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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: A Road Map to Accreditation for Local Health Departments

Balancing competing imperatives of conserving scarce resources while improving organizational performance and community health, many local health departments (LHDs) have decided to pursue national, voluntary public health accreditation as a guide to improvement, but how to do so in the most efficient way possible remains a question for many. Dr. Angela Carman, assistant professor of health, behavior & society at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, is the first and corresponding author of  the resulting paper “Pursuing Public Health Accreditation: A Focus on HOW”, published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

To answer the “how” question regarding LHD accreditation, investigators employed a participatory action research approach in which LHD directors and accreditation coordinators from seven accredited and three late-stage accreditation-ready Kentucky LHD jurisdictions participated.

Participants organized a set of accreditation deliverables into a chronological sequencing of each site’s accreditation readiness process, which was then coded by researchers to identify similarities and differences.

Recognizing the impact of staff availability, staff skill sets, training, and available financial resources on the pursuit of accreditation, participants determined that aggregating lessons learned into a flowchart highlighting the interconnectedness of accreditation deliverables could produce a road map for LHDs. Accreditation deliverables could be attempted in a logical, efficient order particularly valuable to small LHDs with limited resources and yet adaptable for those jurisdictions able to devote more resources to the process.

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