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National Voluntary Accreditation for Public Health Departments

Benefits and Impacts of Accreditation

Many public service and health-related entities—such as hospitals, schools, and universities—have accreditation programs; however, until recently, there was no national accreditation program for public health departments. Accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) signifies that a health department is meeting national standards for ensuring that essential public health services are provided in the community.

Health departments report* that accreditation helps them

  • Better identify their strengths and weaknesses
  • Document their capacity to deliver the core functions and 10 Essential Public Health Services
  • Promote transparency
  • Improve their management processes
  • Stimulate quality improvement and performance management
  • Increase their accountability to community members, stakeholders, and policy makers
  • Improve their communication with the governing entity/board of health
  • Be more competitive in funding opportunities

 * From PHAB annual evaluation data, 2016

The resources below provide more information about the benefits and impact of accreditation.

Evaluating the Impact of National Public Health Department Accreditation—United States, 2016 – A report in the August 12, 2016, MMWR issue describes how PHAB accreditation is bringing far-reaching benefits to health departments and the communities they serve. Accredited sites surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that accreditation yielded benefits, including stimulating quality and performance improvement (98%), creating greater accountability and transparency (92%), and improving management processes (90%). 

PHAB website and “Accreditation Works!” storiesPHAB’s website provides information about evaluation results, as well as a new series featuring stories from the field and tangible benefits health departments experienced. The site also includes a short PHAB-produced video highlighting the benefits of accreditation, including testimonials from health department leaders and remarks from CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. 

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: Transforming Public Health Practice Through Accreditation – This 20th anniversary edition (January/February 2014) highlights the emerging evidence base around public health department accreditation through research studies, commentaries, and case reports.

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  • Page last reviewed: August 22, 2016
  • Page last updated: August 22, 2016
  • Content source:
    • Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support