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A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services

My 14-year-old daughter recently discovered an old photo album (with actual photos in it! Not digital ones!) of mine from my carefree youth. She laughed way too hard at our late 90’s, early 00’s fashion choices; there was a lot of white eyeliner and pleather happening. 

A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services Example mySidewalk Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services | Bad FashionCaption: Some of my more questionable hair and fashion decisions in my youth, pre glow up. Yes, that is a mullet in Kindergarten.

She looked at me and said, “wow, you’ve had a real glow up.” 

I nodded, assuming that was a good thing, and then immediately turned to Urban Dictionary to confirm. 

mySidewalk A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services | Glow Up

But an even more important glow up than my disastrous attempt at the “Rachel haircut,” is the recent reveal of the revamped Essential Public Health Services (EPHS). The EPHS are the core functions of a solid Public Health system. They are the services that make Public Health what it is– the special magic. And it was way overdue for a makeover. 

Much like a 90’s RomCom where the nerd takes off her glasses, and the jock falls in love with her, I was instantly smitten with the new EPHS.

I was even more excited when I realized that mySidewalk was perfectly aligned to help Health Departments keep up with the new changes in the field.

10 Essential Public Health Services – What’s Changed?

Here’s what the new 2020 Essential Public Health Services (EPHS) look like: 

mySidewalk A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services
Image courtesy of EPHS Toolkit 2020

You can get all the details and PDF downloads here. You will notice a lot of familiar concepts, and some new ones too. Generally, the new EPHS fosters a revived sense of innovation and accessibility. It also pushes health to adapt to the changing modes of communication.

I’ve hand-picked three EPHS that are mission-critical. Keep reading to see how mySidewalk can support you as you address these EPHS, and help further your cause as a Public Health leader. 

The 10 Essential Public Health Services Made Easier 

A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services Infographic
*Click here to image to save as PDF

Right now, “equity” is a hot topic, and I was really excited to see the new EPHS name equity as a central tenet of the field. It’s tempting, though, to want to make everything a separate “equity” project, but the real challenge is keeping equity at the center. As I said in my Medium article, There should be no such thing as an “Equity Dashboard”:  

I appreciate the synchronized focus on racism, I hope that justice demands aren’t a one-time-a-year special edition or a singular corporate statement. I hope that these efforts are sustained and engrained, and they start with a level-set discussion of what equity is.

Equity is not a verb; it is a state. It is something we achieve through equitable actions, be they internal decisions or external policies. Equity is the absence of significant demographic predictors of a hoped-for outcome where those demographic characteristics have no logical bearing on the result’s likelihood.

At mySidewalk, we keep equity at the center by ensuring that our data library easily enables our partners to analyze social and economic conditions by race, ethnicity, citizenship status, and other demographic predictors of outcomes.

In other words, instead of having to download multiple datasets and merge them, we’ve streamlined the process by creating unique data layers that are pre-analyzed by demographics. Our templates are also based on story framing best practices to ensure effective communication of complex issues such as structural racism. 

Our goal is to continually find new ways to help you infuse equity into every part of your Public Health work.

10 Essential Services: Assessment Made Easier

Essential Service #1 charges Public Health to understand health in their “jurisdiction by collecting, monitoring, and analyzing data on health factors” and to “identify threats, patterns, and emerging issues, with a particular emphasis on disproportionately affected populations.” 

A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services Example | Glow Up
Using data to determine the root causes of health disparities and inequalities is mySidewalk’s wheelhouse. We leverage over 3,500 data indicators on community well-being across multiple disciplines. We know firsthand that urban planning, economic development, and public safety are critical foundations for health equity. 

This best-in-class data library helps you assess the true needs of the people you serve and make data-driven decisions. And our newest addition, Seek, makes it easier than ever. Seek is a data search system that busts down barriers to knowledge. 

Seek lets you quickly search 40 of the most critical data sources in the U.S. in one place. Step 1. Type in your geography and search by dataset or keyword. Step 2. Make your selection and download your data. That’s it – you get instant data for your area of interest in 20 second flat. See how it works in the video below, or get the details.


Seek can save you precious time and resources acquiring, processing, and analyzing your assessment data. 

10 Essential Services: Assurance Made Easier

“A culture of quality” is the bedrock of Essential Service #9. I would go one step further to propose that a culture of quality is a culture of transparency and accountability.|

Assurance is about more than just evaluation. It’s about communicating the importance of data-informed decision making and clearly laying out goals and plans to inspire community change. 

The integration of research and storytelling, using both qualitative and quantitative data, is at the heart of the mySidewalk Public Health solutions for Community Health Assessments (CHA) and Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIP). Departments across the country have partnered with mySidewalk to humanize their data and drive engagement with their work. 

Our digital CHA and CHIP dashboards combine rich media and data visualizations in a mobile-optimized and ADA accessible format. Our CHIP & CHA templates are also based on social marketing best practices and align with accreditation expectations.

In fact, we recently revamped the CHIP template with our Health Department friends' help, prioritizing performance improvement. Now the relationship between activities and outcomes is even more evident. 

Here's an example of what these dashboards look like: 

A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services Example

The GIF above shows the Clay County Florida mySidewalk CHIP Dashboard

10 Essential Services: Policy Development Made Easier

Perhaps no EPHS speaks to my policy-loving heart more than Essential Services #3 and #4. Without community buy-in and partnership with elected officials, sustainable Public Health improvement is impossible. 

The new EPHS pushes the field to leverage appropriate communication channels and equip community leaders with accurate and relevant information to inform policy development. This task requires more than a singular dashboard or report. It demands that Public Health becomes a beacon of truth and a supplier of knowledge.

That goal is why we created mySidewalk Press. Press is an on-demand insight generator that allows your residents to personalize data stories for their own neighborhood. Simply put, it's a critical tool for getting information in the hands of those who need it. 

While you control the narrative, they control the scope. Instead of spending weeks making one dashboard, Press allows stories to scale.

Hundreds of dashboards are generated each day with mySidewalk Press technology, with no requirement for advanced training or prior data visualization experience.

See how Blue Shield of California leverages Press to innovate health.

A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services Example | Blue Shield Press

See how Enterprise Community Partners uses Press to power Opportunity 360

A Quick Guide to the (New) 10 Essential Public Health Services Example |Opportunity360

Press was named after the printing press, a revolution that made information available to all–because we believe data should be democratized.

Get the Support You Need

Getting the community buy-in and stakeholder support you need to develop and implement policy isn’t easy. Our goal is to give you all the data and tools you need to assess your community’s needs, assure the impact of your initiatives, and create policies that matter. 

We believe you shouldn’t have to spend hours cobbling together outdated data sets or creating PDFs that most residents (sadly) won’t read. Your work is too important for that. We believe it can be better, and we’re here to help.

Thank you for the work you do to keep our communities safe-we are grateful for the opportunity to learn from you. And to the team that worked so hard on the new EPHS-we love this fresh glow up. Thank you for providing an excellent north star for Public Health.

Keep the conversation going, learn more:  

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