The national accreditation, is being supported by both the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, but Davis County Health Director Lewis Garrett said in speaking with employees of both organizations, as well as members of the National Association of Local Boards of Health and the National Association of City and County Health Officials, ìthereís widespread dissension in the ranks.î
Davis County board members plan on sharing their concerns and the resolution with members of the Utah Association of Local Boards of Health at its symposium in September.
While the accreditation, being put together by the Public Health Accreditation Board Standards Development Workgroup is a voluntary action, Garrett said accreditation can be quite expensive.
Initially, he said, there will be funding available through the Robert H. Johnson Foundation, ìbut I believe that money will go away swiftly,î leaving health departments like Davis to come up with the funding from an already tight budget. ìThereís not enough resources,î he told board members at their meeting. He also believes that the accreditation will become a requirement.
ìI believe the driving force behind this is academia, being done primarily to ensure a place for the new students graduating in public health administration,î Garrett said.
Also, Garrett said, local boards of health vary on their needs and duties depending on their size, the population they serve and the area of the country theyíre in. ìThereís no one size fits all approach,î Garrett said.
Among standards being promoted within the accreditation will be that health department directors will have to have a degree in public health administration to receive that accreditation, and currently only three (including Garrett) of the 12 local health directors in Utah have that degree, ìand the others have been functioning quite well without (that degree),î he said.
Garrett said he would rather see a state-lead accreditation process.