|NC shares health systems lessons with the nation|
|July 21, 2011|
Since 2004, North Carolina has been the only state in the U.S. to have mandatory public health department accreditation, requiring local departments to meet standards prescribed by the N.C. Division of Public Health. To date, 55 of the state's 85 local health departments have completed accreditation.
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health's North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) has provided staffing and oversight for the state health department initiative. Now NCIPH personnel have published a wealth of information about the process and value of local accreditation.
"Informing the National Public Health Accreditation Movement: Lessons from North Carolina's Accredited Local Health Departments," appearing in the July 21 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, was co-authored by Mary Davis, DrPH, Brittan Wood, MPH, and Edward Baker, MD, MPH. Baker is research professor of health policy and management at the UNC public health school and former NCIPH director. Davis is NCIPH's director of evaluation services and adjunct assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the school.
For the study, 48 accredited health departments were surveyed on the impact of accreditation and the benefits and barriers related to the process. Study results will benefit other states now considering national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board.
"This is an important, data-rich study, which will be useful in advancing the national accreditation movement," Davis said.
Half of the agencies reported acting on suggestions for improvement uncovered in the accreditation process, and 67 percent conducted quality improvement activities.
"Accreditation strengthens the effectiveness of the local public health agencies and ultimately benefits the citizens of North Carolina who want clean water and air, safe food, protection from disease, and preparedness in disasters," added Davis. " I would think all health agencies would be interested in doing the same."
The American Journal of Public Health is the most widely read scholarly journal in the public health field in the country.
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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or email@example.com.