Greetings from PHAB,

As I see the leaves begin to turn colors and the pumpkins appear at the local markets, I am reminded of the quote, "To everything there is a season." PHAB has experienced many seasons over the past several weeks. A big season of joy for us was the accreditation of the first Tribal health department as Cherokee Nation Health Services achieved that milestone. We are very proud of Director Lisa Pivec and the entire staff there as they worked hard to accomplish this goal. You will read about more great seasons in PHAB's life in this newsletter as we have included progress reports on many of our projects, described PHAB's surge capacity, and conveyed the progress that we are making together to strengthen the country's public health departments. You will also read about a new season at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) as Mike Fraser was recently welcomed as their new Executive Director. ASTHO has an ex-officio seat on the PHAB Board of Directors, so we look forward to working with Dr. Fraser closely in the future. On another note, a season of loss rocked the public health world in August as we mourned the death of Harrison Spencer, President and CEO of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. Dr. Spencer not only accomplished a great deal for public health and public health education, but was also a strong supporter of public health department accreditation. We will surely miss our partnership with him.

Seasons. They give us pause to reflect; they give us new opportunities; and they bring new challenges. Public health has many seasons, and accreditation attempts to capture all of them. Whatever season your health department is in, we look forward to working with you as we strive to improve the health of the residents of this great country.

Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN

PHAB President and CEO

Issue #64
September/October 2016 
In This Issue
 Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN
President and CEO

PHAB joins with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in welcoming Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE, to his new position as ASTHO's Executive Director. An ex-officio member of the PHAB Board of Directors, Dr. Fraser has been a distinguished leader in public health for nearly 20 years. Most recently, he served as the Executive Vice President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Medical Society in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he worked with physician leaders to transform the society into a dynamic and effective membership organization, and also worked to address the state's opioid misuse and drug abuse crisis.

PHAB congratulates ex-officio PHAB Board Member Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association (APHA), who in August was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in Health Care" by Modern Healthcare. This is the 10th year that Dr. Benjamin has attained this honor (talk about sustainability!). The 2016 list, published in the Aug. 22, 2016 issue of the magazine, features leaders from across the industry who have shaped the nation's health.

PHAB mourns the loss of Harrison C. Spencer, MD, MPH, and sends our deepest sympathy to the staff and board of the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health. In July 2000, Dr. Spencer assumed the newly created position of President and CEO of the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH). In August 2013, he led the transformation of ASPH to a new organization, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Among his many contributions, he was nationally and internationally recognized for his clinical public health work, research endeavors in infectious disease prevention and control, and authorship of more than 100 publications.Save

Sixteen More Health Departments Awarded PHAB Accreditation: Cherokee Nation First Tribal Public Health Department to Achieve Designation

In keeping with their mission to improve the conditions in which their communities can be healthy, another 16 governmental public health departments have achieved five-year accreditation through PHAB. With the August decisions, the transformational benefits of being served by a PHAB-accredited health department now reach more than 170 million people, or 55 percent of the U.S. population. The announcement also heralds the attainment of another historic mile marker with the accreditation of the first Tribal public health department in the nation.

"PHAB is honored to award national accreditation to the Cherokee Nation -- the first Tribal health department in the country to achieve this designation," said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender. "Cherokee Nation has set an outstanding example for other Tribes across the country in achieving national public health department accreditation. Their commitment to the members of their Tribes and the people they serve is well-represented by their hard work."

PHAB awarded five-year accreditation status on August 17, 2016 to:

*    Benton-Franklin Health District, Kennewick, Washington

*    Bloomington Public Health/Public Health Alliance of Bloomington, Edina, and Richfield; 

     Bloomington, Minnesota

*    Cherokee Nation Health Services, Tahlequah, Oklahoma

*    Dakota County Public Health Department, West St. Paul, Minnesota

*    Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments, Lawrenceville, Georgia  

*    La Crosse County Health Department, La Crosse, Wisconsin

*    Lake County General Health District, Painesville, Ohio

*    Lorain County General Health District, Elyria, Ohio

*    Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness, Louisville, Kentucky  

*    Minneapolis Health Department, Minneapolis, Minnesota

*    Mohave County Department of Public Health, Kingman, Arizona

*    Portland Public Health Division, Portland, Maine

*    Prince William Health District, Manassas, Virginia   

*    Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, St. Paul, Minnesota

*    Waushara County Health Department, Wautoma, Wisconsin  

*    Williamson County and Cities Health District, Georgetown, Texas

Read the full press release here.

