Recommendations: What Should a National Public Health Accreditation System Look Like?

Developing recommendations for a national public health accreditation system to build state and local public health agency capacity

From June 2005 through December 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) co-sponsored Exploring Accreditation. The project considered whether and how a voluntary national accreditation program for state, local, territorial and tribal public health departments could advance quality and performance, and developed a model for such a program.

Exploring Accreditation, jointly managed by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) used a consensus-building process that engaged representatives of key national public health organizations and also of public health entities at many levels of government. More than 650 public health professionals provided comments on the proposed model developed by a 25-member steering committee and its workgroups.

Key Results:

  • The Exploring Accreditation steering committee concluded that a voluntary national public health accreditation program for state, local, territorial and tribal public health departments was both desirable and feasible.
  • Exploring Accreditation: Final Recommendations for a Voluntary National Accreditation Program for State & Local Public Health Departments, released in the winter of 2006–07, provided a blueprint for developing an accreditation program.
  • The Public Health Accreditation Board, incorporated in May 2007 and initially guided by the Exploring Accreditation Planning Committee, began to develop the voluntary national public health accreditation program, which is scheduled to launch in 2011. RWJF and CDC are co-funding the board.