Date of Conferral





Public Health


Donald Goodwin


The launch of the Public Health Accreditation Board in 2012 established national public standards. This study examined possible correlations between the accreditation status of local health departments and specific indicators for health, including communicable disease, disease prevention and health promotion, and maternal child health factors, and outcomes of premature death and infant mortality. The population for the intervention group included all 212 local health departments accredited from September 2012 through December 2017. Accredited health departments were matched with nonaccredited health departments based on population, rurality, agency type, governance authority, and state public health structure. Linear regression analysis was performed on secondary data gathered retrospectively from publicly available sources including state vital statistics reports, National Center for Health Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and sign tests were performed for each dependent variable. Accreditation or non-accreditation of local health departments did not yield any significant difference in health indicators for communicable disease (chlamydia and human immunodeficiency virus), the disease prevention and health promotion indicator of body mass index, or the maternal child health indicator of low birth weight. For health status, smoking, physical activity, and diabetes and the maternal child health indicator of teen births, there was a significant difference, and the null hypothesis was rejected. The sign test was significant for all 11 indicators, indicating that accredited local health departments had more positive public health outcomes than nonaccredited ones (p = 0.0005). The findings suggest that investment in public health accreditation for a local health department is an investment in better health for members of the community.