Dare County DHHS Public Health Division earns perfect score on re-accreditation – OBX Today

Dare County DHHS Public Health Division earns perfect score on re-accreditation - OBX Today
From left, Dare County DHHS Human Services Planner Laura Willingham and DHHS Director Dr. Sheila Davies during a recent celebration to recognize the achievement. [Dare County]

The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services is pleased to announce that its Public Health Division was awarded Re-Accreditation with Honors status by the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation (NCLHDA) Board on May 19, a recognition that highlights the department’s ongoing commitment to excellence in providing the best quality of services to the community.

North Carolina’s accreditation of local health departments is a rigorous process that determines whether departments are meeting established performance standards that are set out in 147 activities and 41 benchmarks outlined by the NCLHDA.

Dare County’s Public Health Division exceeded expectations by meeting all 147 activities and earning a perfect score during the most recent cycle completed in February, 2023.  The division was among 11 local health departments in the state to receive the honors designation last month.

“I am very proud of the continued hard work and dedication put forward by our team in ensuring that we deliver quality services to our community ,” said Dare County DHHS Director Dr. Sheila Davies. “Our Reaccreditation with Honors status demonstrates the distinction in which our team delivers on our mission to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of Dare County residents and assure a healthy community in which to live, work and play.”

The in-depth review process – which occurs every four years but was extended to six because of the COVID-19 pandemic –  involves three steps that include a health department self-assessment, an extensive two-day site visit and finally, an accreditation determination by the NCLDHA Board.

The focus of the NCLDHA program is to support local health departments in their efforts to continually build their capacity to equitably respond to the unique health needs of their communities.  The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services’ Public Health Division has been committed to remaining an accredited department since first serving in the NC Local Health Department Accreditation pilot program in 2004.

North Carolina was the first state to mandate local health department accreditation. The program is a collaboration between the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH), the N.C. Association of Local Health Directors, and the N.C. Division of Public Health.

Speaking of the agencies recently awarded re-accreditation, NC Local Health Department Interim Accreditation Administrator Jo Morgan stated, “We are delighted to recognize these agencies as re-accredited health departments and applaud the efforts of all those involved in accomplishing this goal.” She added, “Re-accreditation is a quality improvement process that assures that agencies are continually assessing the needs of their communities and striving to provide the highest quality of service, as possible, to meet these needs.”

For more information on accreditation, the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services or the Public Health Division, please call 252.475.5003.