The Norwalk Health Department is proud to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of its accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The Health Department is still the only accredited health department in Connecticut and the only accredited local health department in all of New England. In fact, only 75 of approximately 3,000 health departments across the country hold this distinction.
In short, accreditation shows that the Norwalk Health Department meets extremely high standards of practice; provides important, high-quality programs and services to its community; and continuously works to improve its efficiency and effectiveness to best meet the public’s health needs. In order for the Department to maintain its accreditation, it must always strive to improve its operations.
“Going through the accreditation process really energized the staff, made us all more knowledgeable, and enhanced our level of practice,” explained Tim Callahan, Director of Health. “In the year since we received this honor, we’ve worked hard to formalize best practices and improve all areas of our work. For example, each division developed specific measures to track the quality of their work. We review these measures quarterly, identify areas where we need to make improvements, and hold ourselves accountable to meet our goals and objectives.”
The Department has developed formal plans for quality improvement, performance management, and workforce development. Since becoming accredited on June 18, 2014, staff conducted projects in various program areas to increase efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and better engage its partners.
It’s easy to miss the many ways the Health Department touches the lives of Norwalkers. If you eat at a restaurant in Norwalk, swim in Norwalk beaches or pools, or enjoy a relaxing appointment at a nail salon, the Health Department has done its best to make sure that experience is safe and sanitary. In addition, Health Department staff ensures that you have access to vaccines for adults and kids, useful information about and resources for healthy living, and affordable testing and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases. Behind the scenes, the Health Department also works closely with police, fire, and other city officials to prepare for public health emergencies. These are just a few of the services the Department offers to those who live, work, learn, and play in Norwalk, and its status as an accredited health department lets the public know that those services are efficient, effective, and continuously improving.