Greetings from PHAB,

As we close out another year, it seems that most of us are finding some time to reflect on the past year's accomplishments, events we have celebrated, new people we have met, and lessons we have learned. When we do that at PHAB, we continue to marvel at how hard our public health departments and their partners are working to improve the conditions in which their communities can be healthy. We have seen and read about many health departments that have met their goals and are working to set new ones. We remain honored and impressed to be working with public health colleagues across the country.
In this newsletter you will read about some of our Board of Directors' accomplishments and decisions made individually and collectively. You will also read about some of PHAB's significant decisions and accomplishments. PHAB also
introduces the first in a series of regular reports focusing on what PHAB is learning by analyzing accreditation data. And don't forget to read about the first birthday of our newest division, the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI). 
As you look toward the end of 2016, we hope you will think about your accomplishments and goals for 2017. As you do that, PHAB hopes you consider accreditation as part of your public health life!

Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN
PHAB President and CEO
Issue #65
December 2016/January 2017 
In This Issue
 Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN
President and CEO

PHAB Board of Directors Holds Quarterly Meeting in December

PHAB's Board of Directors held their quarterly meeting in Alexandria, VA, on December 7-8, 2016. Some highlights of that meeting include:
  • PHAB achieved another solid, clean fiscal audit.
  • PHAB's overall financial status remains solid, and PHAB continues to reduce its overall operating expenses while still providing high quality services. Fiscal responsibility is a strong value at PHAB!
  • The Board verified that the July 1, 2016 fee structure for initial accreditation will not increase for 2017.
  • Carol Moehrle, Rex Archer, and Hugh Tilson were reappointed to the Board of Directors for another three-year term. Rex Archer and Hugh Tilson were reappointed to the Accreditation Committee as well.
  • Based on its learning to date, PHAB has changed the focus of the Evaluation and Quality Improvement Committee (EQI) to specifically work on the QI aspects of the accredited health departments' annual reports. The Board approved a revised charter for the committee and the appointment of three new members: Sara Warren, Performance and Quality Improvement Consultant with the Bureau of Performance Assessment and Improvement, Florida Department of Health; David Souleles, Deputy Agency Director of Public Health Services, Orange County Health Care Agency; and Colleen Svoboda, Administrator for the Community Health and Performance Management Branch, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
  • The Board also approved a revised charter for the Research Advisory Council (RAC) to include evaluation. This change included moving two people, Dr. Mary Davis (NC) and Dr. Brenda Joly (ME) from the EQI Committee to the RAC.
  • The Board participated in some business planning for its newest division, the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI).
  • NORC provided some results from the third year of the external accreditation evaluation. This information will be provided to the field on PHAB's website in the near future.
  • The Board held a conversation with Ed Hunter, President/CEO, de Beaumont Foundation, for the purpose of identifying areas where PHAB and de Beaumont are aligned.
  • The Board heard a presentation on the STAR Community Rating Index and Accreditation from Hilari Varnadore, Executive Director, STAR Communities.
  • The Board approved the reaccreditation requirements for full publication in early 2017. Stay tuned for all of that information soon!

Dr. Paul Halverson Named to National Healthy People 2030 Advisory Committee

Dr. Halverson
PHAB Board Member Paul K. Halverson, DrPH, founding dean and professor at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has been named to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030.

The advisory committee will provide advice and recommendations for objectives for the Healthy People 2030 initiative, scheduled for release in 2020. The initiative establishes disease-prevention and health-promotion objectives for the nation over the next decade.

"I am honored to have been chosen to serve on the Healthy People 2030 committee," Dr. Halverson said in the press release announcing his appointment. "This is an important time to reflect on the nation's health and how previous Healthy People goals have influenced programs and policies. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to establish science-based, measurable objectives to monitor the health of our country in the coming decade."

PHAB Says Goodbye to a Long-Time Board Member
Dr. Guerra
One of the most difficult experiences that PHAB faces from time to time is when members of the Board of Directors complete their term of service. Such is the case with Dr. Fernando A. Guerra, MD, MPH, FAAP, of San Antonio, Texas, who has served on the PHAB Board of Directors since 2008. Dr. Guerra is the former Director of Health for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and a long-time practicing pediatrician. He also served his community as a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and as an Adjunct Professor of Public Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Dr. Guerra is well known in public health circles nationally as he has also served on numerous prestigious public health committees.

As one PHAB Board member stated, "Dr. Guerra has been the conscience of PHAB's work, bringing a consistent voice for issues of health equity and social determinants of health to all of our work." PHAB thanks Dr. Guerra for his eight years of service on our Board and looks forward to working with him as he becomes the first member of the PHAB Board of Directors' Senior Advisory Council.