Staff of Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services in Austin, Texas, gathered in August to celebrate the department's May 2016 accreditation.

Final Reaccreditation Requirements to be Released in Early 2017

PHAB is fully engaged in designing the national public health department reaccreditation process. As with all of PHAB's developmental endeavors, we are implementing a developmental process that involves engaging experts from the field and vetting proposals with the entire public health community.

As noted in previous PHAB newsletters, the requirements for reaccreditation will not be the same as initial accreditation requirements. PHAB's intention is that reaccreditation encourages health departments to become increasingly effective at improving the health status of the population. The reaccreditation Domains and Standards are the same as those for initial accreditation. The Measures and Required Documentation, however, were significantly revised. The proposed Measures and Required Documentation were released for public comment in July and PHAB received nearly 500 individual comments. Each comment will be individually reviewed and considered by a group of experts in order to develop the final set of requirements that will be submitted to the PHAB Board of Directors.

Health departments seeking reaccreditation will also be asked to report on a selection of community health status outcome indicators. A set of outcome indicators will be provided from which health departments will select a subset for reporting. PHAB envisions that this section will be a combination of a checklist menu (similar to the programs and services menu that health departments completed in their initial accreditation application), as well as data on progress, similar to what health departments have provided in their annual reports. The outcome indicator reports will not impact on the status of reaccreditation.

A final set of reaccreditation requirements will be adopted by the PHAB Board of Directors during its December 2016 meeting. Reaccreditation requirements will be released to the field in early 2017. The development of the e-PHAB reaccreditation module will take place during the first half of 2017. e-PHAB will be available for the first group of accredited health departments up for reaccreditation to upload required documents beginning in the second half of 2017.

Applications for reaccreditation are due for the first group of accredited health departments in the first quarter of 2018. However, PHAB will allow an extra calendar quarter for applications for the first group of accredited health departments to provide sufficient time for documentation preparation.

Save the Date: PHAB to Host Documentation Webinar in October

Mark your calendars!  The Public Health Accreditation Board will host an accreditation webinar on October 20, 2016 from 1-3 p.m. Eastern Time. Titled "Creating and Presenting Your Documentation: Tips for Success," you'll learn how to optimize your documentation to help your health department succeed in the accreditation process through 3 first-hand perspectives: a PHAB Accreditation Specialist, a PHAB site visitor, and a recently accredited health department. Keep an eye on PHAB's website for registration information. For more information, contact Shirley Orr.

Think Tank Continues to Explore an Accreditation Pathway Product for Small Health Departments

PHAB's Think Tank participants for the exploration of an accreditation pathway product for health departments serving a population of fewer than 50,000 people and/or who have 10 or fewer full-time employees have been busy over the summer. The group has held three teleconferences to review all 12 of the PHAB Domains as well as the foundational public health capabilities language in an effort to determine which components most accurately align with the work of smaller health departments. They met in person on September 14-15, 2016 to put some early concepts together that can then be shared for broader input. Stay tuned to the PHAB website and to upcoming sessions at the COPPHI Open Forum and at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting to hear more about this project.

PHAB's Small Health Department Think Tank brought representatives from around the nation to Alexandria, Virginia, in September to continue the exploration of an accreditation pathway product for health departments serving fewer than 50,000 people and/or who have 10 or fewer full-time employees.

PHAB Participates in National Tribal Forum Conference

The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) and Red Star International partnered in August to present a conference titled "National Tribal Forum for Excellence in Community Health Practice" in Spokane, Washington. PHAB was pleased to participate in the August 30-31 event, which drew about 140 participants, including representatives from 30 Tribes and 24 states, as well as a number of national partner organizations. PHAB's participation included a training session on accreditation conducted by PHAB Education Specialist David Stone. Dr. Kaye Bender served on an accreditation panel, and PHAB also led a roundtable discussion. PHAB is so pleased to see the progress that Tribes are making in their work toward accreditation.

PHAB Board Member Joe Finkbonner, left, Executive Director of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, and PHAB's Kaye Bender pause for a photo with representatives of Cherokee Nation Health Services during the National Tribal Forum for Excellence in Community Health Practice in Spokane, Washington, in August.

PHAB Education Specialist David Stone, third from left, standing, led a training session on accreditation at the National Tribal Forum for Excellence in Community Health Practice in Spokane, Washington, in August. 

