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J Community Health. 2008 Dec;33(6):407-16. doi: 10.1007/s10900-008-9116-6.

Using a community-based participatory research approach to improve the performance capacity of local health departments: the Kansas Immunization Technology Project.

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  • 1Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS 67214, USA.



Building the capacity of local health departments (LHDs) in the use of health data is critical. Unlike community-based health agencies or private healthcare providers, LHDs serve as public health officials for their communities. Thus, LHDs' ability to use technology, electronically access and distribute up-to-date health information, and to measure population-based health outcomes for their communities is crucial.


Using feedback obtained from various sources, groundwork efforts in Kansas indicated that few LHDs had the skills to utilize and interpret immunization data in a way that would allow them to effectively assess, screen, treat, and monitor infectious diseases in their communities. In response to the need for a well-trained LHD workforce, and using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, team members developed and delivered training to enhance immunization data skills among LHDs. The goal of the training was to improve LHDs' capacity to identify, obtain, analyze and present immunization data.


Training was provided to LHD staff representing 46 counties. Satisfaction survey results indicated the overwhelming majority of participants found the training beneficial. Results indicated that approximately 93% acquired new knowledge and skills they could apply to their jobs.


The project renders a model for providing ongoing trainings in stepwise fashion to a particular workforce. The willingness of the project partners to be innovative and inclusive in addressing the training needs of the state's public health professionals is noted. Similar training should be considered for other public health programmatic areas.

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