Illinois is one of only eight states whose public health departments are accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board.
The impetus for the department pursuing this accreditation – last year, in the previous administration – was a realization that “in public health – and, indeed, in government – is what matters is quality and accountability,” says IDPH's director, Dr. Nirav Shah. “Going through the accreditation process in and of itself is an exercise in quality improvement. But the process of now having been accredited means that we can say with confidence that our internal policies and controls have been vetted, they've been standardized, and they're in compliance with national and international best practices in public health.”
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It sounds good, though it does not exactly affect those of you with, for example, a doctor visit scheduled today.
“We like to think of ourselves as operating at one level above the doctor-patient relationship,” Shah explains. “Our goal is to ensure that our population remains healthy and free from communicable diseases such as measles and mumps, as well as (conditions such as) obesity and heart disease. What accreditation does is it helps us put into place a set of quality measures that ensure that the programs and services that we provide are continually being assessed and improved on a periodic basis.”
The Public Health Accreditation Board's program is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.