Pathways Recognition Program

PHAB’s vision is a high-performing governmental public health system that supports all people living their healthiest lives. To foster performance improvement among all health departments, PHAB is developing a Pathways Recognition Program as another option to encourage health departments on their quality and performance improvement journeys. Pathways may be ideal for health departments that are not yet ready to apply for accreditation for reasons unique to the department, but still want to enhance performance improvement and other capabilities.

Health departments engaged in the Pathways Recognition Program will be assessed on their demonstration of a subset of measures from the forthcoming Version 2022 PHAB Accreditation Standards & Measures. Once recognized, health departments choosing to pursue accreditation can then focus on the accreditation measures that are not included in the Pathways Recognition Program.

The purpose of the PHAB Pathways Recognition Program is to:

  1. Support performance improvement efforts, strengthen infrastructure, and facilitate public health system transformation, including state-based improvement efforts.
  2. Serve as a milestone for performance improvement for local, Tribal, and territorial health departments not yet ready to pursue accreditation.
  3. Build accreditation readiness for health departments intending to use the Pathways Recognition Program as a step toward a future application for accreditation.

Participation in the Pathways Recognition Program will not be a prerequisite of full accreditation – health departments will always have the option to apply for PHAB accreditation without first completing the Pathways Recognition Program

PHAB’s exploration and development of the Pathways Recognition Program is a step toward addressing feedback from health departments across the country, including lessons learned and research about small health departments that have achieved accreditation. PHAB wants to hear from health department stakeholders about what program design elements will provide the most value to health departments that are not yet ready to apply for accreditation but may want to engage in a recognition program like Pathways.

While Pathways is a PHAB product, PHAB will continue to work with organizations like NACCHO, NIHB, ASTHO, CDC, and others to support health departments in performance improvement efforts, accreditation readiness, and to improve community health.

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This program is still in the development phase. There will be opportunities to provide feedback to PHAB and in the late fall we intend to test parts of the program. Our goal is to launch the program in mid-2022.

The Pathways program development is informed by a Joint Task Force of PHAB and NACCHO Boards, staff from the National Indian Health Board, ASTHO and NACCHO, a Tribal Workgroup and webinar of Tribal practitioners and learnings from the PHAB accreditation process. Development of Pathways is further supported by the CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support.