September 14, 2006
In an effort to understand better what factors influence a well- performing local public health agency, the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina was awarded a one-year, $102,500 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The study, to be conducted at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH), will examine the correlation between delivery of public health services at the organizational level with public health workforce performance of essential services.


Photograph of Dr. Edward L. Baker

Photograph of Dr. Edward L. Baker

Dr. Edward L. Baker , research professor in the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the School of Public Health and director of NCIPH, will serve as principal investigator of the project. Says Baker, a former division chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “We’re predicting that this look at individual and organizational contributions to public health infrastructure will contribute to the national dialogue about how public health works and about the exciting new policies around accreditation and workforce development in North Carolina.”

Public health departments are responsible for a range of vital health services, including:

  • Tracking outbreaks of new disease and preventing or containing their spread.
  • Promoting health and preventing and managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.
  • Being among the first on the scene in natural disasters or acts of terrorism and working in coordination with other first responders.
  • Identifying and remediating environmental factors contributing to a high incidence of cancer, heart disease, asthma and other illness.
  • Protecting the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.
  • Monitoring health trends and conditions throughout communities.

This project is important to RWJF as it builds the field of public health systems research to provide the evidence for decisions that state and local public health departments must make each day to protect the public’s health and promote healthy communities. It’s vital that public health agencies have the best evidence available to guide their decisions about their infrastructure, organization, workforce and financing.

As local health departments in North Carolina continue to undergo its accreditation process, findings from this research should provide evidence to support more formal approaches to enhancing workforce development (e.g. certification and credentialing) and public health agency accreditation.

The North Carolina Institute for Public Health is the outreach and service arm of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. For more information, visit

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans. For more information, visit


School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467,

Or, Bev Holt, NC Institute for Public Health, (919) 966-6274,



Gillings Admissions: 233 Rosenau Hall, (919) 445-1170
Student Affairs: 263 Rosenau Hall, (919) 966-2499
Dean's Office: 170 Rosenau Hall, (919) 966-3215
Business and Administration: 170 Rosenau Hall, (919) 966-3215
Academic Affairs: 307 Rosenau Hall, (919) 843-8044
Inclusive Excellence: 207B Rosenau Hall, (919) 966-7430
Room Reservations

135 Dauer Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400