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Authors

  1. Kennedy, Mallory MPH
  2. Heffernan, Megan MPH
  3. Gonick, Shannon A. BA
  4. Siegfried, Alexa L. MPH

Abstract

Public health emergency preparedness is a critical health department function. The national public health accreditation program may enhance public health preparedness by building the capabilities and overall capacity of health departments and also by improving capabilities specific to preparedness. This study presents findings from a survey sent to health departments 1 year after achieving accreditation, with a focus on accreditation outcomes related to public health preparedness. Between April 2014 and February 2020, 214 health departments responded to the survey. Most respondents indicated that accreditation had positively influenced their health department's performance within each of the selected topic areas that may influence public health preparedness: workforce development; quality improvement efforts; use of evidence and data to drive decisions; and partnerships, accountability, and credibility among external stakeholders. Enhancing overall health department capacity through accreditation may support the ability of health departments to prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.