PHAB E-Newsletter Header

Greetings from PHAB,


It has been a hot summer in Alexandria, VA, both in the city itself and inside the PHAB office. Our wheels have been constantly turning as we have continued to prepare for the first health department accreditations. As of the distribution of this e-newsletter, we have 91 health departments somewhere in the e-PHAB system: 10 state health departments, one Tribal health department, and 80 local health departments. Last week, the first site visitors received access to e-PHAB to begin their documentation review of health departments from the first group of applicants. So, we are collectively off to the races! We expect to have the first health departments accredited by the end of 2012.


In this issue of the e-newsletter, you will read about one of our national public health partners, the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI). Learn more about what they are doing to support accreditation and quality improvement. You will also read about the latest training of health department applicants, as well as PHAB's continuing work with the think tanks as one means for obtaining feedback to us for improving the standards and measures and/or the accreditation process. You will also see the first call for suggested revisions and potential changes in the standards and measures for the next version. Finally, please help me welcome our newest PHAB team member, Jessica Kronstadt, as PHAB's Director of Research and Evaluation.


Enjoy the rest of your summer and keep those questions coming about your plans to ensure that your health department is accredited!

Issue #42

July 2012

In This Issue
PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: National Network of Public Health Institutes

Kaye Bender (April 2011)

 Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN

President and CEO

PROGRAM NOTES: Accreditation Program Updates


Preliminary Call for Suggested Changes to the Standards and Measures

The PHAB Board of Directors will soon be considering the formal process for revising the PHAB Standards and Measures Version 1.0 for adoption of the next version. When that process has been approved, we will put several activities in place to ensure that we get as much input from the field as possible. As a preliminary step, we are asking you to let us know if you have suggestions for changes to, additions to, or deletions of standards and measures that should be considered. Please email those suggestions to Robin Wilcox, Chief Program Officer, at Be as specific as you can, and provide an explanation or reason for your suggestion.



PHAB Informatics Think Tank

PHAB held an initial meeting of the Informatics Think Tank on July 17-18, 2012. The purpose of the think tank is to provide PHAB with relevant information about the current field of public health informatics in order to inform PHAB's next iteration of the standards and measures and other related public health accreditation initiatives. The Informatics Think Tank is one of several that PHAB is convening to solicit input on new and emerging public health practice topics that have implications for accreditation now and in the future. The PHAB Informatics Think Tank was hosted and facilitated by the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII).


Outcomes from the PHAB Informatics Think Tank included:

  • Discussion of the relationship between the PHAB accreditation standards and any other informatics performance standards or other program performance indicators.
  • Identification of strategies to strengthen the PHAB accreditation standards and measures in those areas where informatics is key.
  • Development of common language and definitions related to informatics to use in accreditation related work.
  • Identification and discussion of strategies to ensure informatics community input into the accreditation process.


Participants in the PHAB Informatics Think Tank included representatives from state and local health departments; from national partner public health organizations such as ASTHO, NACCHO, PHII, the Joint Public Health Informatics Task Force, and the Regenstrief Institute; and representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the areas of the Office of State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support; the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases; the Division of Applied Sciences, Scientific Education, and Professional Development; the Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services; the National Center for Environmental Health; and Immunizations.


PHAB expects that participants will work together over the next 7-9 months to address the think tank outcomes. Initial activities include the following:

  • Development of a work plan to address the think tank outcomes;
  • Development of a proposed list of informatics terms for potential consideration in the next version of the PHAB Acronyms and Glossary of Terms;
  • Identification of informatics themes related to accreditation;
  • Identification of current and future trends in public health that will inform public health informatics in the future; and,
  • Discussion of the need to identify best and promising practices in public health informatics to inform current and future accreditation standards and measures


A final report with specific recommendations from the Informatics Think Tank will be presented to the PHAB Board of Directors. While those recommendations are being developed, they will be vetted with other members of the public health informatics community. Proposed changes in the PHAB Standards and Measures Version 1.0, including any potential changes related to informatics, will be vetted with the public health community broadly as part of PHAB's standards and measures revision process in the spring of 2013.


