PHAB E-Newsletter header
Accreditation FAQs
PHAB Webcast
RWJF Call for Proposals
Call for Workgroup Members
PHAB Website





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This issue of PHAB's e-newsletter provides answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that have been posed to PHAB Board members over the past few months.   PHAB is committed to enhancing its communications with potential applicants and other partners.  Part of that effort includes keeping an updated list of FAQs on the Web site at  The FAQs will be expanded and revised in response to feedback during conference presentations and after Board and Workgroup meetings.  We look forward to your continued support and input as program development moves forward and we work together toward improving health department performance.
William Riley, PhD
Interim Executive Director
Public Health Accreditation Board

Questions About National Accreditation
Thanks to everyone who participated in the PHAB sessions at the recent APHA meeting. Several important issues were raised, and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) piece has been updated in response.  Additional FAQs also appear at, and will be continually updated to address emerging topics and questions. 
1. Who is eligible to apply for national accreditation?
The governmental entity that has the primary statutory or legal responsibility for public health in a state, a territory, a tribe or at the local level is eligible for accreditation.  This includes state health departments, territorial health departments, local (city and county) health departments and tribal health departments.  Eligibility is intended to be very flexible and inclusive, accommodating the many different configurations of governmental public health at all levels, including both centralized and decentralized state health departments, health departments that are part of a larger governmental agency, health departments that do not have environmental health responsibility, regional and district health departments and local health departments that share resources in order to fulfill particular functions. More eligibility info is available at
2. How can state, local and tribal public health officials get involved in developing the program?
Public health officials and governing bodies are involved in a number of ways, including serving on PHAB's Board of Directors, Committees and Workgroups.  Additionally, public health officials will have more opportunities to volunteer for additional workgroup and committee appointments, to provide feedback on draft standards during a public vetting process, and to participate in pilot testing the accreditation process before the accreditation program is officially launched. 
3. When will national accreditation start for health departments?
Program development is currently underway at PHAB. Committees and Workgroups are developing the standards and measures, the procedures to assess health departments, a "substantial equivalency recognition" process to accommodate existing state-based accreditation and related programs that are closely aligned with PHAB's program, and a research and evaluation plan.  Draft standards will be publicly vetted for comment in February 2009, and a beta testing phase is scheduled to begin in summer 2009.  It is anticipated that the first applications for accreditation will be accepted in 2011.
4. There are many standards already in use in state and local health departments.  What is the relationship between the various sets of standards in the field and the new accreditation standards?
The PHAB standards and measures are being developed using NACCHO's Operational Definition of a Functional Local Health Department as a framework, and also considering 1) existing standards and measures from state-based accreditation and related programs 2) the state and local instruments of the National Public Health Performance Standards Program and 3) ASTHO's report on services offered by states.  The Standards Development Workgroup reviewed numerous standards and measures and selected what they felt were the "best of the best."   More information on the principles guiding standards development can be found at
5. What are the benefits of accreditation?
Several states have accreditation programs for local health departments, and PHAB continues to learn from their experiences.  The following benefits have been realized by accredited local health departments, and PHAB surmises that states receiving accreditation status also stand to enjoy these benefits: 
  • The accreditation assessment process provides valuable, measurable feedback to health departments on their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Engaging in the accreditation process provides an opportunity for health departments to learn quality and performance improvement techniques that are applicable to multiple programs.
  • Gaining accreditation status has resulted in increased credibility among elected officials, governing bodies and the public.
  • The recognition of excellence brought on by meeting accreditation standards has positively impacted staff morale and enhanced the visibility of the health departments.
  • Accreditation is a means of demonstrating accountability to elected officials and the community as a whole.

Upcoming Webcast on AccreditationARTLE HEADLINE
On Monday, December 15th from 12 Noon-2pm ET, PHAB will host a webcast on the development of the national accreditation program, and provide information on when the first draft standards will be available for public review. William Riley, the PHAB Interim Executive Director, will be speaking and taking questions.  Check the PHAB Web site soon for registration details. 

RWJF Call for Proposals: Evaluating the Impact of Quality ImprovementRWJARTICLE HEADLINE
Many health departments are looking at quality improvement (QI) as a means of improving performance to meet accreditation standards. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, seeks proposals from local, state, tribal and territorial health departments to evaluate and document the effects of QI efforts conducted by health departments. Application deadline is December 16, 2008. For more more information or to apply, click here

Call for Fees & Incentives Workgroup Members

PHAB is currently seeking members for the Fees & Incentives Workgroup. The Workgroup will develop a fee structure for applicants and identify strategies for securing incentives for program participation. The Workgroup will run from January 2009- March 2011, and commitments include 3 in-person meetings per year as well as periodic conference calls. If interested, submit a letter of interest and CV to Jeff Neistadt at:
Jeff Neistadt
National Association of Local Boards of Health
1840 East Gypsy Lane Road
Bowling Green, OH 43402