As soon as the health department accreditation movement started in early 2010 we quickly recognized that statewide public health accreditation could substantially help us with our goal of achieving improvements in public health outcomes in AZ. Our first task was to scope out the resources we’d need to achieve statewide accreditation and then tap into some funds to make it happen.
When the CDC’s National Public Health Improvement Initiative funding became available we used the opportunity to dedicate the initial resources we’d need to building out a sustainable program. Our first step was to execute contracts for our local health departments to complete a county health assessment, health improvement plan, and a strategic plan. We even developed a SharePoint site to track and monitor the progress.
Our initiative was so successful that we decided to publish what we did in the January ’14 issue of Journal of Health Management and Practice. It’s basically a case study that focuses on our innovative financial incentive and technical assistance support model that enabled Arizona’s counties to complete their county health assessments, health improvement plans, and strategic plans. We’re now building on the counties’ success by preparing a State Health Assessment (on track for publication in January of ‘14) and the State Health Improvement Plan.