Informatics Think Tank 1 Informatics Think Tank 2    


Third Group of Health Department Accreditation Coordinators Receive Applicant Training

Sixteen health department Accreditation Coordinators attended the third applicant training on July 24-25, 2012. They learned about the important role of the Accreditation Coordinator, selecting documentation to upload into e-PHAB, as well as how to effectively plan for their total accreditation journey with PHAB. We continue to be pleased with the response of health departments to the accreditation training. PHAB expects to hold another applicant training session in the fall of 2012.


PHAB Hires Director of Research and Evaluation

J. KrondstadtJessica Kronstadt will be joining PHAB as the Director of Research and Evaluation on August 6, 2012. Prior to coming to PHAB, Jessica was a Research Scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago. While at NORC, she was involved in several projects for PHAB, including evaluating the beta test for national accreditation, and developing the PHAB evaluation plan. Among her other public health systems research projects are an investigation of how public health is financed in seven states, a study to objectively classify states based on their public health governance structure, an assessment of National Public Health Improvement Initiative grantees, an analysis of data from the National Indian Health Board's Tribal Public Health Capacity Assessment, and a series of case studies on public health policy development. She also collected and analyzed data as part of evaluation and analysis projects related to the health workforce, health information technology, and other topics. 


Jessica previously worked at the Public Health Foundation, where she provided support to the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice. She has also conducted research for the Urban Institute and the National Academy for State Health Policy. Jessica received her master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University.

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI)


Dedicated to the vision of improving public health through innovation, NNPHI is the national membership network committed to helping public health institutes (PHIs) promote and sustain improved health and wellness for all. Created in 2001 as a forum for public health institutes, today NNPHI convenes its 38 members and partners at the local, state, and national levels in numerous and varied efforts to address public health issues. NNPHI partners with PHAB and engages its member PHIs, public health practitioners, and national public health partners in building capacity in public health accreditation and performance improvement across the nation. Below is a highlight of related resources, funding opportunities, and programs available from NNPHI.  Please visit the NNPHI website to find much more.



NEW Funding Opportunity from NNPHI


Call for Proposals: Quality Improvement Award Program

NNPHI will provide health departments with $5,000 awards coupled with 15 hours of individualized quality improvement (QI) assistance from an experienced QI Coach to conduct a QI project that results in measureable change. The purpose of this QI Award Program is to support health departments to become more proficient in the adoption and application of QI and to meet the accreditation standards and measures set by PHAB. Selected health departments will also be provided with additional opportunities such as educational webinars with QI experts and sponsored attendance at a national accreditation and QI-focused meeting (the "Open Forum Meeting for Quality Improvement in Public Health"). Please visit the COPPHI webpage of the NNPHI website for more information on the program.



NNPHI Accreditation and Performance Improvement Programs


Strengthening the Community of Practice for Public Health Improvement (COPPHI): COPPHI is a two-year, $1.75 million project led by NNPHI and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that facilitates the exchange of best practices and builds capacity among the nation's public health departments to become accredited and conduct QI.


National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS): The NPHPS improve the quality of public health practice and performance of public health systems by providing systems-focused standards for performance. NNPHI supports the NPHPS by hosting bi-monthly webinars on related performance improvement and accreditation preparation topics and hosting an annual training for practitioners interested in building skills in community health assessment and improvement planning, strategic planning, and quality improvement.


Building Partnerships to Develop High Quality Community Health Assessments and Community Health Improvement Plans: NNPHI is a partner in this RWJF initiative that aims to identify what constitutes a high-quality community health assessment and community health improvement plan and to identify model practices for the process of developing the assessment and improvement plan. NNPHI is exploring the key role that public health institutes play in this process.  For more information about the public health institute in your area, please contact Katie Dabdoub at



NNPHI Accreditation and Performance Improvement Resources


Public Health Performance Improvement Toolkit: This online collection of tools, templates, trainings, and related resources that have been developed by public health practitioners through their work in public health improvement and in preparation for national voluntary accreditation


Stories and Topical Briefs: Summarizes lessons learned by health departments engaged in QI and accreditation preparation efforts and provides recommendations for practitioners


QI Storyboards: Features all of the storyboards that have been submitted by NNPHI's Multi-State Learning Collaborative projects, as well as resources on how to develop your own storyboards


Archived Meetings and Webinars: Archives materials and presentations from previous in-person conferences and recordings and notes from webinars covering a plethora of performance improvement topics including materials from the Open Forum Meetings for Quality Improvement in Public Health and Agency and Systems Improvement Trainings and webinar series.