PHAB Awards Accreditation to 12 More Health Departments
The number of governmental public health departments that meet rigorous national standards of performance continues to climb. In November, PHAB awarded national accreditation status to 11 local public health departments and one state health department. With the November accreditation decisions, another 3.3 million people can now be assured that the programs and services they receive from their health departments are as responsive as possible to the needs of their communities.

PHAB's accreditation program has quickly grown to become the reliable national standard for public health, bringing the benefits of being served by a PHAB-accredited health department to more than 173 million people, or 56 percent of the U.S. population.

National accreditation status was awarded Nov. 15, 2016 to:

*    Cleveland County Health Department, Norman, OK
*    Flathead City-County Health Department, Kalispell, MT
*    Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services Public Health, Eureka, CA
*    Pasadena Public Health Department, Pasadena, CA
*    Pueblo City-County Health Department, Pueblo, CO
*    Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment, Greeley, CO
*    Barry-Eaton District Health Department, Charlotte, MI
*    Dallas County Health and Human Services, Dallas, TX
*    Garrett County Health Department, Oakland, MD
*    Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, Charleston, WV
*    Montana DPHHS Public Health and Safety Division, Helena, MT
*    Yamhill County Public Health, McMinnville, OR

Read the press release here.

Dallas County Health and Human Services staff celebrate their health department's accreditation at a Nov. 22 reception. Each employee pictured played a key role in the department's journey to achieving national accreditation.

Dr. Jose Montero to Lead OSTLTS
Dr. Montero
José T. Montero, MD, MHCDS, has been named director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS), and CDC Deputy Director.

Most recently, Dr. Montero served as vice president of Population Health and Health Systems Integration at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene, NH. He is a former president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, led the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services for seven years, and served as New Hampshire's state epidemiologist. He also worked closely with CDC as chair of an OSTLTS sub-committee and as a member of a CDC advisory committee to prevent tuberculosis in healthcare settings.

"Jose's extensive leadership experience at the state level makes him an ideal choice to guide CDC's mission to support and strengthen America's health departments and public health system," CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Friedan wrote in a letter announcing his appointment.

R&E Update: A Look at Measures Commonly Included in Action Plans

With this report, PHAB Research and Evaluation Director Jessica Kronstadt, MPP, introduces the first in a series of regular reports focusing on what PHAB is learning by analyzin g accreditation data.
Jessica Kronstadt

PHAB's Research and Evaluation team is engaged in many activities to improve the accreditation process and assess its benefits. In addition to overseeing an external evaluation, we also analyze the data generated through the accreditation process. One topic of interest is looking for trends in how health departments perform on the Standards and Measures.

Based on a review of completed Site Visit Reports for more than 170 health departments assessed under Version 1.0 of the Standards and Measures, we've identified several measures that are commonly assessed as either Not Demonstrated or Slightly Demonstrated and are often included in Action Plans. Reviewing the conformity comments in the Site Visit Reports helped us further identify the reasons why health departments receive those assessments.

Two of those measures are in Domain 9, related to performance management and quality improvement:
*     9.1.3: Use a process to determine and report on achievement of goals, objectives, and measures set by the performance management system
*    9.2.2: Implement quality improvement activities

Measure 9.1.3 is sometimes not demonstrated because health departments do not provide documentation of how they analyze progress toward achieving goals and objectives and identify areas that require focused improvement processes. For Measure 9.2.2, the quality improvement activities submitted in e-PHAB do not always demonstrate implementation of the quality improvement plan. Sometimes examples that are submitted for these measures are related to clinical processes. For these and all measures, it is important for health departments to provide examples that are consistent with PHAB's focus on population health.
Two additional measures that are often assessed as Not or Slightly Demonstrated and included as requirements for Action Plans address the implementation of the community health improvement plan (CHIP) (5.2.4) and the implementation of the strategic plan (5.3.3). Health departments that are not able to demonstrate conformity with those measures often have new CHIPs or strategic plans and therefore have had limited time to be able to document how they monitor them. It is important to note that the Version 1.5 language around those measures provides more explanation of how health departments can demonstrate implementation of new plans. (We will monitor performance on the Version 1.5 measures once a greater number of health departments have been accredited using this version of the measures.)

PHAB encourages health departments to carefully review all of the requirements for each measure when selecting documentation. If you have questions about interpretation of these or other measures, please contact your Accreditation Specialist or Robin Wilcox, PHAB Chief Program Officer. For additional information about PHAB's research and evaluation work, please contact Jessica Kronstadt, PHAB Director of Research and Evaluation.

Think Tank Continues to Explore Accreditation Pathway Product for Small Health Departments
PHAB's Board of Directors continues to consider options for assisting smaller health departments in their accreditation journey.

While the Board of Directors held a robust discussion during its December Board meeting this month, no final decisions were made. Additional exploration will occur over the coming months. Stay tuned to the green "Hot Topics" icon on PHAB's home page, and the PHAB e-newsletter for updates about this important discussion.