MMWR Report Shines Spotlight on the Benefits of Accreditation

A report published in the August 12 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shines a spotlight on the benefits of accreditation. Titled "Evaluating the Impact of National Public Health Department Accreditation -- United States, 2016," the report presents findings from a survey of accredited health departments conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Among the 52 health departments that responded to the survey one year after they were accredited, 90% or more agreed or strongly agreed that accreditation:
  • stimulated quality and performance improvement opportunities within the health department (98%);
  • allowed the health department to better identify strengths and weaknesses (96%);
  • helped the health department document capacity to deliver the three core functions of public health (i.e., assessment, policy development, and assurance) and the 10 Essential Public Health Services (94%);
  • stimulated greater accountability and transparency within the health department (92%); and
  • improved the management processes used by the leadership team in the health department (90%).
In addition, 92% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that because of accreditation, the health department had a strong quality improvement culture. The full report, co-authored by Jessica Kronstadt, Michael Meit, Alexa Siegfried, Teddi Nicolaus, Kaye Bender, and Liza Corso, is available here. Studies like this are part of PHAB's ongoing efforts to better understand the impact of accreditation. Click here to read more about PHAB's work in research and evaluation, or contact PHAB Director of Research and Evaluation Jessica Kronstadt.

Draft Accreditation Standards for Vital Records and Health Statistics Released at NAPHSIS

PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender joined Glenn Copeland and Christie Spice at the National Association of Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 15, to discuss the results of the alpha test of the draft accreditation standards for vital records and health statistics at the state level. Building on the standards created by NAPHSIS, a work group of vital registrars developed the draft standards that were alpha tested in Washington, California, Florida, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia from January-March 2016. The alpha test provided strong support for the standards, with a few suggestions for edits going forward. Pending funding for the next phase, PHAB and NAPHSIS will work toward completing the revisions, a process description and plans for a beta test. Stay tuned to PHAB's newsletter for updates on this important project.

Training Centers Gain Skills to Help Health Departments Prepare for Accreditation

On August 1-2, 18 people came to PHAB to attend a workshop titled "Facilitating Success: Providing Assistance to PHAB Applicants." Sponsored in partnership with the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Training at NNPHI, for the Public Health Training Centers, the event focused on how the training centers can help health departments as they prepare for accreditation. The workshop provided overviews of the basics of accreditation -- getting started, the process and documentation. The sessions then took a deeper dive into two areas: plans and systems, looking at requirements and alignment, and a review of Domains 8 and 9, looking at requirements and how applicants can be assisted as they prepare documentation to meet the measures. Participants left with guidance on how the training centers can provide training and technical assistance to health departments in preparing for or maintaining accreditation.

Public Health Training Centers workshop participants received guidance on how the training centers can provide training and technical assistance to health departments in preparing for or maintaining accreditation.


New Tip Sheet Clarifies Processes and Procedures Related to Major Organizational Changes

PHAB has posted a new tip sheet for local health departments who are considering or planning major organizational changes, such as shared services and mergers. Changes in the organization during or after accreditation may or may not impact the accreditation status of the health department(s). This tip sheet provides clarification of PHAB policies and procedures related to organizational changes in an effort to inform health departments early in their planning process.

Since most situations will be unique for a particular health department, PHAB encourages health departments to contact PHAB to arrange consultation about the potential effect of organizational changes on accreditation status or accreditation planning. The PHAB primary staff contact for this consultation is PHAB Chief Program Officer Robin Wilcox.

What's New With PHAB's Applicant Learning Event?

PHAB continually revises its in-person Applicant Learning Event based on feedback from participants. For example, training is continually updated to reflect experiences gained from site visits and annual reports. Additionally, once the requirements for reaccreditation are finalized, a summary will be incorporated into the training.


Shirley Orr

Learning event participants will also be seeing a new face at these events. PHAB is pleased to announce that Shirley Orr, MHS, APRN, NEA-BC, has joined PHAB on a consulting basis to help develop PHAB's educational services. Ms. Orr is working with PHAB in several capacities. As a lecturer for in-person trainings, she will lead sessions on documentation and case studies. She is also working to help PHAB develop webinars and education modules.


All new Accreditation Coordinators are required to attend PHAB's in-person Applicant Learning Event after their health department has submitted its application. Once the invoice is paid, the Accreditation Coordinator will be invited to attend the next training. All in-person Applicant Learning Events are held at PHAB's Alexandria, Virginia, Learning Center. Information on registering for the training will be sent by email to applicants eligible for the training. The training calendar can be found on PHAB's website.

