A public health consultant can be an invaluable resource for healthcare organizations throughout the U.S. However, deciding whether your organization would benefit from a consultant—and if so, where to find one—can be overwhelming.
This article will outline reasons for working with a public health consultant, when to consider adding a public health expert to your team, and how you can benefit from their expertise.
Let’s get started.
Why You Need a Strong Public Health Consultant
Successful public health programs can significantly improve a community’s health.
Unfortunately, many of these programs fall short of their intended goals. Why? According to a report published by the NCBI, “Limited and unstable funding, lack of automatic means to track and improve performance, workforce limitations, and insufficient political commitment can all cause public health programs to fail.” [I]
One of the best ways to avoid these common pitfalls is to work with a consultant who specializes in public health. Rather than facing these obstacles alone, a public health consultant can work alongside you and your organization, bringing relevant and valuable experience that could make the difference between failure and success.
Still unsure how you or your organization could benefit from this partnership? See below our list of reasons you might need a public health consultant.
You Would Benefit from Their Expertise
In that same study published by the NCBI, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, determined that “the most effective public health programs are based on an evidence-based technical package: a selected group of related interventions that, together, will achieve and sustain substantial and sometimes synergistic improvements in a specific risk factor or disease outcome.” [I]
However, developing and implementing those strategic interventions can be difficult for organizations and healthcare leaders if they’ve had little experience addressing the specific challenges.
Alternatively, a public health consultant can bring specialized knowledge and skills to a particular challenge, such as a pandemic response or health promotion initiative. So instead of trying to forge an entirely new path, a consultant can leverage their expertise and experience to help you develop and execute an effective plan.
You Have Limited Time and Resources
Hiring a consultant can save time and resources, especially when an organization lacks the internal capacity to tackle a particular public health issue. This challenge is especially true for local health departments.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Local health departments (LHDs) have a fundamental and complex role as the front line for delivery of basic public health services to most of the communities in this country… For many LHDs, resources for some traditional services have been shrinking at the same time that challenges and demands have been increasing.” [ii].
Working with a consultant can help you access some of the resources your organization needs without paying for or waiting to hire a full-time employee.
You Want Access to the Best Practices
Even if your organization happens to have plenty of time and resources, it still might lack the management capacity to oversee an effective public health initiative.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, says this in his Six Components Necessary for Effective Public Health Program Implementation” study: “For many public health programs, implementation is essentially a management problem. Even if political commitment, resources, and a technical package are in place, effective management may not be.” [I]
Public health consultants have experience working in different settings and can bring best practices and innovative approaches. The best consultants can help you not only design a new program but also help you execute it using top strategies and insights.
You Need Help with Compliance and Regulations
If your organization is understaffed, keeping up with public health regulations can be an overwhelming burden and challenge. Fortunately, many public health consultants specialize in these areas and can help you understand and comply with public health regulations and standards, reducing the risk of legal or financial consequences.
Overall, a public health consultant can bring unique knowledge, skills, and resources to support organizations in addressing public health challenges and improving health outcomes.
How AB Med Can Help You Partner with the Right Public Health Consultant
If you’re struggling to address your community’s most pressing public health challenges, A.B. Med can help. Our team of healthcare experts specializes in designing, developing, and implementing innovative public health solutions. Let us connect you with one of our public health consultants who has experience with the obstacles you are trying to overcome. Contact us today so that we can start working toward improving the public health of your community.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Frieden, T.R. (2014). Six Components Necessary for Effective Public Health Program Implementation. American Journal of Public Health, [online] 104(1), pp.17–22. doi:https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2013.301608.
- Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Committee on Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century, Gebbie, K., Rosenstock, L. and Hernandez, L.M. (2010). Public Health Agencies: Their Roles in Educating Public Health Professionals. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221185/.
By: Erik McLaughlin MD, MPH and Aikaterini Papadopoulou, B.Arch