Pathways Recognition is a program designed to support performance improvement efforts, strengthen infrastructure, and facilitate public health system transformation for local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments not yet ready for accreditation. Pathways can facilitate accreditation readiness for eligible health departments intending to use the program as a step toward accreditation.

Pathways Recognition assesses health departments on the Foundational Capability measures in the PHAB initial accreditation Version 2022 Standards and Measures. There are 34 measures assessed in the Pathways Recognition program, and they are divided into two tracks –Services and Partnerships and Health Department Systems.

  • Services and Partnerships – Health departments will be assessed on Foundational Capability measures in Domains 1-7 of Version 2022 Standards & Measures for Initial Accreditation.

  • Health Department Systems – Health departments be assessed on Foundational Capability measures in Domains 8-10 of Version 2022 Standards & Measures for Initial Accreditation.
  • Apply for one or both tracks. PHAB will accept applications at three points in the year: February 28, June 30, and November 30. You can submit your application earlier, but it will not be reviewed until those dates each year to create a cohort of health departments for the learning community.

The Standards & Measures document serves as the official measures, required documentation, and guidance blueprint for PHAB Pathways Recognition. The Policy document presents the process for seeking and obtaining Pathways Recognition.

Printed copies of Pathways Recognition Standards & Measures and other materials can be purchased through PHAB’s online store.

Why Pathways Recognition?

The Pathways Recognition process is a meaningful step along a health department’s performance improvement journey. It allows a health department to make sizable progress toward accreditation by demonstrating achievement of the Foundational Capabilities. Pathways Recognition can also provide a glidepath for initial accreditation by allowing assessment of Pathways measures to carryforward to initial accreditation and through a discount on accreditation fees.


Local, territorial, and Tribal health departments are eligible to apply for accreditation. PHAB will determine the applicant’s eligibility.

Health departments are encouraged to discuss with PHAB questions about how The Standards, eligibility criteria, or other policy-related items apply to their department based on their organizational structure.

Getting Started

  • Determine eligibility. Review eligibility requirements to ensure your health department is eligible to apply for Pathways Recognition
  • Review the Introduction to PHAB course to learn more about the Pathways Recognition process, the value it can bring to your health department and community and how Pathways can be used as a step toward application to initial accreditation.
  • Register for the Readiness and Training Process. You will be asked to pay the Readiness and Training fee which gives you access to the Readiness Assessment and PHAB trainings on the process, selecting documentation, and how continuous performance improvement will be supported. You will have one year to complete the Readiness Assessment, required trainings, and the application. Register your department>
  • Review the Policy, Standards & Measures, and additional resources. Remember to use the Standards & Measures as your roadmap as you create and update plans and policies. 

For additional questions on how to get started, email [email protected].