The Mahoning County District Board of Health is hoping a two-day site visit by the Public Health Accreditation Board in January will result in the health department receiving accreditation.
The county health department hopes to become one of the first, if not the first, department in Ohio to successfully complete the voluntary process, said Patricia Sweeney, health commissioner.
The Public Health Accreditation Board is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and protecting the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments, according to its website.
Over the past two years, the county health department management staff prepared hundreds of documents required by the PHAB to establish that services it provides meet national standards in several general areas, Sweeney said.
The areas, or domains, are to determine the health status of the population; investigate health problems and environmental public-health hazards; inform and educate about public-health issues; engage with the community to identify and address health problems; develop public-health policies and plans; enforce public-health laws; promote access to public-health services; maintain a competent public-health work force; evaluate and continuously improve health department processes, programs and interventions; contribute to and apply evidence-based public health; maintain administrative and management capacity; and maintain capacity to engage public-health governing bodies, such as boards of health.
The rewards of accreditation, Sweeney said, are to be recognized as providing a certain level of services, and at some point, perhaps, have an advantage in acquiring grants and programs.