Advancing Accreditation in Large Jurisdictions

Ten big states and cities are accelerating their progress toward public health accreditation for their health departments

Dates of Program: October 2012 through June 2015

Description: Because big states and cities face accreditation challenges that smaller local health departments do not face, RWJF started Advancing Accreditation in Large Jurisdictions.

The program is helping 10 big (by population) health departments accelerate their progress toward accreditation. Four health departments in big states (California, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey) and six in big county/cities (Alameda, [(Oakland, Calif.], Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Maricopa [Phoenix], and Philadelphia) by providing funding and targeted technical assistance to accelerate their accreditation work so they can complete the steps for voluntary accreditation laid out by the Public Health Accreditation Board, which was established with support from RWJF and the CDC. They also are developing tools for accreditation that other states and cities can follow.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) provide technical assistance to the participating states and cities, respectively, and facilitate the sharing of accreditation knowledge and best practices. ASTHO represents state and territorial health departments and NACCHO represents local health departments.

“They wouldn’t have been on the same timeline without this,” says RWJF Senior Program Officer Pamela Russo, MD, MPH. “It’s partly the funding, partly the sense they have peers that they can reach out to and exchange their experiences with, and in large part the technical support. Mainly, it’s knowing they have a timeline with milestones they are trying to meet.”

Key Results to Date

  • As of April 2014, all four states—California, Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois—have completed the first step in the accreditation process: submitting a Statement of Intent to apply for accreditation. California and Florida have also submitted applications and documentation, and Florida has had a site visit for its state health office.

  • Participating health departments are also sharing their experiences and resources with each other. For example, the Florida Department of Health shared its instructions for putting documentation together; and the the Houston Department of Health and Human Services has shared templates and tip sheets on producing accreditation-ready documents and a Web-based game for training staff in how to do this.

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10 big state and county/city health depts. accelerate their public health accreditation process