National Conferences Fill PHAB's Summer Calendar

From coast to coast, it's been a busy summer for PHAB's outreach team. Three national organizations -- the national Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) -- held their annual meetings in July and August, and PHAB was on hand to share information about public health department accreditation.  

Conference highlights included the presentation of the Local Health Department of the Year Award to the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department (medium jurisdiction category). Dr. Rex Archer, Director of the Kansas City Health Department, is a member of PHAB's Board of Directors. The Local Health Department of the Year Award honors the outstanding accomplishments of local health departments for their innovation, creativity and impact on their communities. Also during the 2016 NACCHO Annual Conference, Patrick Libbey, Co-Director of the Center for Sharing Public Health Services in Olympia, Washington, received the Maurice "Mo" Mullet Lifetime of Service Award. PHAB congratulates Mr. Libbey, who served on PHAB's Board of Incorporators.

NALBOH members whose work is associated with a PHAB-accredited health department joined for a group photo at NALBOH's Annual Conference August 12, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri.

PHAB's Online Store Expands to Include Plaque Sales

Since opening its virtual doors in September 2015, PHAB's online store has fulfilled dozens of orders for copies of PHAB's Standards and Measures and other publications. This week, PHAB is pleased to announce that the online store's product line has expanded to include sales of duplicate accreditation recognition plaques and certificates. Upon becoming accredited, every newly accredited health department receives a complimentary custom-made plaque. Accredited health departments that wish to order additional plaques and certificates to display in other locations around the health department can now place their orders directly through the store with the click of a mouse. The store, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has greatly improved the process by which PHAB fulfills the increasing number of orders for its growing product line.

The store will grow over time to include other new products, such as branded apparel, gift items and banners.

Accreditation Works!

If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to check out the three new "Accreditation Works!" features on PHAB's home page:

*    PHAB Accreditation has Become a Road Map for Change at Clinton County Health Department, by Margaret C. Searing;

*    PHAB's CHA and CHIP Standards Strengthen DuPage County Health Department's Commitment to "Impact DuPage," by Mary E. Kirk; and

*    In Richmond, Kentucky, PHAB Accreditation Fosters Monthly Domain and Strategic Planning Reviews, by Rebecca Murphy Colligan.

To support "Acceditation Works," every PHAB-accredited health department is invited to contribute a 300-to-600-word narrative describing how their health department has changed as a result of going through the accreditation process. Collectively, these stories serve as first-hand testimonies of how PHAB accreditation benefits health departments and their communities. Submissions may be emailed to with the words "Accreditation Works" in the "subject" line.

"Accreditation Works!" articles are also archived collectively online. PHAB thanks the many health departments that have contributed to this feature by sharing their experiences and thereby demonstrating their commitment to excellence in serving their communities.

PHAB Works to Enhance Accreditation for U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States

PHAB has contracted with Cindy Hoepner, CQIA, CPHQ, CQMOE, as our Territorial/Freely Associated States Accreditation/QI Consultant. Cindy oversees Quality and Safety and Risk Management for a non-profit healthcare organization in Minnesota. Prior to her current role, she led the Corporate Quality and Performance Management Department at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation in the Northern Mariana Islands as the Director and Performance Improvement Manager for CDC's National Public Health Improvement Initiative, along with several years in the clinical research field. She is experienced in managing and driving Quality Management Practices, CMS Hospital Certification, Joint Commission accreditation, and public health accreditation. Because of her expertise and background, we are so pleased that she can spend some of her time with us so that we can better serve the Territories and Freely Associated States who are working on accreditation. At the present time, she is working with PHAB to help us get a better understanding of the documentation issues and barriers for the Territories and Freely Associated States. It is our goal to publish a supplement to the PHAB Accreditation Standards and Measures that will have specific guidance and examples that are relevant to the Territories and Freely Associated States. We have identified this need from speaking with some of the Performance Managers in those areas, as well as in speaking with Cindy about her own experience. Stay tuned for regular updates on this project.

Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI): News and Notes

The staff of the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) have been busy supporting our Learning Community, developing resources related to the alignment of national initiatives, including the foundational public health services and accreditation (see below!), presenting at national and state-based conferences around the country, and planning our next phase of work. This next phase will look noticeably different from what we originally envisioned, as we took a step back to truly consider what is meant by "innovation" in regard to public health practice. Rather than releasing a Call for Proposals to grow our Learning Community this summer, we have taken this time instead to plan an Innovations Think Tank for the fall. 

Taking place in November, with a cadre of experts in innovation in other sectors (including government, healthcare, technology and public health) and public health practitioners, PHNCI will produce a definition and develop a road map of associated benchmarks that health departments can use to foster innovation. This will set the stage for our future work at the national level and with the field. Stay tuned for the innovations definition in winter 2017 and reach out to let us know about your innovations.  

PHNCI has developed a new publication titled "Aligning Accreditation and the Foundational Public Health Capabilities," which explains the alignment between version 1.5 of the accreditation standards and measures and version 1.0 of the foundational capabilities, part of the foundational public health services framework. As outlined within the document, the significant alignment between the two is displayed in a tabular format: the first table provides a high-level overview of the alignments, while the second table provides detailed connections among the elements of each foundational capability. Collectively, the tables reflect how an accredited health department embodies the foundational capabilities. PHNCI encourages broad dissemination of this new resource, and hopes this document is useful for health departments' work around the foundational public health services. Visit to learn more about the foundational public health services framework and the health departments working toward implementing them at the state and local level.

"Fall into Learning" Webinar Series with PHNCI

PHNCI is pleased to announce the "Fall into Learning" Webinar Series. From October through December, PHNCI will offer monthly webinars to provide the public health field with information on emerging trends and strategies to advance innovations in practice. Please join us for one, or all, of these exciting learning events. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and will close once capacity is reached. Register today to reserve your space and gain insights and tools to foster innovation!   

Modernizing Public Health Using the Foundational Public Health Services

October 18, 2016: 3 p.m.- 4 p.m. ET

In response to the 2012 Institute of Medicine report titled For the Public's Health: Investing in a Healthier Future, the foundational public health services model was developed as a set of public health services that must be made available in all communities and for which costs could be estimated. Join PHNCI, the current leader for this body of work, as we describe the model, its relevance to the field, and alignment with accreditation. The webinar will also explore how Washington state is using this model to assess and modernize their governmental public health system and make the case for sustainable funding.

Featured speakers:  

*    Kaye Bender, President and CEO, PHAB

*    Jessica Solomon Fisher, Chief Innovations Officer, PHNCI

*    Marie Flake, Special Projects/Foundational Public Health Services, Washington State Department of Health

Register online at:

Transforming Public Health through Collaboration with Health Care

November 14, 2016: 3 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. ET

In recent years, there has been an increased focus on public health departments working across sectors, to improve communities. As limited funds continue to shrink and community needs evolve, public health and health care can enjoy mutually beneficial relationships to improve health and well-being. Whether for controlling costs, improving health outcomes, or contributing to a healthy workforce, each sector has an interest in being both effective and efficient. Join PHNCI for commentary on the importance of this collaboration and learn about two national initiatives -- the State Health Values and Strategies program and the newly launched Digital Bridge project --  aimed at improving population health through reforming the delivery of health care services and exchanging information between sectors.

Featured speakers:

*    Paul Kuehnert, Assistant Vice President for Programs, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

*    Heather Howard, Program Director for State Health and Value Strategies, Princeton University

*    Jim Jellison, Interim Director of Practice Support, Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII)

*    Vivian Singletary, Director, Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII)

Register online at:

Applying a Health Equity Lens to Public Health Practice

December 12, 2016: 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. ET

Increasingly, health departments are serving as leaders in communities to address the root causes of health inequities. This requires changing systems and policies, and working with non-traditional partners to ensure that all people have the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Join PHNCI as we explore the stories of two health departments working to transform communities such that ZIP codes do not dictate health outcomes.  

Featured speakers:

*    Jeanne Ayers, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health

*    Jennifer Hadayia, Senior Policy Planner/Health Equity Coordinator, Harris County Public Health (TX)

*    Umair Shah, Executive Director, Harris County Public Health (TX)

Register online at: 

ASTHO Requests Applications for Accreditation, Performance Management, and Quality Improvement Technical Assistance

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has released a request for applications (RFA) for technical assistance for 2016-2017. ASTHO, with funding from CDC, will provide targeted, customized technical assistance to assist states in completing projects related to accreditation, performance management, and quality improvement. Selected states will be provided access to ASTHO staff and subject matter experts to work on a short-term project. They will also be given the opportunity to work with peer states receiving technical assistance in the same or similar topic areas.


