In my current position at the North Central Health District I manage 4 budgets. Two of which are epidemiology specific that we get from the state on a yearly basis and the other two are grant funds we have received from outside sources for work-site wellness and accreditation activities. I also manage staff that are funded through our general funds and have to maintain oversight of those costs separately.
Managing of these budgets has consisted of projecting our costs for the upcoming year, reviewing the budget with the finance office monthly, and making sure I spend down the funding we have received in an appropriate fashion. In my agency, money that is not spent has to be sent back to the funding source and this is highly frowned upon. I have considered myself to be decent at budget management purely based on the fact that I have never over or under spent and my projected costs are usually on target.
(Note: I say “usually on target” only because it is hard to project your costs when you deal with outbreaks. Threats like Ebola and Zika will drastically change your budgets in a blink of an eye. When this happens, like right now with our response to Zika, I meet with our finance office and make sure they are aware of the situation so we can plan accordingly.)
With the major budget cuts to public health across the country in combination with an increase in workload due in part to emerging and reemerging public health threats it is imperative that we, as future public health leaders, understand how to properly manage programs within budget constraints. This should involve knowing how to evaluate programs for effectiveness, advocating for those programs that are essential in order to reduce the burden of disease within our communities, and working with partner agencies to increase public health’s reach.
I have always known that there was more to financial management than just not over or under spending and I am hopeful that this class will assist in helping me understand more about the various topics that are needed to properly manage and evaluate public health programs.
- Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. (2016). Zika. Retrieved from http://www.cidrap.umn.edu: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/infectious-disease-topics/zika
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, August 23). Measles Cases and Outbreaks. Retrieved from cdc.gov: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html
- Medscape. (2014). 2015 Budget Proposal Leaves Gaps in Public Health Funding: Programs Face Cuts. Retrieved from medscape.com: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/832270