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For Release: March 4, 2013 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601
State Public Health Agency Among First to Receive Accreditation
The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today that it is one of 11 public health departments in the nation to receive newly established national public health department accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The group of 11 health departments receiving the new accreditation status also includes two local health departments in Oklahoma: the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Comanche County Health Department.
To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures.
“National accreditation signifies the incredible efforts ongoing in our state to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality of the services provided by our state, local and tribal health departments,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline. “Our first priority is to ensure the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of the communities we serve. Being among the first to achieve national standards that promote continuous quality improvement demonstrates that we are delivering services as effectively as possible.”
The Oklahoma State Department of Health and Washington State Department of Health were the only state-level public health agencies recognized in the first group of accredited health departments.
“The Oklahoma State Department of Health is one of the first of many health departments that we look forward to being able to recognize as a high-performing public health department,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN.
The Public Health Accreditation Board is the independent organization that administers the national accreditation program, which is jointly sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. The program was created collaboratively over a 10-year period by public health practitioners working at the national, tribal, state and local public health levels. While public health departments provide expert leadership in protecting and promoting the health of people in communities across the country, there has not been a set of nationally recognized standards until now. Standards cover issues ranging from community health, chronic disease prevention and control, communicable disease prevention and control, injury prevention, health education, health promotion, maternal and child health, public health emergency preparedness, access to clinical services, public health laboratory services, management and administration, and governance.
“We are very pleased that we will be able to post the PHAB seal of accreditation,” said Cline. “This visibly demonstrates the work of our dedicated public health professionals who are committed to improving and protecting what matters most – the health of Oklahomans.”
Cline said all of Oklahoma’s public health departments will be working to achieve accreditation status. “Oklahomans expect their hospitals and schools to be accredited. Now their public health departments will be also,” he said.
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