The National Profile of Local Health Departments study is designed to develop a comprehensive and accurate description of local health department infrastructure and practice. For the National Profile of Local Health Departments study, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) distributes an extensive questionnaire to every local health department (LHD) in the U.S. Hawaii and Rhode Island were excluded from the study, because state health departments operate on behalf of local public health and have no sub-state units. LHD is defined as “an administrative or service unit of local or state government concerned with health, and carrying some responsibility for the health of a jurisdiction smaller than the state.” Community-based organizations (CBOs) include local health departments, tribal health services, nongovernmental organizations, and multiple State agencies.
The 2008 study is the fifth in the Profile series. Prior studies were conducted in 1989-90, 1992-93, 1996-97, and 2005. The next Profile survey will be fielded in 2010. Beginning with the 2005 Profile, the study instrument included a core set of questions that was administered to every LHD and three modules, each of which was administered to stratified random samples of LHDs. Samples for the modules were stratified by population size served by the LHD. The question used to obtain the estimates for this objective is in the core questionnaire. Since 2005, the Profile has been administered in a web-based format, with a link to each LHD’s on-line questionnaire distributed via e-mail. The 2008 Profile’s survey instrument was fielded for about six months and 2,332 LHDs responded with an 83.4 percent response rate.