Improving our understanding of how the public health system should be organized is important, because the system's organizational structure makes a significant difference to the public's health. How the system is structured influences a practitioner's ability to respond and the system's capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. In view of the scarce resources society is willing to expend for public health, it is essential to have a structure in place that most appropriately and efficiently allocates those resources. The articles in this issue offer considerable insight from a European context, that deserves attention from US public health practitioners, advocates, and policy makers.

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