Public Health Accreditation Board                               For Immediate Release
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                                          Media Contact:
                                          Teddi Nicolaus
                                          PHAB Communications Manager
                                          703-778-4549, x118

Public Health Accreditation Board Awards Five-Year Accreditation to Nine Public Health Departments 
USA MEDDAC Fort Riley Department of Public Health Becomes First U.S. Army Health Department to Achieve National Accreditation Through PHAB 
Alexandria, VA, November 30, 2018 -- Around the nation, public health departments are on the front lines of protecting and improving the health and safety of people and communities. Committed to achieving the highest standards of public health practice, a growing number of health departments are choosing to have their work reviewed against the rigorous national standards of the nonprofit, non-governmental Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). This week, PHAB announced it has awarded national accreditation status to nine more health departments. Accreditation formally recognizes that a health department has demonstrated the capacity and commitment to improve the conditions in which the community can be healthy.          
This week's accreditation announcement means that 73 percent of the U.S. population is now served by a health department that meets PHAB's national standards for delivering quality programs and services to its community. The decisions also herald the attainment of a major milestone for the 10-year-old national accrediting program, as USA MEDDAC Fort Riley Department of Public Health in Fort Riley, Kansas, is the U.S. Army's first public health department to achieve national accreditation. Fort Riley is home to a daytime population of 25,000 people, and the health department's commitment to improving and protecting the health of the people they serve - soldiers, their families, veterans, and the entire extended military community -- is well-represented by their hard work.
"We started as an Army preventive medicine department and transformed into an Army department of public health," said Dr. Donald W. Robinson, COL, FS, the department's Director of Public Health. "Accreditation standards required us not only to rethink how we perform individual tasks, but how to look for new opportunities, how to make a greater health impact on the Fort Riley community, and how to integrate multiple disciplines while collaborating with organizations outside the walls of our installation. It changed us. We now have the awesome responsibility of maintaining public health accreditation standards through research, education, collaboration, and community involvement."  
Marking another significant accreditation milestone, Oneida Nation in Oneida, Wisconsin, this week became the second Tribal health department in the United States to achieve accreditation through PHAB. Cherokee Nation Health Services in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, achieved national accreditation in 2016.
"The Oneida Nation is truly honored to have obtained accreditation status from the Public Health Accreditation Board," said Eric Krawczyk, MPH, MCHES, Community/Public Health Officer for the Oneida Comprehensive Health Division. "We hope that we can be an example for other Tribal Nations to continue to pursue accreditation status. As a Nation, we have seen the benefits that the accreditation process has already had on our programs, services and philosophies."
Since the national accreditation program launched in 2011 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, more than 240 health departments have achieved the prestigious designation. Among them is t he Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), which this week became the 33rd state health department to achieve national accreditation. IDPH Director Gerd W. Clabaugh expressed pride in the health department's accomplishment.
"As a department, our pursuit of accreditation was focused on encouraging staff to think about our work through a quality improvement lens," Clabaugh said. "IDPH's policy-making board, the Iowa State Board of Health, has been very supportive of these efforts. For Iowa, accreditation means the department is a qualified leader on the subject of population health, and is committed to protecting and improving the health of all Iowans as we work toward our vision of healthy Iowans in healthy communities. I'm pleased IDPH has received the recognition that this accreditation brings, and anxious for us to use this as a platform to advance our quality improvement journey."
The number of local health departments awarded accreditation this week also increased, bringing the total number to 209, with hundreds more in the process. Among the newly accredited local health departments is Harris County Public Health Department in Houston, Texas. Commenting on the health department's achievement, Executive Director Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, thanked the department's dedicated staff for their tireless work.
"Achieving accreditation status demonstrates our commitment to excellence while providing an additional lever to drive our cornerstone values - innovation, engagement, and equity," Shah said. "This important journey has enhanced our work to serve Harris County residents by strengthening our community engagement and corresponding activities. We look forward to maintaining this new level of excellence."
Reflecting on this group of newly accredited health departments, PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, said this cohort reflects the diversity of health departments that PHAB seeks to serve.
"Our accreditation process was developed to be applicable to all types of governmental public health departments, regardless of their organizational structure," Dr. Bender said. "In this group, we are so pleased to see the first U.S. Army local installation's public health department achieve accreditation; the second Tribal Nation public health department receive accreditation; as well as one state health department and a total of seven local health departments. We congratulate all of them for their hard work and their mutual commitment to meeting national standards."
National accreditation status was awarded November 20, 2018 to:
  • USA MEDDAC Fort Riley Department of Public Health, Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Greene County Public Health, Xenia, Ohio
  • Harris County Public Health, Houston, Texas
  • Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Oneida Nation, Oneida, Wisconsin
  • Princeton Health Department, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Richland County Health Department, Sidney, Montana
  • Sandusky County Health Department, Fremont, Ohio
  • Scott County Health Department, Davenport, Iowa
For more information, contact Teddi Nicolaus at (703) 778-4549, ext. 118, or email Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at Subscribe to PHAB's e-newsletter by clicking here.
About the Public Health Accreditation Board
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, Tribal, state, local, and territorial levels. For more information, contact Teddi Nicolaus at (703) 778-4549 ext. 118, or email Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at, and by signing up for the PHAB e-newsletter