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Public Health Accreditation Board's Rigorous National Standards Continue to Strengthen Health Departments to Better Serve their Communities

The number of public health departments around the nation that have demonstrated their ability to meet rigorous national standards of performance continues to climb. Today, the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) announced it has awarded national initial accreditation status to 11 local governmental public health departments. With this week's accreditation decisions, tens of thousands more people can be assured that the programs and services they receive from their health departments are as responsive as possible to the needs of their communities.

PHAB, the nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that administers the national public health accreditation program, aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and transforming the quality and performance of governmental public health agencies in the U.S. and abroad. More than 268 health departments across the United States have achieved accreditation through PHAB since the organization launched in 2011 with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"The value of becoming a PHAB-accredited health department extends far beyond the interior walls of the health department," said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. "People living and working in the communities served by these health departments can be assured that their health department is strong and has the capacity to protect and promote their health. Just going through the accreditation process itself helps health departments pinpoint the areas that are critical to improving the work they do for their communities."

To receive national initial accreditation through PHAB, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of public health quality standards and measures. Nearly all states now have at least one PHAB-accredited health department (state, local, and/or Tribal) within their borders. Some states, such as Ohio, boast several dozen. This week's initial accreditation decisions add three more local health departments to Ohio's accreditation map, bringing the total number of PHAB-accredited health departments in Ohio to 33, which includes the state health department and 32 local health departments. Among them is the newly accredited Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Parma, Ohio.

"The accreditation process has been nothing short of transformational for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health," said Health Commissioner Terry Allan, MPH. "Staff embraced the endeavor and through our collective work, we have substantially advanced a culture of quality and accountability. PHAB accreditation is a badge of honor for all of us. I recall vividly, the words of LeBron James, when the Cleveland Cavs won the NBA championship for the first time in 2016. In that poignant moment, the basketball legend said 'Nothing is given, everything is earned.' In that wisdom, we're very proud to stand among the PHAB-accredited health departments in the nation."

In neighboring Pennsylvania, the Chester County Health Department in West Chester this week became Pennsylvania's sixth health department to achieve accreditation through PHAB. Chester County Health Department Director Jeanne E. Casner, MPH, PMP, said being a nationally accredited health department is a "very important milestone" as the agency expands its mission to include providing public health leadership focused on entire communities such that everyone may grow, live, and work in healthy and safe environments.

"The accreditation process has validated our strengths and identified meaningful opportunities for improvement," Casner said. "It has reinforced that a strong public health infrastructure is critical to the health of Chester County even more so with the ever-changing landscape of public health. We have already strengthened our internal processes and have committed to continuous quality improvement that seeks to have an impact on health outcomes and reinforce our relationships with community partners. Chester County is proud to have an accredited health department to further demonstrate our commitment to improve service, value and accountability, ensuring Chester County remains a great place to live and a healthy county."

Reinforcing the long-term value of national public health department accreditation, six health departments successfully achieved national reaccreditation through PHAB this week, thereby extending their accreditation status for another five years. Among them is the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), which serves a population of 2.7 million people.

"We are pleased and excited to be recognized again for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement," said CDPH Acting Commissioner Allison Arwady, MD. "The reaccreditation process helped us to ensure that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of our community. With reaccreditation, the Chicago Department of Public Health is demonstrating ongoing accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and partner organizations with which we work."

Across the nation, public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. 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.

National initial accreditation was awarded June 11, 2019 to:

  • Champaign Health District, Urbana, Ohio
  • Chester County Health Department, West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Coos Health & Wellness, Coos Bay, Oregon
  • Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Parma, Ohio
  • Goodhue County Health and Human Services, Red Wing, Minnesota
  • Lane County Public Health, Eugene, Oregon
  • Merced County Department of Public Health, Merced, California
  • Montgomery County Health Department, Crawfordsville, Indiana
  • Portage County Combined General Health District, Ravenna, Ohio
  • Portage County Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
  • Wedco District Health Department, Cynthiana, Kentucky

National reaccreditation was awarded June 11, 2019 to:

  • Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago, Illinois
  • Polk County Health Department, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin
  • The Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, Inc. d/b/a Cabarrus Health Alliance, Kannapolis, North Carolina
  • Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane, Washington
  • Summit County Combined General Health District, Akron, Ohio
  • Three Rivers District Health Department, Owenton, Kentucky

For more information, contact PHAB Communications Manager Teddi Nicolaus at (703) 778-4549, ext. 118, or email tnicolaus(at)phaboard(dot)org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at Subscribe to PHAB's e-newsletter by clicking here.

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, state, local, Tribal, and territorial levels. For more information, contact Teddi Nicolaus at (703) 778-4549 ext. 118, or email tnicolaus(at)phaboard(dot)org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at, and by signing up for the PHAB e-newsletter.

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