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For Immediate Release
May 31, 2016

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356 or

DHHS Division of Public Health Achieves National Accreditation


Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board. Nebraska now joins 18 other state health departments that have achieved this distinction since the accreditation process officially launched in 2011.
Public health departments play a critical role in the health of people and communities across Nebraska. The purpose of the national accreditation program is to improve and protect public health by advancing quality and performance.
“It’s an honor for Nebraska to be nationally recognized for standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “A more efficient and effective state government is a priority for my administration. The accreditation process helps ensure our state’s public health programs and services are meeting the needs of Nebraska communities and our citizens.”

“No matter how well we’re doing, we can always do better so we challenged ourselves to become nationally accredited. Accreditation shows we are a high-performing public health department that is helping Nebraskans live healthier lives and demonstrates our accountability and credibility to those we work with and the people we serve. This is a major accomplishment for our public heath team and I’m proud of them.” said Courtney Phillips, DHHS CEO. 

The accreditation process is a major undertaking. A health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment to ensure it meets or exceeds quality standards and measures.  DHHS’ Division of Public Health started its accreditation readiness process in 2010.

To prepare for accreditation, the Division implemented several performance and quality improvement strategies including a State Health Improvement Plan. Nebraska has already accomplished almost 70 percent of the activities identified in the plan to help improve the health and quality of life for Nebraskans like expanding cancer screening programs and the number of worksite wellness programs in the state.  Stakeholder input also resulted in a Division Strategic Plan and Quality Improvement Plan.

"Through their achievement of national public health department accreditation, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services joins only 18 other state health departments in assuring to their residents that excellence matters,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Their staff have worked hard to achieve this recognition, and they were especially recognized for their work in assessing the health status of their population and in developing plans and partnerships to improve selected health status indicators, for having a strong relationship with their stakeholders, and for implementing the best public health practices available. Their work should lay a strong foundation for the future of public health in Nebraska!"

A 2015 evaluation report found that 96 percent of health departments that had been accredited for one year agreed or strongly agreed that accreditation had stimulated quality improvement and performance improvement opportunities, improved management processes used by the leadership team, stimulated greater accountability and transparency, helped them to document their capacity to deliver core functions and essential public health services and allowed them to better identify their strengths and weaknesses.  

Public health accreditation efforts are happening across the entire state public health system.  DHHS’ Division of Public Health is providing support to local health departments going through the accreditation process as well. Panhandle Public Health District just received accreditation and East Central District Health Department was nationally accredited in March. 

To learn more about public health accreditation, go to