Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research is an open-access, rapid-response, peer-reviewed online journal offering brief, preliminary PHSSR findings from ongoing or recently completed empirical studies or quality improvement projects. Journal articles answer questions of importance regarding the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services; the structure, operation, and management of public health delivery systems; the application of quality improvement methods in public health settings; and/or the impact of these endeavors on population health. Findings must have the potential to guide future public health practice, health policy, and research. Frontiers is intended to provide quick access to actionable public health infrastructure research to improve public health practice at the state and local levels. It is of use to practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

August 22, 2014
Priscilla A. Barnes et al.

In Tennessee, health coalitions provide guidance in conducting community assessments, health improvement plans and policies and delivering of health and human services, which are considered core functions of public health. In fact, it has been postulated that these coalitions may serve as the organizational embodiment of the local public health system (LPHS).

April 28, 2014
Nancy L. Winterbauer

Increasing life expectancy through decreasing vaccine preventable deaths is a hallmark of modern public health in the United States (1). Two federal vaccine programs help insure coverage for vulnerable populations. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides vaccines to eligible children[1] at no cost, removing financial barriers to vaccinations. Close to half of US children and 30 percent of adolescents are vaccinated through the VFC program yearly (2).

April 28, 2014
Margaret A. Knight et al.

Section 317 of the Public Health Services Act is a federal program that provides funds for the purchase of vaccines. These annual Congressional allocations fluctuate from year to year as Congress responds to changes in national needs for immunizations. The Affordable Care Act requires first dollar coverage of immunizations and other preventive care, allowing a reduction in federal funding for vaccine purchase and a reallocation of funds to other uses such as infrastructure development.

April 28, 2014
Sharla A. Smith PhD, MPH et al.

Improving the well-being of mothers, infants, and children is a vital public health initiative in the United States. Local health departments are designated agents for addressing maternal and child health outcomes. Klaiman and colleagues used a positive deviant (PD) framework in identifying the modifiable activities and approaches for LHDs that contribute to better MCH outcomes.

April 28, 2014
Tamar A. Klaiman et al.

Local health departments (LHDs) are under increasing pressure to improve performance with limited resources. While research has found that financial resources may be associated with better health outcomes, there are some LHDs that maintain exceptional performance, even with limited budgets. Our interest was identifying LHDs that positively deviate in MCH outcomes compared to their peers while taking into account local context including geography and finances.

April 28, 2014
Kaja M. Abbas

Public health departments have limited evidence to understand and analyze the costs and benefits of different health programs, including tuberculosis control and prevention programs. The study by Miller et. al addresses this challenge to estimate costs and benefits of tuberculosis prevention programs in Texas and identify cost-effective diagnostic and treatment combinations, thereby improving the evidence-based decision making power of the public health departments.

April 28, 2014
Thaddeus L. Miller et al.


Economic modeling and analysis can facilitate evidence-based policy and practice. Such analyses may exceed the technical capacity and mission of public health agencies, yet may be critical to sustain health protections such as tuberculosis (TB) control. The net effect of TB prevention is incompletely understood, hampering objective value judgments of national TB elimination policies. This may promote inefficiencies and threaten individual and public health protections.

April 28, 2014
Paul C. Erwin

Through interviews of 12 members of an expert panel – importantly, involving both practitioners and researchers/academicians – Aronson and colleagues sought to understand how evidence-based public health (EBPH) is defined, what counts as “evidence”, and what EBPH actually looks like when operationalized in a local health department.

April 28, 2014
Robert E. Aronson et al.

In this study, we interviewed twelve members of an expert panel to elicit their views on Evidence-based Public Health (EBPH), including how they define EBPH, what constitutes “evidence”, and what LHDs do that can be described as EBPH. Telephone interviews lasting 60 minutes were recorded and transcribed for basic content analysis. Experts differed in their definitions of EBPH and their views of what constitutes evidence.

March 3, 2014
Christopher Duffrin PhD, MCHES et al.

Federal, state, local and public health officials utilize Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations to manage health and physician workforce development in underserved regions. HPSA designation length by county was examined to determine if there is significant association with population-to-primary care physician ratio since the inception of HPSA designations in 1978. Counties were grouped in 5 categories based on consecutive designation length and analyzed with demographic variables.