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Greetings from PHAB,


For many places around the country, it is beginning to look like spring. Here in the DC area, the cherry blossoms are blooming, as are a lot of other trees and flowers. Spring often brings thoughts of new growth and new beginnings, and certainly at PHAB we are experiencing those same thoughts about accreditation. We are getting new applicants every week; we have just finished training a class of site visitors in the new PHAB process; and we are progressing with new think tanks to inform our future development in the accreditation world.


In this issue of our e-newsletter, you will find updates on ongoing accreditation program activities. This monthly update is our way of keeping you informed about the most recent activities going on in support of accreditation development. You will see that there are current activities supporting applicant health departments through the process, and there are more future instructive activities designed to inform our ongoing development.


PHAB has discussed the very important roles of our national partner organizations in providing technical assistance to health departments preparing for accreditation. In each of our upcoming newsletters, we will spotlight one of those partners in some detail. This month's spotlight is on the Public Health Foundation and their role in providing specific focus for accreditation support in Domains 8, 9, and 10, as well as the strategic plan component of the pre-requisites.


We also continue to provide you with our best responses to commonly asked questions in Word on the Street. Keep those questions coming our way! We hope that our responses provide you with good guidance.


Happy Spring! We hope your plans for a new beginning include accreditation!

Issue #39

March 2012

In This Issue
PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Public Health Foundation
MEETING ROUND UP: Upcoming Meeting Information

Kaye Bender (April 2011)

 Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN

President and CEO

PROGRAM NOTES: The Status of the PHAB Accreditation Program

Site Visitor Training

Fifty site visitors were trained this month and are ready to receive their health department assignments. PHAB decided to invite selected beta test site visitors back to serve as reviewers for this first cohort of applicants. The reason for that is to build on our experience with the review process through the beta test, and also to begin our focus on inter-rater reliability. Their two-day training consisted of updates on the changes since the beta test (and there are quite a few), as well as hands-on experience with e-PHAB. We appreciate the commitment of these volunteers. Peer review is a key cornerstone of the PHAB accreditation process, and we could not begin to be successful without the help of these outstanding volunteers.


PHAB expects to expand its pool of site visitors a little later in 2012. So, if you are interested in serving in that capacity in the future, stay tuned for more information on how to volunteer.


PHAB Site Visitors
PHAB Site Visitors take a break from the two-day training. 


Centralized States

In the January/February edition of the PHAB e-newsletter, PHAB announced the availability of policies and procedures related to accreditation applications submitted by health departments in centralized states. The policies and procedures specifically addressed the options and procedures for local health departments in centralized states. The policies and procedures did not address centralized states in which there are no local health departments. These health departments provide local public health services and programs directly or through local units that do not meet the PHAB definition of a local health department (sometimes called, for example, regions, district offices, or divisions). PHAB will not accredit these local units as (1) the local units do not meet the definition of a Tribal, state, or local health department; and (2) PHAB does not accredit services or programs. A state health department in a centralized state with no local health departments, of course, may apply for state health department accreditation.


Documentation submitted by a centralized state that has no local health departments should include documentation that demonstrates:

  • How activities are conducted locally,
  • How services and programs are provided locally,
  • How community engagement and input is obtained, and
  • How technical assistance is provided by the central office to local units.


If you have additional questions about this accreditation application category, please contact Robin Wilcox, PHAB's Chief Program Officer, at

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: The Public Health Foundation (PHF) 


PHF is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the public's health by strengthening the quality and performance of public health practice. In support of health departments preparing for accreditation, PHF has a number of resources available. Their focus areas in terms of accreditation support include Domains 8, 9, and 10, as well as the strategic plan component of the pre-requisites. More information can be found on the PHF website


TRAIN, a service of PHF, is the nation's premier learning management system for professionals and volunteers who protect the public's health. In addition to thousands of courses and trainings, TRAIN contains resources and tools that can benefit health departments as they seek accreditation from PHAB. The 24 affiliates who comprise the TRAIN Affiliate Consortium (TAC - those states and national organizations who have purchased a customized TRAIN portal) including 21 states, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, support the utilization of the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals developed by the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, a coalition of 19 national public health organizations. TAC, among other organizations and partnerships, considers the Core Competencies as foundational to training the public health workforce. As the Core Competencies are assigned to courses in TRAIN, TRAIN affiliates are able to formulate training plans and export standardized data on training, competency connections, and workforce development activities to support accreditation.


Funded by CDC, PHF is currently working to refresh the Turning Point Performance Management Framework and related tools, Performance Management Self-Assessment Tool, and From Silos to Systems: Using Performance Management to Improve the Public's Health, developed under the Turning Point Performance Management National Excellence Collaborative nearly ten years ago. Once completed, the refreshed framework will be broadly disseminated to health departments, national public health organizations, and PHAB. These recommendations will help inform PHAB's refinement to Domain 9 standards, refine public health partner organizations' responses to technical assistance requests, and provide health departments with cutting-edge information on performance management best practices. You can access a variety of other performance management and quality improvement tools, resources, and case studies through the PHF websiteYou can even search for performance improvement resources related to each PHAB Domain by going to the Public Health Improvement Resource Center. PHF provides technical assistance to health departments on a range of topics including strategic planning, using QI tools and techniques, launching QI initiatives, implementing performance management, and preparing for accreditation.

