IDHW Division of Public Health among 11 awarded national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board

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We’re pleased and excited to be recognized for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement in public health. The accreditation process helps to ensure that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of all Idaho residents. With accreditation, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s Division of Public Health continues to promote and protect the health and safety of all Idahoans — thanks to our fantastic IDHW employees, our community partners, our state legislators and citizens across the state for helping achieve this milestone!

PHABAlexandria, VA, June 14, 2017 — A national program to improve and protect the health of the public continued its nationwide expansion this week as 11 more governmental public health departments — including the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s Division of Public Health — achieved five-year accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The decisions bring another 19.7 million people into a rapidly growing network of communities served by health departments that meet rigorous national standards for delivering quality programs and services. 

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 ultimately transforming the quality and performance of the nation’s state, Tribal, local, and territorial public health departments. Launched in 2011 with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PHAB’s accreditation program has quickly grown to bring the benefits of national accreditation to 198 million people, or 64 percent of the U.S. population.
“All of the 11 health departments accredited this quarter are to be commended for demonstrating a consistent and continued commitment to improving public health in their communities,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We join with these health departments in celebrating the fine work that they do to make our communities healthier.”

Demonstrating the capacity to provide the highest quality of services to the 4.8 million people it serves, the Alabama Department of Public Health this week became one of 26 state health departments to achieve PHAB accreditation. Alabama State Health Officer Thomas Miller, MD, expressed pride in the health department’s accomplishment.

“We sought accreditation to measure our performance against nationally recognized, practice-focused, and evidence-based standards,” Dr. Miller said. “We engaged our community partners and stakeholders to assess and develop a strategic plan and a community health improvement plan. We received valuable feedback from the Public Health Accreditation Board that will strengthen the role of public health as we work to improve and protect the health of our citizens. We are proud of this achievement, but accreditation is not the end. Public health accreditation means we have an ongoing commitment to performance management and quality improvement to improve the health of our state in the years to come.”

Seven local health departments also achieved PHAB accreditation this week. Among them is Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“We had a very good and highly respected department before we started this journey toward accreditation, but the process has brought us to a greater level of excellence,” said Interim Health Director Charlotte Burke, MS, RD. “From the beginning, we kept the goal of improving the public’s health in the forefront. This singular focus helped ensure continued employee buy-in for a process that often required more of their time and frequently took them out of their comfort zone. The result, however, is that we have improved the way in which we do our business of serving our public. It’s gratifying to watch these improvements in the quality of our services become our new standard and part of our department’s culture. The future of public health is very exciting.”

To receive accreditation, 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. Hundreds of health departments are currently preparing to seek national accreditation through the program.

National accreditation status was awarded June 6, 2017 to:
• Alabama Department of Public Health, Montgomery, Alabama
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Public Health, Boise, Idaho
• Lewis and Clark Public Health, Helena, Montana
• Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, Lincoln, Nebraska
• Linn County Department of Health Services, Albany, Oregon
• Maryland Department of Health, Baltimore, Maryland
• New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey
• Olmsted County Public Health Services, Rochester, Minnesota
• Portsmouth Health District, Portsmouth, Virginia
• Sauk County Health Department, Baraboo, Wisconsin
• Stark County Health Department, Canton, Ohio

Public health departments are on the front lines of improving and protecting the health and well-being of people and communities. Across the nation, health departments provide 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 public health emergencies.

For more information, contact Teddi Nicolaus at (703) 778-4549 ext. 118, or email tnicolaus@phaboard.org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at http://www.phaboard.org, and by signing up for the PHAB e-newsletter.

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