This is a competitive selection process, but all states are eligible and encouraged to apply. Interested states should respond to the RFA by submitting a completed application, located in the RFA, to ASTHO by 5:00 p.m. EST on Sept. 30. Selections will be made in early October. For additional information or to submit a completed application, please contact Leah Silva, ASTHO's Senior Analyst for Performance Improvement.

New NACCHO Tool Helps Local Health Departments Advance Ethics Work

To ensure accountability and build community trust, health departments must be able to identify and address ethical issues. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is pleased to offer a new arsenal of tools to help local health departments create a thriving ethics committee, and make the case for its benefits to the health department and to the community at large. Produced by NACCHO with support from CDC, the website, "So You Want to Start an Ethics Committee" includes training tools, a step-by-step guide on how to establish an ethics committee, and information on how to get the word out with incisive communications. Such a committee can serve as a foundation to guide health officials and their staff in weighing and making tough decisions. Additionally, an ethics committee can help a health department work towards fulfillment of the ethics requirement in PHAB Standards and Measures Version 1.5.


Archive of the Practical Application of the Updated PHAB Guide Webinar Now Available

On August 17, PHAB Accreditation Education Specialist David Stone joined Margie Beaudry, Senior Associate for Performance Improvement Services at the Public Health Foundation (PHF), for a 90-minute webinar that helped health departments understand important changes to the accreditation process with the updated Guide to National Public Health Department Initial Accreditation that went into effect earlier this year. An archive of the Practical Application of the Updated PHAB Guide webinar is now available for on-demand access along with answers to questions asked by attendees during the live presentation.

Certified in Public Health (CPH) 2017 Exam Dates Set

With many public health workers preparing to retire in the coming years, it is essential to ensure the quality of new and current public health professionals. The Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential will help fill this skills gap by demonstrating the credentialed professional's mastery in all five core competencies of public health, plus the additional cross-cutting competencies. The CPH credential, the only professional certification that spans the field of public health, is now open to professionals with a minimum of five years' public health work experience and at least a bachelor's degree.

In 2017, computer-based tests will be available:
  • February 1 -28
  • June 1 -30
  • October 1-31
Paper-based tests are also available. See the National Board of Public Health Examiners website for exact times and locations.


PHAB Welcomes Nicole Pettenati

Nicole Pettenati, MSLS, is beginning a one-year Library/Information Science Fellowship at PHAB. She will be helping PHAB to implement a plan to track the evidence related to the Standards and Measures, which will help inform future revisions. In addition, she will be providing support to the Public Health National Center for Innovations at PHAB. This fellowship is supported through the Learning Partnership program of the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund in Fall City, Washington. Nicole previously worked at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and was a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow. Nicole received her Master of Science in Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Bachelor of Arts at Youngstown State University in Ohio.

WORD ON THE STREET: A Roundup of Accreditation Questions & Answers

1. I was surprised to learn that PHAB has a new fee structure. When did that happen and how would I have known about it?

PHAB published its intent to develop a new fee structure initially in the June/July 2015 newsletter. After the Board had approved it, we published the final fee structure in the January/February 2016 newsletter and also put it on our website. Additionally, in the June/July 2016 newsletter we provided a Word on the Street response to some questions we were getting. It has also been included in many of our presentations at conferences. Developing the PHAB fee structure is one of the most difficult things that PHAB has to do. We have to balance the knowledge of the realities of health department budgets with our need to have a sustainable organization. The accreditation fees do not cover all of PHAB's operating budget; they cover about 40 percent. PHAB has not increased fees for 5 years, but we could no longer afford to keep the fees at the initial level. We are also beyond the developmental stages of accreditation with our grants. PHAB has a commitment to keeping our administrative overhead below the industry average of 20 percent, and with some specific budget reductions implemented this year, we have reduced our overall operational budget by more than 5 percent. We know that change is difficult, and we know that health department budgets are tighter than ever. It is not our intention for health departments to have to choose between accreditation fees and services. They should go hand-in-hand to reflect a strong health department that offers services that are needed to its community. PHAB continues to be a strong advocate for national incentives for health departments to obtain and maintain accreditation and to see the value accreditation brings to health departments' operations. Please talk with us if your health department needs more information or needs to discuss a multi-year payment plan.

