Public Health Department Accreditation Background


The 2003 IOM report, The Future of the Public’s Health, called for a national Steering Committee to examine governmental public health departments. By this point in time an increase was noted in obesity rates and other negative effects associated with lack of exercise on one’s physical well-being were becoming more noticeable. This led to increased scrutiny on government agencies that may have been neglecting their duty as part of our nation’s safety net in order to responsibly manage healthcare expenditures.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified accreditation as a key strategy to strengthen public health infrastructure. The consensus was that this should be explored further, so the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened stakeholders in 2004-2005 with nationwide interest in establishing voluntary national standards of excellence among state and local departments.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is making important strides towards strengthening our nation’s public health system by recognizing the value of an individual department’s level of quality care through its “Futures Initiative.” In order to clarify their stance on issues within these groups throughout America, they held discussions about whether or not there needs to be more uniformity between varying levels – namely at both State/Local jurisdictional levels vs National Standards – which led


The goal of the Exploring Accreditation project was to develop recommendations regarding the feasibility and desirability to implement a national public health accreditation program or some other method for achieving a systematic approach for public health improvement. To achieve that goal, it took into account feedback from diverse groups including officials within different sectors such as education, business, law enforcement etc., in order to best design its proposed model which is now being vetted by these same individuals. Based on this feedback changes were made accordingly with winter 2006 coming around quickly leading up until completion of Project’s work at hand!


The Department of Public Health will promote high performance and continuous quality improvement by recognizing their high performers who meet nationally accepted standards for excellence. This initiative is an illustration that the department takes accountability to the public, policymakers, and ultimately themselves as a stronger constituency when it comes to health funding infrastructure. The visibility in this program increases trust among both citizens and government so they can continue providing what’s necessary for our residents’ safety while continuing its mission with credibility from those involved or impacted directly by these issues


PHAB is a 501(c)(3) organization that creates and oversees national public health department accreditation. The process began in May 2007, with work done by the PHAB Assessment Process Workgroup to create it. This group included state and local public health professionals as well as representatives from other national programs like them who wanted this type of program for their area too!


PHAB’s accreditation process has gone through three revisions. The first version released in 2009 consisted of a set of draft standards and measures for public comment, which were then adjusted based on feedback from the community before releasing an updated beta test document with more concrete guidelines as to how PHAB will be implemented in 2010.


The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) recently announced its plans to implement health care quality reform at hospitals across the country by creating national standards for hospital providers. In response, several organizations have taken issue with these new federal requirements because they seem too inflexible and do not take into account their unique organizational needs or challenges faced when providing medical care to underserved populations that lack access to high-quality healthcare facilities near


After a year-long beta test, the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has released their findings on PHAB’s new accreditation process. For 30 public health departments from across America to participate in this trial run of sorts, sites were carefully selected and included large metropolitan areas like San Francisco as well as small rural towns such as Santa Fe. The 148 applicants that applied for participation ranged from major cities with populations exceeding 1 million people all the way down to smaller communities with less than 50 thousand residents according to documents published by PHAB last week.


The first round of testing had some mixed results overall – 19 local health districts successfully earned full or interim certification; eight state agencies received provisional status; three Tribal entities achieved full recognition while six


PHAB has always been aware of the critical role Tribal governments have in informing the development of national public health department accreditation. The unique needs and challenges Tribes face lead to a specific set requirements that are usually not applied for non-Tribal organizations, which led PHAB to understand their need for tailored standards as well as an advisory group who would take into account all relevant points when making decisions about what these new guidelines should entail. To talk with each tribe individually was out of reach so they created this workgroup comprised by both tribal members and outside experts on tribes specifically whose job it is now to make sure every detail will be taken care off while staying true cultural sensitivities that come from living within communities where traditions stretch back hundreds or even thousands


The Tribal Standards Workgroup is an important part of PHAB’s effort to increase the quality and reach out to underserved populations. One way they do this in by adapting public health standards, measurable indicators, guidance for documentation requirements, and other relevant needs specific to tribal governments


Public Health Strategic Partnerships


Development of national public health department accreditation has resulted in the development new partnerships. PHAB continues to develop strategic alliances with organizations and agencies that will strengthen its leadership position as an organization for both professionals, practitioners, educators and other leaders from various levels of government who share a commitment to strengthening public health practice at all levels. Organizations interested in developing a partnership with PHAB should contact President/CEO Paul Kuehnert through email pkuehnert@phaboard.org


Funding and Content Sponsors


PHAB is grateful for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s support throughout these years.


PHAB would like to thank both of our most generous supporters, The Center For Disease Control And Prevention(or CDC), as well as The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation since 2007; all who have helped us provide lifesaving information on how people can protect themselves from HIV infection in their everyday lives!


National Applicant Constituent Associations

PHAB collaborates with organizations that represent public health departments of all shapes and sizes. These include the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), National Association County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) , the National Indian Board for Public Heath, the NALBOH, as well as more recent additions like the Intranet Management Group within PHAB’s advocacy division–the Electronically Engaged Community Resources OnLine Networking System or EMERALON who collaborate on issues such as HIPAA compliancy.


PHAB works closely with national organizations that represent each type of eligible applicant category in public health department administration: state/territory-level governments; county/city entities; federally recognized Tribal Governments


Public Health System Stakeholders

PHAB’s work has been enhanced by a strong variety of leading public health organizations, including the American Public Health Association (APHA), who is headquartered in Washington DC and led to an increase in innovation. The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) was also key for PHAB with its headquarters located near Atlanta Georgia where they ensure safety measures are met across state lines. CSTE provides epidemiological information that helps identify potential threats before it becomes too severe while NEHA specializes on air quality as their main focus so people can breathe easy even when there’s smog outside- all crucial aspects to maintain good health!


PHAB also has strategic partnerships with Special Olympics International and with the STAR Communities.


Academic Stakeholders

PHAB has partnered with several academic programs, institutions and national organizations to support the inclusion of accreditation in student lectures. Among these partners is the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH), Association of Schools and Programs for Public health(ASPPH) National Board of public health Examiners (NBPHE). These partnerships will help students include details about PHPAB’s standards into their presentations when speaking professionally as well as understanding how important it is to be accredited by an organization like ours.


Special Olympics International

PHAB has been working to identify promising practices that have already made a difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. These programs and initiatives, which are now available as short case studies at PHAB’s website, intend for other health departments to consider incorporating these into their work related to health promotion.


Some examples of how this goal is being achieved include Special Olympics International’s grant-funded project through PHAB (Public Health Accreditation Board) aimed at “Identifying Promising Practices from accredited public health agencies that intentionally focused on including individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.”   One example includes an initiative by Kings County Public Health Department where they partnered up with Gilman School District Community Education Program “to establish both literacy skills training and environmental


Career/Student Opportunities


Working at PHAB is a wonderful opportunity to be with small group of professionals who are dedicated in improving and protecting the health. The staff encourage public health professional to check this section often for updates on careers opportunities that they have available!


Full-Time Positions

There are no available positions at this time.

Student Internships and Practicum Experiences

As a learning organization, PHAB offers graduate and doctoral student internships, practicum experiences, and research opportunities. Faculty or students interested in discussing potential opportunities should discuss the interests and needs with PHAB at least one semester prior to the anticipated time of the experience. Contact Jessica Kronstadt, jkronstadt@phaboard.org, to initiate the discussions.

Emails from students inquiring about practicums or internships must include a resume and a cover letter/email explaining your interest in PHAB and your availability.