The public health world just reached a historic milestone.

The Public Health Accreditation Board – a program founded in 2011 to set performance standards for the more than 3,000 U.S. public health departments – announced today five-year accreditations for 11 public health departments. These certifications are the first ever named by the board, which now ensures through rigorous analysis that practicing health departments offer quality services.

APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, ASTHO Executive Director Paul Jarris

Eleven U.S. health departments were the first ever to earn certifications from the Public Health Accreditation Board, which ensures that practicing health departments offer quality services. APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, right, and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Executive Director Paul Jarris, MD, spoke here during the board’s launch in 2011. Photo by APHA

“This is a breakthrough moment for the health of all Americans,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “By having an evidenced-based process that allows public health agencies to document their high level of quality is indeed a step forward. The agencies accredited today are on the cutting edge of performance excellence and continued quality improvement of public health services.”

With collaborative support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the board honored with accreditation status:

  • the Comanche County Health Department (Okla.);
  • the Franklin County Health Department (Ky.);
  • the Livingston County Health Department (N.Y.);
  • the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department (Ky.);
  • the Oklahoma City-County Health Department;
  • the Oklahoma State Department of Health;
  • the Spokane Regional Health District (Wash.);
  • the Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, Inc. d/b/a Cabarrus Health Alliance (N.C.);
  • the Three Rivers District Health Department (Ky.);
  • the Washington State Department of Health; and
  • the West Allis Health Department (Wis.).

According to PHAB online, accreditation “documents the capacity of the public health department to deliver the three core functions of public health and the Ten Essential Public Health Services.”

CDC Director Tom Frieden added, “Just as schools, hospitals and law enforcement agencies do, health departments can use the accreditation process to improve services and better protect health. We look forward to the day when most people in this country are served by accredited health departments.”