Eleven Public Health Departments First to Achieve National Accreditation Status

    • March 4, 2013

Alexandria, Va.—The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) today announced it has awarded five-year accreditation to 11 public health departments. The national program, jointly supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s state, tribal, local, and territorial public health departments. The agencies recognized today are the first of hundreds currently preparing to seek national accreditation through PHAB, the independent organization that administers the national public health accreditation program.

“This is a truly historic moment in public health,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “With accreditation, we now have national standards that promote continuous quality improvement for public health and a mechanism for recognizing high performing public health departments. These are the first of many health departments that we look forward to being able to recognize for achieving national standards that foster efficiency and effectiveness, and promote continuous quality improvement.”

“Congratulations to the health departments that have achieved this extraordinary accomplishment,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD. “Just as schools, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies do, health departments can use the accreditation process to improve services and better protect health. We look forward to the day when most people in this country are served by accredited health departments.”

Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. In cities, towns, and states across the nation, health departments provide a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air, and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to health emergencies.

“Health departments are the front lines of prevention, helping Americans lead healthier lives," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO. "We applaud these first health departments to become accredited, as well as the many others across the nation who will soon be meeting these important national standards of quality and performance.”

“The accreditation process helps to ensure that the programs and services that health departments provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of the communities they serve,” said Carol Moehrle, MD, chair of PHAB’s board of directors. “Accreditation is now driving the nation’s public health departments to continuously improve the quality of the services they deliver and to demonstrate their accountability and credibility.”

"Accreditation also promotes consistency in meeting standards. With an ever-increasing number of health departments now applying for and becoming accredited, you will soon be able to receive the same quality of public health services wherever you go in the United States,” Moehrle said.

The national accreditation program for health departments sets standards against which the nation’s more than 3,000 public health agencies can continuously work to improve the quality of their services and performance. A decade in development, the national accreditation program was created collaboratively by hundreds of public health practitioners working at the national, tribal, state, local, and territorial levels. Since the program’s launch in September 2011, more than 125 health departments have applied to PHAB for accreditation, and hundreds of public health practitioners from across the nation have been trained to serve as volunteer peer site visitors for the program.

To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a specific set of quality standards and measures. The peer-review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people in the communities they serve.

Accreditation status was awarded this week to:

  • Comanche County Health Department, Lawton, Okla.
  • Franklin County Health Department, Frankfort, Ky.
  • Livingston County Department of Health, Mt. Morris, N.Y.
  • Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department, Edgewood, Ky.
  • Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane, Wash.
  • The Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, Inc. d/b/a Cabarrus Health Alliance, Kannapolis, N.C.
  • Three Rivers District Health Department, Owenton, Ky.
  • Washington State Department of Health, Olympia, Wash.
  • West Allis Health Department, West Allis, Wis.

For more information, contact Teddi Nicolaus at 703-778-4549, ext. 118, or email tnicolaus@phaboard.org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at www.phaboard.org.


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, measurable, and timely change. For 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. Follow the Foundation on Twitter (www.rwjf.org/twitter) or Facebook (www.rwjf.org/facebook).


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, local, and territorial levels. Learn more about PHAB or sign up for the PHAB e-newsletter by visiting www.phaboard.org.


About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation’s health protection agency.

CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS) coordinates CDC’s accreditation-related activities. OSTLTS was formed to support and improve public health at all levels. The mission of OSTLTS is to advance US public health agency and system performance, capacity, agility, and resilience. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/stltpublichealth/AboutOSTLTS/index.html.

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

"Accreditation helps us be effective, focused and efficient."

—Terry Cline, Oklahoma Health Commissioner