Scope of DHHS Responsibilities and Activities

Although activities and responsibilities related to public health are spread throughout the federal government, the committee focused its attention on DHHS and its agencies as the principal federal component of the nation's governmental public health infrastructure and as the principal point of contact for other federal agencies with health or health-related programs and for state and local public health agencies. Reviewed briefly here are DHHS activities related to the previously noted functions of policy making, financing of public health activities, public health protection, collection and dissemination of information about U.S. health and health care delivery systems, capacity building for population health, and direct management of services. Some of these activities are considered in more detail later in this chapter, in conjunction with the discussion of specific concerns regarding weaknesses in the nation's governmental public health infrastructure.

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