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September 7, 2021 – Jill Blake, Nevada County Public Health Director, announced today that the Nevada County Public Health Department (NCPHD) has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). “It is truly an honor to be recognized nationally for meeting these very high standards of excellence,” Blake said.

The national accreditation program, jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s 3,000+ public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a peer-reviewed rigorous assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds these quality standards and measures. Participation in the PHAB accreditation program is optional. Health departments that achieve PHAB accreditation join an elite group throughout the state and the nation.

“On average, it takes a local health department 3-5 years to achieve accreditation. We officially kicked off our accreditation process in late 2014 and finished in October 2019. The final phase of the process is a three-day site visit, which was scheduled for May 2020 and was, of course, delayed due to the pandemic,” said Blake. “It is a long road we have travelled, finding great value in a lengthy process that helped us to identify our strengths as well as areas where we could improve our performance.”

Accreditation is maintained for five years. Nevada County Public Health becomes the 21st local health department in California (of the state’s 61 eligible local health departments) to have achieved accreditation status to date. “I am incredibly proud of our team for their dedication to meeting these nationally recognized standards,” said County Executive Officer Alison Lehman. “This is an acknowledgement of the Public Health department’s deep understanding of our community’s health needs and commitment to providing high-quality, accessible services to our residents.”

“The value of becoming nationally accredited through PHAB extends far beyond the interior walls of the health department,” said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN. “People living and working in communities served by these health departments can be assured that their health department is strong and has the capacity to protect and promote their health. Just going through the accreditation process itself helps health departments pinpoint the areas that are critical to improving the work they do for their communities.”

Often called the “backbone” of the public health system, local public health departments across the nation provide services to promote healthy behaviors; prevent diseases and injuries; and prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, as well as work with partners in all sectors to reduce health disparities.

Director Blake concluded, “I want to thank the department’s amazing staff for their hard work and continued commitment to this process to achieve excellence. We will continue to look for innovative ways to improve what we do as we maintain accreditation over time. Nothing would make us happier or more satisfied than to realize our vision in which all of our Nevada County communities are healthy, safe, equitable, and thriving.”

To learn more about PHAB and the accreditation standards achieved in Nevada County, visit www.phaboard.org.