Along with the development of a national voluntary accreditation program for public health departments that holds quality improvement as its core goal, the application of quality improvement in public health has been gaining momentum. The 16 states participating in the Multi-State Learning Collaborative: Lead States in Public Health Quality Improvement (MLC) represent best practices in these activities.
The MLC brings together partnerships in 16 U.S. states to prepare for accreditation and implement quality improvement practices. The grantee states are managing quality improvement teams of local and state health department representatives and other partners. These teams, called mini collaboratives, are working collectively to implement quality improvement techniques to make measurable change on identified public health issues, or target areas. The work of the MLC seems to show that state and local health departments and their key partners, have the leadership, will and interest to apply quality improvement tools and methods to solving public health problems, and to raising the standard of public health practice. This article describes the history, current status and lessons learned from the work of the MLC.