Public Health Accreditation Board Launches National Accreditation for Health Departments

    • September 14, 2011

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) launched the first national accreditation program for all public health departments today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The goal of PHAB’s accreditation program, initiated and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is to protect and improve Americans’ health by advancing the quality and performance of all of the nation’s public health departments—state, local, territorial and tribal.

“PHAB’s vision for accreditation is to create a reliable national standard for public health,” said Kaye Bender, RN, PhD, FAAN, President and CEO of the Public Health Accreditation Board, which was created in 2007 to create, manage and promote national public health accreditation. “PHAB supports health departments in achieving this standard by recognizing the important work they do and by providing support to improve their services.”

Health departments around the country work every day to combat new public health threats and keep people healthy. For example, public health departments are charged with ensuring that communities have access to safe food and water, clean air and life-saving vaccines. National public health accreditation provides consistent standards so that people in different states and towns have access to the same range and quality of services. It also helps maximize scarce resources by encouraging strategic investments to improve people’s health, demonstrates accountability to residents and elected officials, and spurs innovation as departments work to meet their communities’ needs.

“With shrinking budgets and a growing number of health challenges to address, there has never been a more important time for public health departments to focus on the best and most efficient ways to keep people healthy,” said James Marks, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Group.

“Accreditation is a powerful way to publicly recognize that health departments are doing a good job, while at the same time driving them to continuously improve, “said Judith A. Monroe, MD, FAAFP, Deputy Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Director of the agency’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. “The launch of this program is a major milestone for public health and we applaud the hundreds of national, state, tribal, and local public health practitioners who played a role in its development.”

The launch event today features speakers from PHAB, RWJF and CDC, as well as representatives from health departments that plan to apply for accreditation.

  • James Marks, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Group, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Judith A. Monroe, MD, FAAFP, Director, Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, Deputy Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health Department Applicant Representatives

  • Ron Chapman, MD, MPH, Director and State Public Health Officer, California Department of Public Health
  • JT Petherick, JD, MPH, Health Legislative Officer, Cherokee Nation Health Services (Tahlequah, OK)
  • Torney Smith, MS, Administrator, Spokane Regional Health District (Spokane, WA)

PHAB’s Board of Incorporators

  • Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP, Executive Director, APHA
  • Marie Fallon, EdD, Executive Director, NALBOH
  • Paul Jarris, MD, MBA, Executive Director, ASTHO
  • Robert Pestronk, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO
  • Kaye Bender, RN, PhD, FAAN, President and CEO, Public Health Accreditation Board

To interview participants in today’s event, please contact Becky Wexler or Ariel Surowidjojo at (301) 652-1558.

Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at

About the Public Health Accreditation Board
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body, and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, tribal, state, and local levels. Learn more about PHAB or sign up for the PHAB e-newsletter by visiting

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measureable and timely change. For nearly 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

About CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support
CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS) promotes capacity development and performance improvement to strengthen the national public health system on all levels. The OSTLTS’ mission is rooted in solid values of service and stewardship and focused on providing support to state, tribal, local and territorial health partners. OSTLTS is establishing a systems approach to achieve its goal; an approach that supports integration and collaboration among public health professionals and focuses on translating science to practice.