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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

DPH Media Contact:
Tim Turane
Email: DPHMedia@Delaware.gov

Date: August 31, 2022


DOVER, DE (Aug 31, 2022) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing that it has been re-accredited by the national Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The Board formally issued Delaware's continued accreditation status on Aug. 18. In maintaining its accreditation status for another five years, DPH has demonstrated that it meets PHAB's quality standards and measures. Delaware is among only 22 percent of the accredited public health departments in the country to earn continued accreditation this year.

"After 21/2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delawareans have learned how important it is to have a strong public health response in our state," said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik. "I am grateful to the Public Health Accreditation Board for this re-accreditation, but I am especially grateful to the employees of the Division of Public Health for the work they have done and continue to do during the pandemic, and the work they do every day to evolve, improve and advance the health of Delawareans. This is another way we are building a healthier and stronger Delaware."

PHAB's accreditation program, which receives support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation's governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance.

"I am very pleased that DPH has been re-accredited as a Nationally Accredited Public Health agency," said DPH Interim Director Dr. Rick Hong. "During the August 2022 site visit, the PHAB accreditation team particularly praised our policies, procedures, and programs; comprehensive Performance Management system; and efforts to create a culture of evidence-based public health practice and partnership building. Much of the credit goes to the high-performance of our DPH employees. By improving our services and performance, we can be sure we are meeting the public health needs of those we serve as effectively as possible."

Dr. Hong also expressed gratitude to outgoing Associate Deputy Director, Cassandra Codes-Johnson, and Office of Performance Management Director Matthew Whitman for their dedication and tireless work in spearheading the re-accreditation process. Additionally, he recognized the work of former DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay in building a strong foundation within the Division which led to DPH's initial accreditation in June 2016. The press release announcement for this milestone can be found here: https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/pressreleases/2016/dphaccreditation-060816.html.

The CDC identifies accreditation as a critical strategy for strengthening public health infrastructure. To acquire continued accreditation, DPH had to demonstrate how it implements public health services in Delaware, through policies, procedures, practices, programs, and community partnerships. DPH demonstrated success in each of these areas while successfully managing the state's response to a worldwide pandemic.

"We are extremely pleased to be at the point in the accreditation program where the Delaware Division of Public Health, along with many others, are successfully maintaining their five-year accreditation status through PHAB," said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN. "In so doing, these health departments are assuring their communities that the value of accreditation is long-term -- not a one-time recognition -- and that continual improvement is the hallmark of a 21st-century organization." The national accreditation program began in 2011.

Often called the "backbone" of the public health system, public health departments are on the front lines of communities' efforts to protect and promote health and prevent disease and injury. PHAB-accredited health departments demonstrate great leadership by placing their work for peer review, with the goal of using the feedback obtained during the process to improve the services they provide to their communities.

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

About the Public Health Accreditation Board

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health department accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, state, local, Tribal, and territorial levels. For more information, contact PHAB Communications Manager Janalle Goosby at jgoosby@phaboard.org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at www.phaboard.org, and by signing up for the PHAB e-newsletter.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.