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Regionalization of Health and Emergency Management Services

This is a good example of a public health system taking a regional approach.

I am a big believer in state agencies taking a “regional approach” to working with counties and cities. The Washington State Department of Health has started that process; see State Department of Health Regional Offices.

“Locals” can sometimes be suspect about regional offices. Some fear that they will make more demands on them versus being helpful. Occasionally, that stems from what previous relationships have been in the past and what the trust level is between the state agency and locals.

The key is for the mindset of regional offices to be “support” and meeting the needs of the supported jurisdiction in how they want to be supported. A “my way or the highway” attitude will sour any future interactions. It has to be a “Burger King — Have it your way!” mentality. A customization of support to meet the desires of the agency or jurisdiction being supported.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.