Health district accredited by national board

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has been accredited by a national board, a designation the district's leader says will help pull more federal and private grant funding into the area.

The local health district is now one of 44 public health districts or departments in the U.S. and one of five in Illinois to be accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, an independent organization that sets standards for more than 3,000 public health departments in the U.S. to focus on improvement.

The accreditation is good for five years.

Public health departments in Illinois are certified if they have a certified administrator and meet "relatively low standards," said Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde.

The local health district worked two years to achieve the national accreditation to build a stronger foundation for itself down the road, she said.

"I think we have excellent people here right now, but going down the road, I want there to be policies and procedures to make sure there are those buildings blocks to make sure it stays fabulous," she said.

Pryde also said she considers national accreditation important for larger public health districts to achieve because it places them in a better position to attract federal and private foundation grant funding, which can be applied for on a regional basis to help both their own counties and smaller counties around them.

The accreditation program was launched in 2011, and is jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The national board charges applicant fees for health departments based on the size of the population they serve. The fee for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to apply for accreditation was $27,030, according to the board website.

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