2. We have heard that in order for our health department to be successful in seeking accreditation, one of our staff must be a trained PHAB site visitor. We have heard that only then can the health department understand the review and assessment process. Is this true? We have a small staff and cannot spare a person to be a site visitor for other health departments.

No, having a PHAB site visitor on staff is not needed in order for a health department to be successful in seeking accreditation. And, having a staff person who has been trained as a site visitor is not a guarantee that the health department will be successful. Many health departments have been accredited without having a staff person trained as a site visitor. We have heard people say that being a site visitor can help the person understand the process and how site visitors review documents. However, we know of health departments that had site visitors on staff that were not successful in reaching accreditation the first time that their site visit report was considered by the Accreditation Committee and the health department needed to complete an Action Plan. A trained site visitor may provide some insights, but is far from necessary for success.

3. We have heard that some site visits are conducted without a PHAB Accreditation Specialist on site. Is this true? How does that work?

PHAB's standard operating procedure is to have the health department's assigned PHAB Accreditation Specialist attend the health department's site visit. There are times however that the Accreditation Specialist attends remotely. This means that the Specialist does not physically go to the health department but attends the general sessions by phone or Skype and is available during the entire visit, should the site visitors or the health department have a question. Alternatively, sometimes PHAB sends a trained Accreditation Specialist Associate to attend the site visit on behalf of the Specialist. The Associates are on contract with PHAB to perform this function. Both of these alternative models have worked well.

PHAB has employed these site visit models to provide surge capacity when multiple health departments are ready for their site visits at the same time. Rather than ask a health department to postpone its site visit, an Accreditation Specialist Associate attends or the Accreditation Specialist attends remotely. In addition, saving travel time for the Accreditation Specialists frees them up to dedicate time to reviewing site visit reports to ensure that they are correct and that they accurately reflect the health department's documentation and site visit. The accuracy of the site visit report is critical to health departments, as the accreditation status decision is based on the report.

4. I have received emails from consulting firms that stated that if I purchased their product or consulting service, my health department will be successful in seeking accreditation. Does PHAB endorse any of these firms?

PHAB does not endorse any products or consulting firms. No product or technical assistance can guarantee that a health department will be successful. A packaged product may or may not be appropriate, depending on how the health department uses it, as well as the product itself. PHAB encourages health departments to seek technical assistance when it is needed. We know of some individual consultants that seem to be very helpful to health departments. But PHAB cautions health departments to look critically at the services provided and to avoid products or services that guarantee accreditation success.

In addition, PHAB encourages health departments to contact PHAB directly with any questions concerning the accreditation process or about the meaning, intent, or interpretation of any of the PHAB Standards and Measures. PHAB also encourages health departments to seek guidance and assistance from its partners concerning the development of policies, procedures, interventions, and systems for conformity with the Standards and Measures. PHAB's partners include ASTHO, NACCHO, NIHB, NALBOH, the Public Health Foundation, and NNPHI.

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, or e-PHAB. 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.

Marita Chilton, Jennifer Jimenez, or Brittan Wood, to talk about the accreditation process for health departments. Marita may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 114; Jennifer may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 107; and Brittan at or 703-778-4549, ext. 115.

Jeff Lake, Volunteer Services Manager, to talk about the recruitment, selection, and assignment of Site Visitors and Teams as well as PHAB's Accreditation Reserve Corps. He may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 110.

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.

Janell Miller, Executive Assistant and Office Coordinator, to talk about general office inquiries. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 100.

Genny Lush, Program Specialist, to talk about statements of intent, applications, and accreditation process issues. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549 ext. 113.

Jessica Kronstadt, Director of Research and Evaluation, to talk about public health accreditation-related research and evaluation. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 117.

Teddi Nicolaus, Communications Manager, to talk about news, media requests, marketing, and promotions. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 118.


Jessica Solomon Fisher, Chief Innovations Officer, Public Health National Center for Innovations at the Public Health Accreditation Board, to talk about all matters related to the new Center. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 116.


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

If you have a question for a future segment of Word on the Street, please send it to PHAB e-newsletter editor Teddi Nicolaus.

Public Health Accreditation Board

1600 Duke Street

 Suite 200

Alexandria, VA 22314  

Phone: 703-778-4549

Fax: 703-778-4556

For more information, visit  

PHAB - Public Health Accreditation Board | 1600 Duke Street | Suite 200 | Alexandria | VA | 22314