Accreditation, Innovation Buzz Abounds at APHA Annual Meeting
Dr. Karen DeSalvo, left, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, joined PHAB's Kaye Bender for a photo at the PHAB booth at APHA's 2016 Annual Meeting on Nov. 1, 2016, in Denver.
The American Public Health Association's 144th Annual Meeting & Exposition, held Oct. 29- Nov. 2, 2016 in Denver, featured a range of sessions tied to accreditation, quality improvement, and performance management. In addition, PHAB's newest division, the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI), was on hand to share the many ways PHNCI is leading the charge to foster innovations in public health practice that promise to advance a culture of health.

During the four-day event, hundreds of attendees visited the PHAB and PHNCI booths, which were side-by-side in the Expo Hall, to gather information and chat with staff. PHAB exhibits at a number of conferences each year. A preliminary schedule of conference events for 2017 will be available on PHAB's website in January.

PHNCI Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
PHAB's newest division, the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI), is celebrating its first anniversary, and change is on the horizon. To stay informed about tools and resources, funding opportunities and other news from PHNCI, be sure to check the center's soon-to-be-launched website, and subscribe to its e-newsletter. There will be a number of exciting announcements during the next few months.

Applicant Learning Events Held in September and November
Dozens of new Accreditation Coordinators participated in PHAB's in-person Applicant Learning Events in September and November. Every new Accreditation Coordinator is required to attend PHAB's in-person Applicant Learning Event after their health department has submitted its application. Training is continually updated to reflect experiences gained from site visits and annual reports. 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. For information, contact PHAB Accreditation Education Specialist David Stone at

PHAB Rolls Out New Accreditation Activity Map on Website

PHAB's new Accreditation Activity map includes data and information requested by the field
PHAB recently unveiled a new, interactive Accreditation Activity Map. The new map, developed and updated monthly by PHAB Accreditation Manager Marita Chilton, MPH, includes additional data and information that was requested by the field. In addition to identifying the location of accredited health departments, the map's multiple layers allow users to view accredited departments by type while seeing a complete list of accredited departments. Each accredited marker on the map displays the version of the PHAB Standards and Measures under which the health department was accredited, as well as the accreditation date and the health department's address. Below the map, a table displaying aggregated accreditation activity allows users to see both data for accredited departments and departments still in progress.

In addition to the interactive map, users can download a printable map for use in presentations. Both maps are updated monthly. View the map at

Accreditation Works!
A new "Accreditation Works!" feature has been added to PHAB's home page. Co-authored by Sylvia Pirani, MS, MPH; Christopher F. Davis, PhD, MPH, CPH; and Isaac H. Michaels, MPH, the article discusses how the pursuit of accreditation helped the New York State Department of Health implement a more deliberate approach to performance management and quality improvement.

To support "Accreditation 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.
National Indian Health Board Honors Cherokee Nation's Lisa Pivec
Lisa Pivec, left, receives recognition award from NIHB Board Member Marty Wafford.
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) in September honored Cherokee Nation's Senior Director of Public Health Lisa Pivec, MS, for advancing American Indian health in Indian Country. Under Pivec's leadership, the Cherokee Nation's public health office --  Cherokee Nation Health Services in Tahlequah, Oklahoma -- in August became the first Tribal health department in the country to receive accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board.

Pivec, a Cherokee Nation citizen, has worked for the Cherokee Nation for more than 25 years.

"Pivec and her team ...  are now the first accredited Tribal public health department," NIHB officials said in a statement announcing Ms. Pivec's award. "This task is no small accomplishment and represents thousands of hours of work, coordination and no small amount of perseverance. Pivec's hard work and dedication to public health accreditation is leading the way for Oklahoma and all of Indian Country."

ASTHO, NIHB Announce Accreditation Support Initiative Awardees
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) recently announced the names of the sites selected to receive Accreditation Support Initiative (ASI) awards. The awards, made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, will support the selected sites to advance their readiness to apply for accreditation through PHAB.

ASTHO announced the selection of three territorial and freely associated state health agencies for the Territorial ASI:

*    Commonwealth Health Corporation, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
*    Guam Department of Public Health Services and Social Services, Guam
*    Ministry of Health, Republic of the Marshall Islands

NIHB announced the selection of eight Tribal health departments for the Tribal ASI:

*    Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma
*    Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon
*    Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon
*    Ho-Chunk Nation, Wisconsin
*    Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan
*    Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Mississippi
*    Osage Nation, Oklahoma
*    Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona
ASTHO and NIHB will assist each ASI site in various ways, including providing technical assistance, resources, tools, and opportunities for peer-to-peer networking.

