The Rush County Health Department has become the first in Indiana to earn a national accreditation. The Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, which assisted in the process, says the county now meets or exceeds 12 performance standards set by the Public Health Accreditation Board.
The "domains of performance" include community health assessments, disease surveillance and investigation, health education, enforcement, policy development, emergency response planning, workforce development, quality improvement, and health department management and administration.
The county and the school have worked closely for years to improve health standards in the county. Former Rush County Health Officer Dorothy Boersma says the collaboration was critical in landing the accreditation. "The Fairbanks School of Public Health was extremely helpful to us in countless ways. Faculty member Cindy Stone and students in her program-evaluation class helped with our first community assessment in 2009. In 2015, students in Dr. Stone’s capstone class worked with us on a new community assessment. Along the way, Dr. Stone and her colleagues have provided invaluable technical assistance and support. The school is deeply committed to improving health in Indiana, and its faculty and staff have truly walked the talk in helping us achieve something that no other health department in Indiana has yet done."
Seventeen state and local health departments throughout the country received the designation in May joining more than 100 others since 2011. The program was created over the course of 10 years. Hundreds of public health officials train to serve as peer site visitors for the program.
You can connect to more information about the Rush County and IU partnership by clicking here.