The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency achieved national accreditation for public health services from the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) on May 17, 2016.
This accreditation signifies that the County has demonstrated conformity with national standards to provide essential public health services, which include investigating public health problems such as foodborne illness, active tuberculosis and communicable disease; educating the public about public health issues like Alzheimer’s disease, chronic disease and maternal and child health issues; enforcing public health laws and regulations related to beach closures, hazardous materials and restaurant inspections; and preparing for and responding to public health threats, emergencies and disasters such as wildfires, Ebola and Zika virus.
Accreditation encompasses all dimensions of public health, including fostering partnerships through Live Well San Diego, the County’s vision of a region that is building better health, living safely and thriving. Live Well San Diego has established over 190 recognized community partners that have made a commitment to advance collective impact in San Diego County.
The Health and Human Services Agency has worked collaboratively with community partners from various sectors to meet accreditation standards, which include the following:
Advisory Councils – to seek input from local experts in the community to participate in boards or councils to further advance public health programs (e.g., Health Services Advisory Board and HIV Health Services Planning Council).
Businesses – to develop worksite wellness programs and provide public health services (e.g., immunization clinics at local markets and corner store conversions to provide healthy foods to the community).
Cities and Government – to address public health policies, systems and environmental changes (e.g., smoke-free ordinances, built environment to make streets walkable and increase physical activity).
Hospitals – to enhance access to healthcare services, detect and respond to disease outbreaks, and assess community needs in order to improve population health.
Live Well San Diego Regional Leadership Teams – to develop a Community Health Improvement Plan to address issues in the community.
Schools – to decrease BMI rates to address childhood obesity in the Chula Vista Elementary School District; establish Safe Routes To Schools with local government, city planners and community volunteers; create nutrition standards and develop community gardens.
Universities – to research and evaluate programs, establish best-practices and provide students internship and mentoring opportunities to advance workforce development.
PHAB site reviewers commented on the community’s appreciation of Live Well San Diego. The County “has strong ties to the community residents as well as community partners. Partners acknowledge and own Live Well San Diego through their engagement with the regional leadership teams as well as infusing it throughout their own organizations."
In addition, PHAB site reviewers remarked on the County’s strengths of internal Live Well San Diego branding, strategic alignment with the Agency and County Operational Plan, use of data to inform interventions, utilization of evidence-base practices and evaluation, and commitment to a culture of quality improvement.
Launched in 2011, national public health accreditation is a rigorous process for state, tribal, local and territorial jurisdictions which aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and ultimately transforming the quality and performance. To date, 134 public health departments and one integrated local public health department system have achieved accreditation through PHAB. The County of San Diego is one of six accredited health departments in California.