We’re fully committed to achieving national public health accreditation and are well on our way.  Accreditation will bring us a gold star for the work we’re doing to meet the ten essential public health standards and will validate our collaborative relationships with our partners and our governing body.  Our efforts are led by a steering committee made up of our senior leadership team including Dr. Janet Mullen, Don Herrington, Sheila Sjolander, Carol Vack, Dr. Cara Christ, Dr. Khaleel Hussaini and Pragathi Tummala…  who provide oversight and guidance to the Managing for Excellence program to make sure we’re on track.  I’m happy to report that we’re on track for applying for accreditation at the end of 2013.   It’s a complicated process, but I want to touch on some highlights. 

Before we can even apply, we have to complete three prerequisites: a Strategic Plan, State Health Assessment, and a State Health Improvement Plan.  Our strategic plan is done, and is being updated annually.  The State Health Assessment is currently underway, with each of our counties conducting their own community health assessments in order to identify for themselves the health priorities for their communities.  Based on these results we’ll work with our state partners to create a State Health Improvement Plan in the spring to identify strategies and resources to address the issues that rise to the top.  By working with our partners to collaborate, we’re strengthening the public health infrastructure and building relationships that will continue on beyond accreditation.  When we work with people and build a team of strong partners, the relationships we create will ensure sustained success for our mission.  The team win is so much more valuable in the long run. 

We’ve also begun the process of collecting all the evidence we’ll need to demonstrate compliance with national standards for public health accreditation.  Twelve domain teams have begun their work, led by Dr. Khaleel Hussaini, Jessica Rigler, Sheila Sjolander, Carol Vack, Tom Salow, Patricia Tarango, Karen Sell, Tifney Tihey, Bernard Sanden, Dr. Janet Mullen, Jennifer Botsford, and Colby Bower.  Many of you will be tapped by these team leads to help gather the evidence we need to provide the documents to demonstrate compliance with the required standards and measures that are part of each domain. 

While we’re jumping through the necessary hoops to prove that we’re consistently providing the 10 essential public health standards, we’re accomplishing much more than that.  The road to accreditation will continue to bring forth opportunities for advancing our agency, building stronger partnerships, and increasing employee engagement- resulting in better public health outcomes.