State, local and territorial public health laboratories (PHLs) play an indispensable role in protecting the health of Americans from new, emerging, and existing health threats by conducting laboratory testing and providing other science-based services. PHLs closely integrate with other functional elements of public health, especially epidemiology. Public health professionals and policy makers use information from PHLs on a daily basis to identify and prioritize population health threats and develop and implement effective interventions. In order to fulfill their critical public health mission, PHLs must be capable of, and effective at, detecting and responding to a myriad of threats across a broad and ever expanding spectrum of health domains, including infectious and chronic diseases, chemical and radiological exposure, newborn disease, foodborne and waterborne diseases, as well as public health emergencies due to natural disasters or intentional releases of biological, chemical or radiological agents.
The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) represents the state, local and territorial Public Health Labs (PHLs). Throughout its history, APHL has worked in partnership with CDC to support, facilitate and coordinate the activities and functions of PHLs collectively so that national, state, local and territorial public health issues can be addressed with sound scientific data. This project aims to support efforts that will enhance the capabilities and increase capacities of PHLs by strengthening (1) Science, Management and Operations; (2) Policy, Partnership and Communication; (3) Training and Capacity building; and, (4) Laboratory Quality, Safety and Informatics for Public Health Testing Service, Surveillance and Response. These strategies will be implemented through the work within nine focus areas, which reflect the broad scope of work that is done by the PHLs. Those areas are: A. Foundational Leadership and Support, B. Environmental Health, C. Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmentally Transmitted Diseases, D. Infectious Diseases, E. Informatics, F. Newborn Screening and Genetics, G. Preparedness and Response, H. Quality and Safety Systems and I. Workforce Development.
APHL will work collaboratively with CDC to sustain current programs and develop new programs and activities that lead to improved public health laboratory testing and enhanced integration of public health laboratory activities within the public health system. Furthermore, APHL will actively promote the development of good practices within PHLs and facilitate the transfer of emerging technologies to its members. Finally, APHL will foster open and transparent communications among its members, with CDC and other partners and public health stakeholders to inform all parties of the challenges and issues facing PHLs so that they may be addressed in a manner that enhances the capabilities and capacities of PHLs.