PHF Webinar to Introduce New TRAIN Learning Network Platform
Join the Public Health Foundation (PHF) on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time for a webinar to introduce the TRAIN Learning Network's new platform. This new platform will make it even easier to find and take courses and trainings to support PHAB Domains 8 and 9 on TRAIN. The webinar will demonstrate new features that will be available to learners on the national TRAIN website at starting on Monday, January 30, 2017. New features include a mobile-friendly platform, modern design, simplified account creation, improved advanced course search, streamlined learning records, and more. Learn more about the webinar and register now to participate.

Population Health Improvement Partners Announces Resources for Accreditation Readiness
Population Health Improvement Partners provides resources to help health departments build their organizational capacity for continuous quality improvement and performance management. Specifically, Improvement Partners assists health departments with:
*    Creating and implementing a quality improvement (QI) plan, including building a sustainable system for enhancing staff capacity to conduct QI projects and use QI methods and tools in their daily work, as well as leadership's capacity to support QI agency wide;
*    Integrating their QI plan with other agency plans, such as a strategic plan, community health improvement plan, and workforce development plan;
*    Creating and using a performance management system, including developing and using performance dashboards, developing key staff to serve as QI coaches/experts, and creating and implementing a QI Council; and
*    Using advanced measurement and evaluation strategies, including economic impact and return on investment analyses.

For more information, visit

Dr. Bender Named 2016 Distinguished Alumnus
Dr. Bender receives award from Dr. Joey P. Granger, dean of the graduate school.

PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, in October was named 2016 Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Mississippi's School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences. Dr. Bender served as Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Nursing from 2003 to 2009 and also holds a PhD in clinical health sciences from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She accepted the honor at a luncheon with students and faculty on Oct. 28, 2016.

"The skills I learned here in the PhD program and in the dissertation that I was allowed to do have allowed me to understand and lay the groundwork for the kinds of evaluation we need to do [at PHAB]," Dr. Bender told UMMC students during her speech. Read the full story here.

PHAB Welcomes Two New Staff Members
PHAB is pleased to announce the addition of two new staff members in October. Triona Gateley, MPA, and April Harris, MPH, CHES, have joined the PHAB team as Accreditation Specialists, bringing a wealth of public health department and accreditation experience to their new roles.

Triona Gateley
In her new role as an Accreditation Specialist, Triona Gateley will work collaboratively with other Accreditation Specialists in handling the technical, review, and logistical aspects of PHAB's national accreditation process. Triona most recently worked as Performance Improvement and Accreditation Coordinator at Portsmouth Health District in Portsmouth, Virginia. Prior to that, she served as the Community Health Assessment/Community Health Improvement Plan Coordinator for the nationally accredited Thomas Jefferson Health District in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Triona holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.
April Harris
April Harris has joined PHAB as an Accreditation Specialist focused on accredited health departments. In this role, she will be responsible for serving as the main point of contact between PHAB and accredited health departments in order to support them in maintaining their accreditation. She will also be working to support PHAB's reaccreditation program, including assisting accredited health departments as they prepare for reaccreditation. A long-time supporter of PHAB's work, she has served on PHAB's Evaluation and Quality Improvement Committee, participated in PHAB's QI Leaders Academy, and served on five Site Visit teams.

Prior to joining PHAB, April spent 11 years at the nationally accredited Three Rivers District Health Department in Kentucky, most recently in the role of Accreditation and Quality Improvement Coordinator. She received her Masters of Public Health at the University of Kentucky and her Bachelor of Science at Western Kentucky University.
WORD ON THE STREET: A Roundup of Accreditation Questions & Answers

1. What is the process for submitting a complaint to PHAB about an accredited health department?
Accreditation of a health department is based on demonstration of conformity with established PHAB Standards and Measures and is an indication of their capacity to carry out the ten essential public health services and selected core functions. PHAB can accept written complaints about an accredited health department that are specific to a possible lack of conformity with PHAB's Standards and Measures. PHAB does not accept testimony, letters, phone calls, or other means of communication from the public about an individual health department while their accreditation process is in progress. National accreditation does not address local political or personnel issues. PHAB's complaint procedure and form are located at
2. I work at a health department which has some staff who serve as Site Visitors for PHAB. How much information are those Site Visitors able to share with us as we prepare for accreditation ourselves?
PHAB's Site Visitors can share insights or observations they glean about the process as they serve in that role, as long as they do not share any specific information about the health department they are reviewing, even the name of the health department. All PHAB Site Visitors have signed a confidentiality statement that states they will not share the health department's information outside of the PHAB review team and PHAB staff. When the accreditation decision has been completed by PHAB, if a Site Visitor wishes to request copies of any of the health department's information, they can do so by contacting the health department to request that information.

2. 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, Triona Gateley, 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; Triona may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 124; Jennifer may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext. 107; and Brittan at or 703-778-4549, ext. 115.

April Harris, to talk with accredited health departments about maintaining accreditation and to assist accredited health departments as they prepare for reaccreditation. She may be reached at or 703-778-4549, ext.125.

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.

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