The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) announced today that it has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). This is the first time LLCHD has received national accreditation, which has been available to public health departments since 2011. Fewer than 200 health departments nationally have achieved this status.
"By achieving accreditation, our Health Department is demonstrating increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and partner organizations with which we work," said Interim Health Director Charlotte Burke. She credited former Health Director Judy Halstead for her leadership on the accreditation process, which took about two years to complete.
The accreditation process involves measuring a health department's performance against a set of nationally recognized standards. The goal of the voluntary program is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of public health departments. LLCHD is the fourth health department in Nebraska to become accredited, joining the State Department of Health and Human Services, the Panhandle Public Health Department and the East Central District Health Department. The accreditation is good for five years, and health departments may apply for reaccreditation.
Burke said meeting accreditation standards benefits our entire community because the focus shifts to evaluating how well the department and the investment of community resources are working to improve residents' health.
"In our community, youth smoking rates are declining, childhood injuries are lower, food safety is high, air and water quality is maintained, and waste is properly handled," she said. "The community is working together to reduce chronic disease by supporting and encouraging physical activity and healthy eating. It's gratifying to watch these improvements become our new standard and part of our department's culture."