Just as hospitals and schools can be accredited, public health departments can be accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). PHAB has developed a set of standards that assess the functioning of health departments based on the 10 Essential Public Health Services, which define public health and serve as the foundation for quality and performance improvement efforts nationwide. Accreditation assesses state, local and tribal health department capabilities to address the following domains:

  1. Assess: Conduct and disseminate assessments focused on population health status and public health issues facing the community
  2. Investigate: Investigate health problems and environmental public health hazards to protect the community
  3. Inform and Educate: Inform and educate about public health issues and functions
  4. 10ES ChartCommunity Engagement: Engage with the community to identify and address health problems
  5. Policies and Plans: Develop public health policies and plans
  6. Public Health Laws: Enforce public health laws
  7. Access to Care: Promote strategies to improve access to healthcare services
  8. Workforce: Maintain a competent public health workforce
  9. Quality Improvement: Evaluate and continuously improve processes, programs, and interventions
  10. Evidence-Based Practices: Contribute to and apply the evidence base of public health
  11. Administration and Management: Maintain administrative and management capacity
  12. Governance: Maintain capacity to engage the public health governing entity

Benefits of Accreditation

Accreditation showcases the commitment to community health across the local public health system and demonstrates to the public and policymakers that the Health Department is achieving high standards in the work that it does internally and externally.

Health departments report that accreditation helps them:

  • Better identify their strengths and weaknesses
  • Document their capacity to deliver the core functions and 10 Essential Public Health Services
  • Promote transparency
  • Improve their management processes
  • Stimulate quality improvement and performance management
  • Increase their accountability to community members, stakeholders, and policymakers
  • Improve their communication with the governing entity / board of health
  • Be more competitive in funding opportunities