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Public Health Accreditation



The Cambridge Public Health Department is seeking voluntary national accreditation as part of its broader initiative to strengthen agency performance, assure the quality of departmental services, and assure that health department activities reflect the needs of the community. 

To receive national accreditation, state, local, and tribal health departments must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds the public health quality Standards and Measures set by the Public Health Accreditation Board.

Benefits to Cambridge

Adherance to national standards will benefit the Cambridge Public Health Department and the community in many ways, including: 

  • Ensuring that the health department and the city as a whole understand the needs of residents and a can develop successful plans to address those needs.
  • Providing a framework for the health department to  provide the highest quality services possible.
  • Enabling the health department to use existing resources wisely and position the city for future public health funding opportunities.

Core functions and services of U.S. public health departments. Adapted from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Public Health in America, 1994.


Requirements for Accreditation

Health departments seeking national accreditation must: 

  • Complete a Community Health Assessment.
  • Complete a Community Health Improvement Plan.
  • Complete an organization strategic plan for the health department.
  • Demonstrate conformity with the Public Health Accreditation Board's Standards and Measures.

What is Public Health Department Accreditation?

National public health department accreditation consists of adoption of a set of standards, a process to measure health department performance against those standards, and recognition for those departments that meet the standards. Public health accreditation standards define the expectations for all public health departments that seek to become accredited.

Public health department accreditation aims to continuously improve the quality of practice and performance within public health departments. A national public health department accreditation system has been developed because of the desire to continuously improve the quality of service and accountability of health departments to their stakeholders.

Accreditation provides a means for a public health department to identify performance improvement opportunities, enhance management, develop leadership, and strengthen relationships with members of the community.

The accreditation process will challenge the health department to think about its roles and responsibilities and how it fulfills them. It will encourage and stimulate quality and performance improvement in the health department.

Accreditation demonstrates the capacity of the public health department to deliver the three core functions and the ten essential services of public health.