Public health and public health nurses are our first line of defense when it comes to health. 

Public health is the science of keeping our commu­ni­ties and popula­tions healthy – through disease preven­tion and response, disaster response and emergency prepared­ness, and preventing food and water contamination. 

Public health nurses play a critical role in keeping our commu­ni­ties healthy and safe – from working with moms to ensure babies have a healthy start, to providing immuniza­tions, to disease preven­tion and response.

Public health funding #

Providing public health services is a shared state and local respon­si­bility. Yet new, complex threats and reces­sion budget cuts have made it harder for the public health system to protect and serve Washing­ton’s families and communities. 

An adequate, stable, and long-term funding source for public health has long been a top priority for WSNA because public health and public health nursing are the founda­tion of our health care system. It’s time to rebuild our public health services to keep our commu­ni­ties safe, reduce costs for taxpayers, and protect our local economy.

In the 2017 state legisla­tive session, the legis­la­ture provided a new, one-time $12 million invest­ment in core public health services. This seed money is essen­tial to support Founda­tional Public Health Services, especially as it strug­gles to address the spiking rates of commu­ni­cable disease across our state. While this new invest­ment is helpful, it is a drop in the bucket toward adequately funding Washington’s public health system to ensure it can track, respond to and prevent disease outbreaks.

Washington State Legislature invests a new $12 million in public health #

June 30, 2017 – In its final budget, the Legis­la­ture provided $12 million in new one-time funding for public health – the first new invest­ment in our state’s public health agencies since 2006. Of the $12 million:

  • $10 million is allocated to local health juris­dic­tions to improve their ability to address commu­ni­cable disease monitoring and preven­tion, and chronic disease and injury preven­tion; and,
  • $2 million is appro­pri­ated to the Washington State Depart­ment of Health as part of Founda­tional Public Health Services.

Opioids #

We see the effects of the opioid epidemic in our commu­ni­ties, hospi­tals and clinics.

Federal, state and local govern­ments are responding to the opioid epidemic with initia­tives aimed at preventing opioid abuse, identi­fying effec­tive treat­ments, and preventing deaths from overdoses.

The Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion and the American Nurses Associ­a­tion have both taken action to support these efforts.

WSNA and the Washington State Interagency Opioid Working Plan #

WSNA is among the stake­holders in our state who have expressed a partic­ular interest in and commit­ment to addressing opioid use and overdose preven­tion in support of the WA State Inter­a­gency Opioid Working Plan. This plan is the state’s compre­hen­sive strategy to reduce morbidity and mortality associ­ated with opioids. State govern­ment agencies, local health depart­ments, profes­sional groups and commu­nity organi­za­tions are working together to imple­ment the priority goals, strate­gies and actions contained in the plan.


Current initiatives #

Public Health is Essential

WSNA is a key partner in the Public Health is Essen­tial campaign aimed at educating lawmakers and the public about the critical work of our state and local public health agencies – and why that work needs stable, adequate funding to protect our families and communities.

Founda­tional Public Health Services 

Washington state has led the nation in devel­oping the Founda­tional Public Health Services (FPHS) frame­work which identi­fies core public health services that must be avail­able to every resident of the state, no matter where they live. In addition to the core services, the FPHS model identi­fies a group of cross-cutting capabil­i­ties and infra­struc­ture that must be in place to support the delivery of core services. The FPHS frame­work also recog­nizes that in addition to core services and capabil­i­ties, local health depart­ments must imple­ment other services to meet commu­nity-driven needs.

Addition­ally, the statewide FPHS work has identi­fied modern­iza­tion needs within Washington state’s public health system. This includes the need to stream­line opera­tions across the state to be more effec­tive and efficient by imple­menting shared services – where smaller local health depart­ments might share services or contract with a larger local health depart­ment for some needs.

Resources #