In 2000, the Healthy People 2010 Plan was released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Within that plan were 467 objectives organized into 28 focus areas. Focus area 23 addressed Public Health Infrastructure and a major section of that focus area encompassed the workforce. In twenty years of Healthy People planning, this was the first plan to specifically acknowledge the role of public health laboratories.

To assure that public health laboratories are part of the workforce being assessed within Healthy People 2010, a specific objective was included. This objective, 23-13, reads as follows, “Increase the proportion of Tribal and State public health agencies that provide or assure comprehensive laboratory services to support essential public health services.” Since there was no identifiable data source to measure “comprehensive laboratory services to support essential public health services,” this objective was originally designated as “developmental.” It became a permanent objective in December 2005.

In 2004, APHL conducted the first Comprehensive Laboratory Services Survey (CLSS) of state public health laboratories to establish the baseline data for the Healthy People 2010 Objective 23-13. Healthy People 2020 continues in this tradition with Objective 23-13 renamed to Public Health Infrastructure Objective 11 in Healthy People 2020.

The CLSS addresses state public health laboratories and their respective state agencies only. It provides a baseline to biannually evaluate the level of improvement in the provision of comprehensive laboratory services over the decade ending 2020. 

Work is underway to explore how APHL can modify the survey instrument to assess local and tribal public health laboratories.

Future Plans

APHL is strongly committed to continuing the Comprehensive Laboratory Services Survey to provide the data for this Healthy People objective.

For more information contact, Tina Su, MPH, manager, Quality Systems, 240.485.2729, bertina.su@aphl.org