JACKSON, Miss. – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) announces that it has become a nationally accredited public health department, joining a select group of state health departments that meet rigorous standards of policy, practice and quality improvement. This accreditation is the culmination of an effort that began over three years ago with statewide community collaborations, in-depth assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of agency policies and procedures, and a renewed focus on quality improvement initiatives.
Accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) means that the MSDH provides primary and expert leadership in promoting and protecting the health of communities throughout the state, and that the agency meets or exceeds national standards of public health practices and performance.
“This is an incredible achievement for our agency, and it’s important for the state as a whole because it means we are more accountable and credible to the public, our funders, elected officials and community partners,” said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier.
PHAB officials have spent the last nine months thoroughly reviewing thousands of pieces of documentation demonstrating MSDH’s full range of processes and procedures, from disease investigation and chronic disease prevention to public information and education, community collaboration and partnerships, and quality improvement planning.
“Continuous quality improvement is the keystone of national accreditation. It involves measuring and monitoring all of our programs and discovering ways to be more effective in our mission. This will make us better able to address rates of chronic disease and communicable diseases such as HIV and STDs, and certainly our response in emergencies or disasters,” said Dr. Currier.
“All Mississippians will benefit because accreditation affects the entire range of the services that we provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It means the highest standards for operations that contribute to the quality of your life each and every day – from the water you drink, to the restaurant where you eat, to the daycare or nursing home where your loved ones may be,” she said.
“National accreditation demonstrates that the MSDH uses data to make decisions, that we analyze outcomes, and that we continually monitor and improve all of our programs to best serve Mississippians,” said Dr. Currier. “We are an agency of evidence-based practices and have proved with this accreditation that we are a safe bet for further investment.”
PHAB was created in 2007 to serve as the national public health accrediting body. The national accreditation program was actually launched in 2011. PHAB is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
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