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Keywords:

  • accreditation;
  • Exploring Accreditation Project;
  • performance improvement;
  • public health;
  • quality improvement

ABSTRACT Acting upon several years of related work from a variety of public health practice arenas, 4 leading public health organizations received funding to conduct a study of the desirability and feasibility of establishing a national voluntary public health accreditation system. The study was conducted by a 25-member Steering Committee, with representatives from public health organizations at the local, state, and federal levels. The study was advised by input from additional numbers of public health experts participating in workgroups, as consultants, or in public comment groups. Public health nursing was represented by 3 members of the Steering Committee, including the chair, and by 7 other nurses who served on work groups or as staff to the process. The report of the study committee, released in the fall of 2006, contained answers to 2 questions related to the desirability and feasibility of such a program. Additionally, the report contained recommendations regarding the program's initial implementation. This article summarizes those recommendations and discusses the policy implications for their implementation, with a special emphasis on the role of the public health nursing community in the establishment of a national voluntary public health accreditation system.