A Consensus-Based Approach to National Public Health Accreditation

An animated participant at a community meeting.

A continual revision process ensures that accreditation standards remain relevant and applicable to public practice health today.

The Issue:

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) is committed to continuous quality improvement of its standards and measures for voluntary national certification of health departments in the United States. It uses a consensus approach that ensures broad involvement of diverse subject matter experts and researchers in order to have standards that are timely and relevant to health departments that serve diverse populations and have varied governance structures. To date some 400 subject matter experts have been involved in developing and revising accreditation standards and measures on programmatic, contextual, and emerging issues.

Six steps comprise the PHAB accreditation improvement processes:

  1. Gather information, allowing stakeholders to submit recommendations for changes or additions.
  2. Develop a first draft of the revision
  3. Vet for the draft 30 days.
  4. Submit a second draft to an advisory committee.
  5. Submit a third draft to the PHAB board.
  6. Adopt the revised standards and measures and make them available no less than six months prior to implementation.


The PHAB engages the public health community to meet its goal of quality improvement of health departments to improve the nation’s health.