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Organizational Models of Public Health, Coursework Example

Pages: 1

Words: 394

Coursework

Describe succinctly how the organizational models at either the state or local level differ in terms of their structure and operation.

At the state level, public health utilizes a variety of organizational models including a free-standing agency structure and a superagency structure. In the free-standing agency structure, an administrator runs the organization and reports to the state governor. Typically, the agency deals with administering all public health functions, including infectious disease control, environmental health, and preventative health care. In this model, the agency is separate from other state departments which administer Medicaid and social services. In contrast, the superagency model administers both public health functions and those related to social services. Unlike the free-standing model, the superagency doesn’t occupy its own seat in cabinet but instead provides a representative for public health issues (Novick, et al., 2008).

Which organizational model would you most prefer to work in? Support your choice by discussing strengths and weaknesses that are inherent in these organizational models.

I would prefer to work within the free-standing agency model, despite the fact that superagencies are thought to be more cost-effective and have the potential to be more efficient through the combining of multiple agencies. However, I believe that a cabinet seat is necessary in order for public health agencies to play an integral role in making policy changes that will improve the overall health of Americans.  Under the superagency model, public health loses some of its independence as it merges with other agencies who may have competing or differing goals; the sheer size and scale of the superagencies also holds the potential for increased bureaucracy (Beitsch, et al., 2006).

Identify one way in which systems thinking helps illuminate the strengths and/or weaknesses of your selected organizational model.

The systems thinking concepts of hierarchy and differentiation help to clarify the specific role that public health plays within a free-standing organizational model. By remaining distinct and independent from other state agencies, there is less of a possibility of encountering conflict with other agencies (such as Medicaid) which might take a contradictory approach to an issue like funding immunizations (Novick, 2008).

References

Beitsch, L.M., Brooks, R.G., Grigg, M., & Menachemi, N. (2006). Structure and functions of    state public health agencies. American Journal of Public Health, 96(1): 167-172. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.053439

Novick, L.F., Morrow, C.B., & Mays, G.P. (2008). Public health administration: Principles for   population-based management. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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