Members of the Butts County Health Department were honored Jan. 13 by the Butts County Board of Commissioners as District 4 Public Health, which the health department is part of, has received national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).

The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments. District 4 Public Health is one of the first of hundreds of health departments across the country that are preparing to seek accreditation through PHAB, the independent organization that administers the national public health accreditation program.

“We are pleased and excited to be one of the first health departments in the nation and one of 5 health districts Georgia to achieve national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement,” said Olugbenga Obasanjo, District Health Director, in a news release. “The accreditation process helps to ensure that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of our community. With accreditation, District 4 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.

“We are now one of the 243 local health authorities out of 3,000 across the country who have been recognized for meeting the standards to receive the public health accreditation,” said Butts County Assistant County Manager Michael Brewer. “It involved a lot of people with our local health department in Jackson, as well as the other health departments throughout our district. It took a lot of teamwork and effort from the members of the health board and is really a tremendous effort to get this kind of honor to be an accredited health department. They do a lot in the community that people don’t always recognize, and sometimes they work a lot of stressful hours, especially when the flu season comes and there are a lot of vaccinations and things like that.”

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, hundreds of 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.

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