This article assesses the extent to which the U.S. population in 1995 was being effectively served by public health's three core functions (assessment, policy development, and assurance). A random sample of local health departments (LHDs) stratified by population size and type of jurisdiction was asked to provide their opinion of, as well as indicate performance on 20 core function-related measures of local public health practice. The article concludes that, in 1995, the nation fell far short of its year 2000 national objective, which called for 90 percent of the population to be served by an LHD effectively carrying out public health's core functions. Considerable capacity building and performance improvement is needed within the public health system. (C) Aspen Publishers, Inc.
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