National Voluntary Accreditation for Public Health Departments
CDC’s Role in Accreditation
CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation co-fund the Public Health Accreditation Board’s (PHAB’s) accreditation activities. CDC also provides in-kind staff time and technical expertise to develop and continuously improve accreditation by contributing to PHAB think tanks and committees and by engaging subject matter experts and programs across CDC.
CSTLTS also supports other national partners—such as the American Public Health Association, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Indian Health Board, National Network of Public Health Institutes, and Public Health Foundation—to prepare health departments for accreditation by providing technical assistance, quality and performance improvement tools and training, and communication about accreditation.
Incentives & Other Support
CDC is uniquely positioned to play a strong role in promoting accreditation through incentives, both financial and nonfinancial. Examples of support and other incentives from CDC include the following:
- The Strong Systems, Stronger Communities (SSSC) initiative provides support to health departments in completing projects to improve their performance, meet national accreditation standards, and promote interconnection across the public health system to improve population health. SSSC is administered in collaboration with national partners (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Indian Health Board) and builds on the success of the former Accreditation Support Initiative (ASI). ASI provided awards to 268 health departments during 2011‒2018 and demonstrated that even small amounts of funding can advance accreditation efforts.
- CDC provides opportunities to use cooperative agreement and grant funding, such as the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, to support accreditation efforts
- CDC notices of funding opportunity Cdc-pdf[PDF – 267 KB] (NOFOs) include standard accreditation-related language, which may 1) ask about accreditation status and 2) allow the use of funds to support accreditation efforts, so long as the use is consistent with the spirit and authority of the NOFO
- CDC’s Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) is a highly competitive, two-year training program providing PHAP associates with hands-on experience in public health settings. Many associates assist their host health department sites with accreditation readiness activities and provide much-needed staff support to these efforts. In addition, the application for prospective PHAP host sites asks whether the health department is accredited through PHAB.
CDC’s Role in Building Strategic or Programmatic Linkages
Considerable work has been done to identify and build connections between PHAB accreditation standards and public health programs, key initiatives, and emerging topics of interest to the public health community. CDC frequently plays a vital role in these explorations by leading the efforts, providing subject matter expertise, or supporting PHAB in its work to explore these topics. In many cases, these efforts have informed updates to the national standards, produced documents that summarize the key linkages, or developed other kinds of resources.
CDC-developed articles and resources highlighting these connections include the following:
Driving Change and Reinforcing Expectations by Linking Accreditation With Programmatic and Strategic PrioritiesExternal
Provides an overview of crosswalks and alignment documents that help to answer questions such as ““How do accreditation standards relate to programmatic work?” and “How does accreditation connect with the many existing and emerging national initiatives or frameworks?”
Community Guide–Public Health Accreditation Board Standards Crosswalk (1.5)External
Helps health departments identify evidence-based interventions from The Community Guide whose implementation could help document conformity with PHAB standards and measures
Public Health Accreditation and Prevention Status Reports (PSR) Crosswalk
Serves as a resource for health departments working to meet national accreditation standards and for departments considering the path to accreditation. The PSRs can play a valuable role in
- Providing and highlighting federal data for consideration in data-driven efforts
- Pinpointing opportunities for action
- Exploring and developing new policies
Accreditation and Emergency Preparedness: Linkages and Opportunities for Leveraging the Connections External
Summarizes the connections identified through a crosswalk between accreditation standards and public health preparedness capabilities
Environmental Health and Accreditation
Two commentaries summarize activities to explore and enhance the key linkages between accreditation and environmental health:
- Public Health Department Accreditation and Environmental Public Health: A Logical Collaboration Cdc-pdf[PDF – 290KB]
- Public Health Department Accreditation and Environmental Public Health: Sustaining the Collaboration Cdc-pdf[PDF – 219KB]