(PRWEB) June 20, 2016
The Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services (BDHHS) is proud to announce that they have earned Accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), becoming the first Health Department in New Jersey to achieve this prestigious designation. This national accreditation program, which is jointly funded by the CDC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed to improve the public health delivery system through continuous quality improvement to protect the health of the public. BDHHS’s approval is official recognition that the Department meets PHAB’s rigorous standards and has earned a five-year, renewable accreditation.
An extremely high level of performance is required to achieve PHAB accreditation. During the accreditation process, which took two and half years to complete, the Department’s staff members acquired new skillsets, expanded services, and fine-tuned their already high-quality processes to become ever more consistent and effective. The Department also had the unique opportunity to forge valuable synergistic relationships with colleges, hospitals, faith-based organizations, local businesses, and social service agencies. The accreditation process became a catalyst for significant collaborative efforts that truly exemplify how working together results in measureable public health improvements for the community. Two major public health initiatives include:
THE HEALTHY CORNER STORE
BDHHS has been working hard to improve access to healthy food choices for the community. Encouraging corner stores and markets to provide healthier food options such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low sugar drinks has been the goal of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative. The Department implemented the program initially in two locations and has expanded it to five. The healthier options have been greeted with enthusiasm by both the community and store owners.
BLOOMFIELD BIKEABILITY PROJECT
The BDHHS 2013 Community Health Assessment identified a desire to create a bike-friendly community. To accomplish this improvement a policy change was needed to increase bikeable access and physical activity among the population. The Health Department received a grant for a bike study, which led to forming bike lanes throughout major routes around town. Additionally, soliciting feedback from organizations and residents identified the need for safe bike routes and bike racks which helped to secure additional funding to install bike racks at key locations throughout the township.
The Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services is committed to retaining accreditation status by continuing to fulfill the objectives aligned with PHAB standards. Though the approval process is complete, Bloomfield staff members greatly value the relationships that were developed internally and with community organizations and look forward to expanding those partnerships. In fact, BDHHS has engineered a Brand Initiative—ALPHA (Accredited Local Public Health Affiliates). The mission of ALPHA is to help ensure the development of quality and cost-effective public health programs to meet the current and future public health needs of the community. The ALPHA initiative will enable the department to perform joint health projects, partner with health organizations and municipal health departments, assist interested health departments with the accreditation process and provide shared services. BDHHS is enthusiastic about the opportunities that ALPHA and PHAB accreditation provide for the advancement of public health initiatives and outcomes in the greater community.