Public Health Modernization

Public health across the nation, Oregon, and in Malheur County has been changing. Local public health is experiencing a significant period of transformation. Individuals and families flourish when communities are safe and healthy and when everyone has the opportunity to thrive. The Malheur County Health Department is a key partner in making this happen locally. We work behind the scenes to protect and support our diverse communities so that people can prosper and live fulfilling lives. We are able to do this through Public Health Modernization, a framework that ensures all people and communities in Oregon have the same level of protection and support from our public health system.

Years of reduced state funding made it challenging for local public health authorities (LPHAs) to provide these services. Lack of funding means LPHAs have less staff to do this important work in their communities. Public Health Modernization is also a policy that ensures LPHAs across Oregon have the resources to protect and serve their communities.

We are changing the way we do business to ensure that our team has the skills and resources necessary to work across sectors, to question why health inequality exists, to make data-driven decisions, and to think strategically about how to engage the community to create conditions for health, safety, and equity.

Oregon is a leader in its innovative approach to health system transformation, which aims to provide better health and better care at a lower cost. Public health should support Oregon’s health system in shifting its focus to prevention of disease.

We need a health system that integrates public health, health care and community-level health improvement efforts to achieve a high standard of overall health for all Oregonians, regardless of income, race, ethnicity or geographic location. To achieve this, we must stimulate innovation and integration among public health, health systems and communities to increase coordination and reduce duplication.

2010 Oregon’s Action Plan for Health

Public health modernization ensures Oregon’s public health system will be well-prepared and able to meet this charge. A modernized public health system will provide core public health functions and maintain the flexibility needed to focus on new health challenges, which include emerging infectious diseases, climate change, threats from man-made and natural disasters, and an increase in chronic diseases.

The current Malheur County Health Department Priorities and Key Activities for Public Health Modernization:


  • Plan for and prevents communicable and environmental threats.
  • Eliminate health inequities by 2030.

Key Activities

  • Create and implement four plans:
    a. Climate Adaptation Plan
    b. All Hazards Plan
    c. Health Equity Plan
    d. Strategic Plan
  • Establish new positions focused on Community Engagement, Health Equity, and Environmental Public Health.
  • Expand existing positions for Communicable Disease and Communications.
  • Implement Health Equity Lens across all programs.
  • Build meaningful community partnerships through Malheur County Health Equity Conference and ongoing collaboration.

For more information, visit the Modernization websites from the Oregon Health Authority and the Coalition of Local Health Officials.

Please contact Kyle Sorensen, Modernization & Outreach Supervisor, at, Sarah Poe, Director, at, or call our office at 541-889-7279. We hope to make more connections with community based organizations, health care and social service providers, and individuals to volunteer and advocate for change.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s