Through the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, PHF provides the Academic Health Department (AHD) Learning Community and the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (Core Competencies), as well as tools to help public health practitioners implement the Core Competencies in their health departments. The AHD Learning Community, a national community supporting formal partnerships between health departments and schools of public health or other academic health professions institutions, brings together practitioners, educators, and researchers to learn from each other and develop resources to stimulate partnerships. The AHD Learning Community is open to all and can help health departments as they work to establish partnerships to promote the development of future public health workers, as in the Domain 8 standards, and develop and apply evidence for public health practices, as in Domain 10. The Core Competencies, a consensus set of nationally adopted public health competencies, detail knowledge and skills for the broad practice of public health and can form the foundation of a workforce development plan, a requirement in the Domain 8 standards. Tools such as Competency Assessments for Public Health Professionals and the 3-Step Competency Prioritization Sequence facilitate the assessment of staff competencies and identification of competencies gaps and priority areas for workforce development.

MEETING ROUND UP: Accreditation Issues to be Discussed at Upcoming Meetings


Improving Public Health: Exploring Agency, Systems, & Community Health Improvement Training, The CDC, its National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP), and accreditation partners are hosting a training on May 8-9, 2012, in Atlanta, GA. This year's training offers opportunities to learn about public health agency accreditation, systems performance standards, quality improvement, health assessment and improvement planning, and how all of these support an overall public health improvement strategy. Special attention will be given to preparing for PHAB accreditation, implementing the accreditation pre-requisites (Community Health Assessment and Improvement Planning, and Strategic Planning), and implementing the NPHPSP tools. For the training agenda, lodging, to register, and more, visit the event website. Space is limited and registration closes on April 18, 2012. For more information, please contact Lil Johnson at .

American Public Health Association Mid-Year Meeting 
The public health system delivers essential services that protect the health of your community and brings enormous value to creating a healthy nation. If we are to address the economic and health-related costs of chronic and communicable disease and injuries, we must strengthen our nation's investment in prevention and public health. But the public health system is confronting a crisis: declining budgets, more demands, an aging and shrinking workforce, changing skill sets, technology hurdles, integration of public health into primary care, lack of understanding of the role of public health by the public, opinion leaders and policy-makers, and a myriad of other challenges. Building on the success of the mid-year meeting in June 2011, please join the American Public Health Association (APHA) and our partners as these and other issues are addressed at The New Public Health: Rewiring for the Future meeting on June 26-28, 2012, in Charlotte, NC. This mid-year meeting will equip attendees from federal, state, local, and Tribal agencies and organizations with the educational, policy, and advocacy tools needed for keeping up with and anticipating the changes that will be necessary to "rewire" the public health infrastructure. Registration is now open, so visit the event website for more details.



1. In calculating the number of employees, should we include full time, part time, and on-call employees? Does "FTE" include full-time and part-time employees and on-call employees who work regularly? Or do you strictly want the number of FTEs period, excluding any part time or temporary employees?


FTEs, from a practical and budget perspective, would include full time and part time employees, with the on-call employees factored in. For example, two 20 hour employees are one FTE. It is generally the total number of people needed to do the work.



2. We are confused about the relationship between the total accreditation fee, the availability of a payment schedule of 5 years, and the accreditation period of 5 years. Can you help clarify?

PHAB's accreditation cycle is 5 years. Once a health department is accredited, they are accredited for 5 years (from the time the decision was made). The accreditation fee is for the purpose of covering the accreditation application and review process. So, there is no direct "calendar" relationship between those two time periods. A health department may pay their accreditation fee in one lump sum (and receive a discount); over a period of 3 years; or over a period of 5 years. Think of it like a car payment; it's just a way for health departments to spread their costs. However, the payment period will not correspond to the actual 5 years that the health department is accredited. The payment period is directly related to the acceptance date of the health department's application with PHAB.



3. If we apply for accreditation and pay our fee, but then are not accredited, do we get a refund?  


No. The accreditation fee supports the review process, it is not to purchase accreditation. By the time the accreditation decision has been made, most of the expenses that PHAB encounters in reviewing a health department would have been expended. So, there is no refund provision. This is a typical best-practice with national accrediting organizations.



4. I have sent several invitations to individuals at PHAB to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn. I have not received any responses. Does the PHAB staff not like to be connected with colleagues?


Actually, PHAB staff do like to be connected with colleagues. However, the advice PHAB has received from other national accrediting bodies is that we need to be cautious about having social contact with potential applicants on an individual level. It might be construed by others as having an effect on the accreditation decision. So, if you don't hear from our staff, that's why. We are all just being careful about appearance of conflicts of interest. PHAB as an organization has accounts on Facebook and Twitter, so please feel free to connect with us via those avenues to stay up-to-date on PHAB happenings.



5. Who at PHAB should we contact for specific questions and technical assistance? 


You may contact: 


Mark Paepcke, Chief Administrative Officer, to talk about fees and contractual information. He may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext. 104.


Robin Wilcox, Chief Program Officer, to talk about interpretation and meaning of the PHAB Standards and Measures as well as the accreditation process. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext. 106.


Rachel Margolis or Marita Chilton, Accreditation Specialists, to talk about the accreditation process for health departments. Rachel may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext. 108, and Marita may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext. 114.


David Stone, Accreditation Education Specialist, to talk about PHAB's education services, including orientations and trainings. He may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext. 105.


Travis Parker Lee, Program Specialist, to talk about meetings, events, and requests for speakers.  He may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext. 102.


Kaye Bender, President/CEO, to talk about accreditation related strategies, partnerships, long-range planning at PHAB, PHAB Board of Directors, committees, and think tanks. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 103.



If you have a suggestion for future segments of Word on the Street, please send them to Travis Parker Lee, PHAB Program Specialist, at

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