The National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP) is
a collaborative effort to enhance the Nation's public health systems.
Seven national public health organizations have partnered to develop
national performance standards for State and local public health
The stated mission and goals of the NPHPSP are to improve the quality
of public health practice and the performance of public health systems by:
Providing performance standards for public health systems and
encouraging their widespread use;
Engaging and leveraging national, state, and local partnerships
to build a stronger foundation for public health preparedness;
Promoting continuous quality improvement of public health
Strengthening the science base for public health practice
The NPHPSP is a collaborative effort of seven national partners:
These partners represent the organizations and individuals that will use the
assessment instruments. Through working groups and as field test sites, hundreds
of representatives from these organizations were involved in the development,
review, testing, and refinement of the three assessment instruments. Their feedback
on the draft instruments assured that the final NPHPSP instruments are
practice-oriented and user-friendly. Representatives from other organizations,
such as academic partners from the Association of Schools of Public Health, also
provided valuable input.
Partner contact information is located at
The NPHPSP includes three instruments:
The Concepts Applied in the NPHPSP
There are four concepts that have helped to frame the NPHPSP:
The standards are designed around the ten Essential Public Health Services.
The use of the Essential Services assures that the standards fully cover the
gamut of public health action needed at state and community levels.
The standards focus on the overall public health system, rather than a single
organization. A public health system includes all public, private, and
voluntary entities that contribute to public health activities within a given
area. This assures that the contributions of all entities are recognized in
assessing the provision of essential public health services.
The standards describe an optimal level of performance rather than provide
minimum expectations. This assures that the standards can be used for
continuous quality improvement. The standards can stimulate greater
accomplishment and provide a level to which all public health systems can
aspire to achieve.
The standards are intended to support a process of quality improvement. System
partners should use the assessment process and the performance standards results
as a guide for learning about public health activities throughout the system and
determining how to make improvements.
The use of these instruments should result in numerous benefits, including:
Improves organizational and community communication and collaboration, by
bringing partners to the same table.
Educates participants about public health and the interconnectedness of
activities, which can lead to a higher appreciation and awareness of the many
activities related to improving the public's health.
Strengthens the diverse network of partners within state and local public health
systems, which can lead to more cohesion among partners, better coordination of activities and
resources, and less duplication of services.
Identifies strengths and weaknesses to address in quality improvement efforts. Responses
to the assessment can be tracked over time to identify system improvements or changes.
Provides a benchmark for public health practice improvements, by providing a "gold standard"
to which public health systems can aspire.
National Implementation and Current Status
The state, local, and governance instruments are available nationally for use.
These instruments are available for download as PDF files. Sites submit
responses through a web-based site for data collection and report generation.
The NPHPSP is an activity that may be considered under Focus Area A of the
CDC Grant Program, Public Health Preparedness and Response for Bioterrorism.
The NPHPSP is a valuable tool in identifying areas for system improvement,
strengthening state and local partnerships, and assuring a strong system is
in place that can respond effectively to day-to-day public health issues and
to public health emergencies.
Ideally, state and local public health systems will choose to conduct the
performance assessment through a coordinated statewide approach. NPHPSP
partners are available to support training and technical assistance needs as
states move toward statewide implementation.
This page last reviewed: Feb 20, 2004