This project, for the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), investigated opportunities and challenges related to public health agency accreditation among rural health departments. The objectives of the study were to:
- Identify salient barriers to rural public health agency accreditation;
- Explore perceived benefits of accreditation among rural public health agencies;
- Identify potential approaches to rural public health agency accreditation; and
- Assess the utility of state health department (SHD) accreditation in assuring access to public health services in those communities not served by a local health department (LHD).
The overall goals of the project were to identify why state and local health departments serving rural areas seek accreditation, how those agencies are likely to approach accreditation, and accreditation strategies for communities not served by LHDs. Project activities included a comprehensive literature review, convening an expert panel of rural LHD leaders to discuss issues of public health agency accreditation, and follow-up telephone interviews with state and local public health leaders.