NNPHI Newsletter: Accreditation and Quality Improvement in Public Health Edition: Published to coincide with the national PHAB launch of accreditation (Fall 2011).


Please visit the NNPHI Accreditation and Performance Improvement website to learn more about opportunities and resources available from NNPHI.

ACCREDITATION ROUND UP: News Related to Accreditation and Quality Improvement



Public Health Foundation Releases New QI Resource

The Public Health Foundation (PHF) is excited to announce the publication of a new resource, the Public Health Quality Improvement Encyclopedia. This quick-guide to 75 QI tools and methods provides a description of each tool, an explanation of when it should be used, what steps should follow use, and a public health example. This resource was developed through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, and PHF will be shipping one copy to every health department by fall 2012.


Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, School of Public Health, University of Washington, offers a variety of training options for public health workforce development. Beginning in August, the Northwest Center will offer a Summer Institute for Public Health Practice; a Public Health Leadership Institute; and a Public Health Management Certificate. Visit the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice website to learn about these and other public health workforce development options.



1. What will PHAB's process be for updating the standards and measures?


The PHAB Standards and Measures Version 1.0 are applicable to health departments whose application for accreditation has been approved and accepted (first payment of fee received) on or before December 31, 2013. Over this summer, PHAB will be finalizing the process for revising the standards and measures in anticipation of their release for use in the accreditation cycle beginning in January 2014. We will publish both the process, and the ongoing reports from same, as we move through this next year. It is our intent to have the revised standards and measures ready for publication in the summer of 2013 for the implementation in the 2014 cycle. If you have any specific suggestions for revisions to the standards and measures, let us hear from you sooner than later. Email your suggestions to Robin Wilcox at


PHAB will announce a formal process for the revision of the standards and measures soon.



2. How long should I expect it to take from the time our health department Accreditation Coordinator has been trained by PHAB to the site visit?


That time frame will vary with each health department. PHAB will follow the time frames for the various steps described in the Guide to National Public Health Department Accreditation Version 1.0. The initial time frame will depend on when the health department applicant uploads their documentation. Then, that documentation goes through a completeness review. After that, the site visitors will be assigned. Please play close attention to the time frames described for each step in the process. PHAB estimates that a health department should expect to spend between 9 and 18 months going through the process from Statement of Intent (SOI) to accreditation decision.


Documentation Submission-Site Visit Diagram
Diagram displaying accreditation process time frames from documentation submission to the accreditation decision. Click here to view a larger version.



3. Can we change or add documentation once all of our documentation has been submitted?


Changes or updates to any documentation, including the three pre-requisites (community health assessment, community health improvement plan, and agency strategic plan), may be made prior to the final push of the Submit button on e-PHAB. Once that button has been pressed, health departments are locked out of the e-PHAB system insofar as any documentation changes are concerned. The only other documentation additions that may occur will be at the request of the Accreditation Specialists during the Completeness Review or at the request of the site visitors during their review of documentation prior to and during the site visit.



4. I would really like to be a site visitor for PHAB. When can I apply and what is the process?


To date, PHAB has invited public health practitioners to be site visitors if they already have a working knowledge of PHAB and have served on a PHAB committee or task force or were a beta test site visitor. We took this approach in order to expedite the process. However, we will place an open call for additional site visitors in the fall of 2012. There is an application process and selection criteria will be applied. Please look to our website and to this monthly e-newsletter for that call for volunteers and respond accordingly. PHAB will not take applications before that time or using another process. 



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.


Genny Lush, Office Manager, to talk about general office inquiries. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext 100.



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

PHAB E-Newsletter Footer