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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia Southern: Study Examines Factors Associated with Continuous Improvement of Local Boards of Health

The continuous improvement function, one of the six public health governance functions, can be usefully applied to local boards of health (LBoHs) operations that target self-improvements. Dr. Tran Ha Nguyen, currently an assistant professor at Augusta University’s Public Health program, teamed up with her mentors from Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Drs. Shah, Schwartz, and Jones, to determine the engagement level of LBoHs in continuous improvement efforts and to identify factors associated with this function.

Negative binomial regression analysis was performed using data from the 2015 Local Board of Health National Profile Survey. The study showed that there are significant gaps in LBoHs’ participation in the continuous improvement  efforts indicated by the mean scale of 4.97 out of a total possible of 17. Superior performance of other five governance functions had significant positive associations with the continuous improvement domain, which included the governance functions of policy development (IRR = 1.13, p < .001), resource stewardship (IRR = 1.18, p < .001), legal authorization (IRR = 1.09, p < .001, partnership engagement (IRR = 1.12, p < .001), oversight (IRR = 1.29, p < .001). The scale for other characteristics & strengths also showed positive association with continuous improvement (IRR = 1.14, p < .001).

The findings of this study revealed that there was room for improvement in LBoHs’ engagement in the continuous improvement governance function. Several policy and practice implications as well as recommendations for the future research are noted in the article.

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