Lead States in Public Health Quality Improvement (originally called the Multistate Learning Collaborative)

A collaborative of states that were implementing performance assessment or accreditation of local public health departments

Dates of Program: October 2006 December 2011

Description: Seventeen states with experience in public health assessment, accreditation and quality improvement continued this work and shared their experiences with other states through three phases of the Multistate Learning Collaborative (MLC). In 2008, the program was renamed Lead States in Public Health Quality Improvement.

The program informed and accelerated the development of accreditation for state and local public health departments and helped make quality improvement a key part of public health.

Key Results and Evaluation Findings:

  • MLC provided a foundation for the spread of quality improvement (QI) in public health. During the three phases of MLC, 17 states participated and completed 171 QI projects and established ways to incorporate QI into the processes, functions, and outcomes of health departments.

“MLC helped the participating states create a culture that supports QI.”—Sarah Gillen, MPH, Director, MLC

  • In the final phase of MLC, the 16 participating states established 38 mini-collaboratives, with 268 local health departments participating. Approximately 27 local health departments participated in more than one QI project or focused on more than one target area.
  • MLC informed public health accreditation and the development of the Public Health Accreditation Board.

“Members of MLC participated in all of the Public Health Accreditation Board's workgroups and informed every aspect of the board’s work.”—Pamela G. Russo, MD, MPH, a senior program officer on RWJF's Public Health Team

  • Participating states advanced policy, created infrastructure, and obtained resources to institutionalize QI in public health.

The MLC community of practice “is continuing to grow, and to advance and shape national and state policy, and support sustainable change.”—Jennifer McKeever, LCSW, MPH, co-director, MLC-3