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Press Releases - 8/1/05



Jennifer Hudman NACCHO, (301) 652-1558
Paula Steib, ASTHO, (202) 202-371-909


Washington D.C. (August 1, 2005)—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) announced formal efforts today to explore development of a voluntary accreditation system for state and local health departments.

As part of the project, a steering committee will be established to write "definitive recommendations" for structuring the system. The committee also will evaluate the feasibility and desirability of accrediting state and local health departments. The steering committee's recommendations will be released in one year.

"Governmental public health departments must be held accountable to the public they serve," stated Patrick Libbey, executive director of NACCHO. "This project provides a critical opportunity to fully explore accreditation and related means to accomplish this very important task," he added.

"It is important that public health professionals do a better job of conveying to all Americans the importance of public health practice in their everyday lives. An outcome oriented process such as a well-designed program of accreditation may be critical in that regard," said ASTHO Executive Director George E. Hardy, Jr., MD, MPH. "We look forward to working with our partners in this endeavor to explore how such a program would best be accomplished."

Assisting the steering committee will be workgroups on each of several key aspects of an accreditation system: governance and implementation; standards development; financing and incentives; research and evaluation; and communications. Steering committee members will include local and governmental public health officials who have experience with accreditation, performance standards, and other relevant activities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are funding the project.

NACCHO is the national organization representing the nation's nearly 3,000 local health departments. These agencies work every day on the front lines to protect and promote the health of their communities. NACCHO develops resources and programs and promotes national policies that support effective local public health practice.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is the national nonprofit organization representing the state and territorial public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia. ASTHO's members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy, and to assuring excellence in state-based public health practice.