitted disease (STD) incidence rates in large US health jurisdictions.

Methods. We linked annual county STD incidence data (2005 - 2008) to local health department director responses (n = 211) to the 2006 wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Local Public Health Systems, the 2005 national Local Health Department Profile Survey, and the Area Resource File. We used nested mixed effects regression models to assess the relative contribution of local public health system organization, local health department financial and resource factors, and sociodemographic factors known to be associated with STD incidence to county-level (n = 307) STD incidence.

Results. Jurisdictions with local governing boards had significantly lower county-level STD incidence. Local public health systems with comprehensive services where local health departments shoulder much of the effort had higher county-level STD rates than did conventional systems.

Conclusions. More integration of system partners in local public health system activities, through governance and interorganizational arrangements, may reduce the incidence and burden of STDs.


Journal Article
American Journal of Public Health
Rodriguez HP, Chen J, Owusu-Edusei O, Suh A, Bekemeier B