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Health District gains accreditation

The North Central Public Health District is among the first 10 such districts in Oregon to earn accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board.

The voluntary accreditation means the health district meets nationally recognized, practice-focused and evidence-based standards.

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) is a non-profit, non-governmental entity.

“The goal of the voluntary national accreditation program is to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of tribal, state, local and territorial public health departments,” said Teri Thalhofer, director of the health district.

The district is based in The Dalles and serves residents from Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties.

“NCPHD is proud to be recognized by PHAB as a high-performing public health department. The achievement of national accreditation will help guide our work to better protect, promote and preserve the health of the people in our community,” a press release from the district stated.

National public health accreditation was developed to help improve service, value and accountability of health districts.

In Oregon, 10 of its 34 health districts have the accreditation, as does the Oregon Health Authority.

Thalhofer said the process of gaining the accreditation was beneficial to the district.

“It has helped us identify strengths and areas for improvement, strengthened internal and external partnerships, encouraged prioritization of activities based on a community health assessment and strategic plan, and has acted as a stimulus for continuous quality improvement and performance management in our daily practice,” Thalhofer said.

She added, “For residents of Gilliam, Sherman and Wasco counties, this means that resources are being allocated, to the best of our ability, based on data and health needs,” she added. “We are also looking very strategically at funding opportunities to make sure that they meet an identified need in the region.

“We work with partner agencies to gain efficiencies by coordinating efforts.

“And lastly, we look regularly at the work we are doing and look for areas to improve.

“All of these efforts make us accountable to our board of health and our constituents.”

The health department has the equivalent of 24 full-time employees and provides a broad range of public health services.

It is probably best known for running a walk-in clinic for immunizations, treatment of sexually transmitted infections and family planning.

The department also inspects restaurants, does home visits for young families, has a tobacco cessation program, and does public health emergency preparedness.

It also works to prevent infectious illness outbreaks and works on community wellness, such as encouraging walking.

The accreditation status is good for five years.


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