Public Health Transformation

Inspiring change for a healthier Commonwealth

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Public Health Transformation​​

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) launched Public Health Transformation (PHT) in January 2019 to provide a breakdown of public health programs into core public​​ health programs including mandated foundational programs like disease investigation and environmental regulations as well as other programs including WIC, HANDS and programs designed to address substance use disorders while other programs are categorized as local health priorities and considered optional for local health departments.

​The PHT framework reclassifies programs into core public health categories including foundational services, most of which are legislatively mandated, along with HANDS, WIC and programs to address community-wide substance use disorders and other programs referred to as local public health priorities – programs local health departments can choose to provide based on need and financial feasibility.


The initial ​​purpose​ for PHT was to establish a framework for local health departments to regain financial stability; however, the urgency to radically overhaul Kentucky's public health system stems from the necessity to improve the overall health of its citizens which consistently ranks among the poorest in the country.

Public​​ Health Transformation Goals

  • Ensure equitable access to public health services across the commonwealth
  • Increase focus on population health
  • Promote fiscal responsibility
  • Strengthen collaboration/partnerships
  • Optimize internal capacity​​

With the passage of House Bill 129, Public Health Transformation became law in 2020 and led to statutory amendments that categorized public health programs (KRS 211.185), emphasized local needs assessments (KRS 211.187) and established a new funding formula for local health departments (KRS 211.186).

Public Health Transformation: Relaunch ​​was initiated in July 2020. Despite the priority placed on current resources during the height of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, KDPH recognized the need to continue efforts toward public health transformation. A PHT project team was named to manage the statewide PHT planning initiative including the revision of KDPH Strategic Plan. Therefore, PHT was used as the primary tool for strategic planning throughout the department and with its partners.

​Under the guidance of the PHT project team with assistance and commitment of Performance Management and Quality Improvement staff, it was determined that PHT would develop and promote initiatives necessary to advance comprehensive overhaul  of the state public health system.

​​Key Initiatives​

  • ​​PHT laws
  • Plan review including the strategic plan
  • Program inventory
  • Budget review
  • Organizational infrastructure
  • Data management

Health equity is integral to PHT and will be taken into consideration through all discussions, actions and recommendations.

Communication is fundamental to maintain transparency at all levels in KDPH and ensure collaborative and cohesive messaging.

PHT supports a culture of change wherein everyone is encouraged to challenge the status quo and reach outside normal program delivery to explore new ways to offer services to improve health outcomes and health access.

For more information, contact Jan Chamness, MPH, PHT Director.​ ​

Kentucky joins 13 other states in developing a national toolkit for public health modernization. KDPH is excited to be part of the new National Academy for State Health Policy project focused on improving cross-sector alignment, coordination and collaboration between public health and health system stakeholders on key public health goals! Learn more at the HASHP website.   ​

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