Special Supplement to the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice Highlights Impact of the Public Health Accreditation Board’s National Accreditation Program

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Supplement Offered With Free Access on JPHMP Website

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The acceptance and realization of accreditation in the last decade due to the work of the Public Health Accreditation Board is impressive. This issue of the Journal documents this progress and its impact.” -- Lloyd F. Novick, MD, MPH

As the number of nationally accredited governmental public health departments increases, so too does the evidence base related to the impact of the Public Health Accreditation Board’s (PHAB) national accreditation program on public health. With nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population now served by a nationally accredited health department, the breadth of accreditation’s impact is captured in a special supplement to the May/June 2018 edition of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. Thanks in part to funding provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the online edition of the special supplement is being offered with free access – in advance of the print edition -- on the Journal’s website.

PHAB, the non-profit, non-governmental organization that administers the national public health accreditation program, aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and ultimately transforming the quality and performance of the nation’s state, Tribal, local, and territorial public health departments.

“The influence of accreditation on public health has been transformative,” said Lloyd F. Novick, MD, MPH, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. “The acceptance and realization of accreditation in the last decade due to the work of the Public Health Accreditation Board is impressive. This issue of the Journal documents this progress and its impact.”

PHAB’s accreditation program, launched in 2011 with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has grown to bring the benefits of national accreditation to more than 220 state, Tribal, and local public health departments and the communities they serve. While the cornerstone of PHAB’s accreditation program is quality improvement and performance management, accredited health departments report experiencing a range of additional positive benefits as a result of going through the accreditation process.

“From its founding more than 10 years ago, PHAB has been committed to using and promoting research,” said PHAB Director of Research and Evaluation Jessica Kronstadt, MPP. “This supplement marks an important contribution to the evidence base about the impact of accreditation. It also includes accounts directly from health departments about how their agencies have changed because of accreditation,” added Kronstadt, who served as a guest editor of the supplement. Other guest editors include PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN; and PHAB Immediate Past Board Chair Leslie Beitsch, MD, JD.

The supplement is organized into four sections, each featuring scientific articles, commentaries, and case studies that share the experiences of accredited health departments in the areas of quality improvement and performance management, partnerships, administration and management, and future directions. Unlike past special issues that focused on the background and early evolution of accreditation, the 2018 issue includes analyses of several data sources to highlight differences between accredited and non-accredited health departments. For example, an analysis of data from 2010-2016 suggests accredited local health departments have made substantial progress in incorporating quality improvement in their operations, compared to local health departments that have not yet begun the formal accreditation process. In addition, findings from a survey of employees at local health departments reveal that those working in accredited health departments experienced higher job satisfaction levels.

“PHAB’s Board of Directors is excited to see the publication of important studies detailing the impact of accreditation,” said PHAB Board Chair Ray M. (Bud) Nicola, MD, MHSA. “We are sometimes asked, ‘What difference does accreditation make?’ These articles tell the story in a very specific way using data and measurement to track improving performance, transformation, and paths to improved outcomes.”

Visit the Journal’s website to learn more about these studies, as well as articles about the Culture of Health, strategic planning, and community health assessments and improvement plans, among other topics. Support for this Journal supplement was provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed in the supplement do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. For more information, contact Teddi Nicolaus at (703) 778-4549, ext. 118, or email tnicolaus(at)phaboard(dot)org.                                            

About the Public Health Accreditation Board
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, tribal, state, local, and territorial levels. Learn more about PHAB by visiting the organization’s website, or by signing up for the PHAB e-newsletter.

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