Oregon: Achieving National Public Health Accreditation

The shared mission of state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments is to protect the health of people and communities. Being accredited means that a health department meets national public health standards and ensures essential public health services are provided to the communities within its service area. Health department accreditation is voluntary and granted by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). Achieving accreditation is a significant accomplishment, reflecting hard work and dedication by all those involved in the multistep process. In 2014, the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division (OHA/PHD) used a portion of its Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funding to bring people together to prepare and apply for accreditation.

When applying for accreditation from PHAB, a health department must prepare many documents that illustrate how it meets the 32 national standards. These documents include a state or community health assessment—an analysis of state residents’ health and greatest health needs. This assessment helps the state or community create a health improvement plan. These plans describe the area’s most impactful and disconcerting health problems and the organizations that will work together to address them. The health department’s strategic plan highlights internal priorities, including how state and local health departments need to respond collectively to their respective priorities.

As part of the accreditation process, OHA/PHD received a site visit from a PHAB team to see how it operates. The accreditation committee then reviewed the site visit report and determined that OHA/PHD’s high-quality public health services and performance earned the “accredited” status.
As of September 2016, OHD/PHD and four local health departments had been accredited in recognition of their high level of performance and commitment to serving the citizens of Oregon. These health departments—and the people they serve—now benefit from having increased accountability, better communication and coordination between other health agencies and the community, and additional opportunities to obtain resources.

Story year: 2015

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Oregon used PHHS Block Grant funding to bring people together to prepare and apply for accreditation.

Page last reviewed: April 17, 2018