You are here

DPH to Pursue National Accreditation

January 21, 2014

In a move that could change the landscape of public health in Georgia, leaders at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Friday the decision to seek formal, national accreditation. If approved, DPH would join the states of Washington and Oklahoma in achieving this status.

“Our work in our first two and a half years as a new department tells us we’re doing the right thing and bringing the right health outcomes,” said DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “And I think we’re ready to be recognized by our peers as a true model of public health.”

In order for Georgia to receive full accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), examiners will assess DPH in ten essential services of public health. Georgia’s DPH could seek accreditation as early as 2015. 

At a statewide meeting of district health directors and administrators in Atlanta on Friday, Fitzgerald said the department’s next step would be to build a team. Already, Fitzgerald has tapped Scott Uhlich, previously DPH’s director of the Office of Environmental Health, to lead the ongoing project.

“This is certainly going to be a department-wide effort,” Uhlich said. “But accreditation is something we believe in and something that will further confirm to our public and those we serve that DPH is truly leading the way in so many areas.”

PHAB’s national accreditation program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aims to advance the quality and performance of the nation's public health departments.

To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a "rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure that it meets or exceeds a specific set of quality standards and measures," according to PHAB’s website. The process consists of seven steps: pre-application, application, document selection and submission, site visit, accreditation decision, reports and, ultimately, reaccreditation.

Just as hospitals, schools and law enforcement agencies do, public health departments can use accreditation to define expectations for the services they provide, set standards and measures to evaluate those services and ensure that public health programs are responsive to the communities they serve.

Georgia’s Cobb and Douglas Public Health district and the DeKalb Board of Health are already seeking PHAB accreditation status for their districts, along with the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale county health departments. 

“We’ve already learned a lot from our public health districts about the accreditation process,” Uhlich said. “We’re really looking forward to this.”

Chris Rustin, Ph.D., will replace Uhlich as the director of the Office of Environmental Health.

You might like...

February 23, 2015

Lisa Dawson, injury prevention program director for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Division of Health Protection was presented with the 2014 Servant’s Heart Award by First Lady Sandra Deal last week.

Centered on the concept of volunteerism, First Lady Deal’s Servant’s Heart Award honors community leaders that utilize their skills to increase civic engagement, mobilize volunteer groups and resources and fulfill community needs.

February 16, 2015

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) very own Anderson Flen was recently named a champion for his outstanding public health work. The Hall County Green Alliance presented Flen with their Champion of the Year Award for his efforts to advance community health, education and advocacy work throughout DPH’s North Health District.

February 9, 2015

Participate. That’s the word keynote speaker Mr. C.E. (Gus) Whalen used to end his speech at the third annual Celebrate Healthy North Georgia program held in Gainesville last week. This year’s event theme was “Partnerships for a Healthy Community,” highlighting the need for more in depth partnerships among community stakeholders to create and maintain a healthier environment for local residents.