The Norwalk Health Department is the first local health department in New England and one of only 44 departments in the country to achieve national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), a designation that recognizes the Health Department as a high-performing department. The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s local, state, Tribal, and territorial public health departments.
“The PHAB program sets a high standard for the operation of a health department,” said Tim Callahan, Director of Health of the Norwalk Health Department. “With the support of the Mayor and Board of Health and the hard work of all of the members of our staff, we demonstrated compliance with all of the 97 measures. I am thankful for the effort and thrilled with the outcome. We are also proud that Norwalk is the first health department in Connecticut to achieve this distinction.”
“I am pleased that Norwalk Health Department has achieved recognition for meeting national standards that promote continuous quality improvement,” said Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “With accreditation, the Health Department is demonstrating increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and partner organizations with which we work.”
The national accreditation program, jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s more than 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures.
Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. In Norwalk, the Health Department provides a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food and water, clean air, and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.
“The Norwalk Health Department 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 peer-review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement, so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people they serve in their communities.”
The national accreditation program was created collaboratively over a 10-year period by hundreds of public health practitioners working at the national, Tribal, state, and local levels. Since the program’s launch in September 2011, nearly 130 health departments have applied to PHAB for accreditation, and hundreds of public health practitioners from across the nation have been trained to serve as volunteer peer site visitors for the program.
“Achieving accreditation indicates that the Norwalk Health Department is dedicated to improving and protecting the health of the community by striving to continuously improve the quality of the services it delivers,” said PHAB Board of Directors Chair Carol Moehrle, MD. “Accreditation also promotes consistency in meeting standards. With an ever-increasing number of health departments now applying for and becoming accredited, you will be able to expect to receive the same quality of public health services wherever you go in the United States.”
About the Norwalk Health Department
Under the direction of the mayor, and with valuable guidance from its six-member Board of Health, the Norwalk Health Department provides a variety of services and programs to fulfill its mission: to prevent and control the spread of disease, promote a healthy environment, and protect the quality of life within its changing community. More information is available at www.norwalkhealth.com.
About the Public Health Accreditation Board
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), established in 2007, 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, and local levels. Learn more about PHAB or sign up for the PHAB e-newsletter by visiting www.phaboard.org.