The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) recently unveiled the names of sixteen public health departments that have successfully achieved accreditation or reaccreditation status. This announcement comes after a rigorous review process, where these departments were evaluated against a set of national standards. The accreditation is valid for the next five years and serves as a testament to these departments’ commitment to excellence and continuous improvement.

Those awarded this recognition include the Galion City Health Department.

The Impact of Accreditation on Community Health

Health departments are the backbone of public health, playing a pivotal role in enhancing the well-being of the communities they serve. Accreditation is not merely a ceremonial recognition; it has tangible benefits. It fosters continuous development by fortifying infrastructure, promoting health equity, and bolstering emergency preparedness. Moreover, it enhances quality and performance, thereby strengthening both infrastructure and workforce development.

Adrienne Sturrup, Director of Austin Public Health, emphasized the significance of this achievement, stating, “This accreditation is more than just a feather in our cap; it’s a promise to uphold a high standard of service and reflects our unwavering dedication to excellence in public health.”

Accreditation as a Catalyst During Crisis Times

The importance of having an accredited health department was particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., Public Health Officer at the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, noted, “Our ongoing focus to maintain accreditation status helped tremendously during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” As the world navigates the aftermath of the pandemic, this accreditation will serve as a roadmap for these departments, aiding them in making data-driven decisions and advancing health equity.

The Future of Public Health: A Commitment to Excellence

PHAB, the governing body administering the national accreditation program, aims to revolutionize the public health practice of governmental health departments both in the United States and abroad. Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN, President and CEO of PHAB, summed up the essence of accreditation by saying, “It not only recognizes the hard work and perseverance of our public health professionals but ensures that health departments have the needed infrastructure, resources, and systems needed to function efficiently and deliver high-quality public health services.”

In a world where public health challenges are ever-evolving, accreditation serves as a seal of quality and trust. It reassures communities that their health departments are equipped with the necessary tools, resources, and expertise to tackle emerging health issues effectively. As Jason McBride, Health Commissioner at Gailon City Health Department, aptly put it, “It feels surreal to now be an accredited health department. We’re very excited about it.”