Horizon Public Health has earned national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board.

Horizon Public Health, which serves five counties, including Douglas, is the 10th local health department in Minnesota to successfully complete this process, in addition to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Established in 2007, PHAB is the nonprofit organization that administers the national accreditation program, which aims to advance and transform public health practice by championing performance improvement, strong infrastructure and innovation.

“We are so pleased to be recognized by PHAB for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement," said Ann Stehn, EMPA, PHN, administrator of Horizon Public Health. “We hope this announcement, coming as it does in the midst of our rapidly unfolding public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will reassure our community, our partner organizations, our funders and our elected officials that the services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of our community. Continuing to improve our services and performance helps assure we are meeting the public health needs of those we serve as effectively as possible.”

Horizon Public Health became a fully integrated local public health agency in 2015 as a combined local health department for five counties: Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Horizon Public Health provides a wide variety of services including services for the elderly and disabled, children and young families, healthy lifestyles, disease prevention and control, emergency preparedness, Hospice of Douglas County and food, pools and lodging licensing for Douglas and Pope Counties. Horizon has offices in each of the five counties and employs a wide range of professionals including nurses, dieticians, sanitarians, health educators, social workers and other critical support personnel.

"The value of becoming nationally accredited through PHAB extends far beyond the interior walls of the health department," said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert. "People living and working in communities served by these health departments can be assured that their health department is strong and has the capacity to protect and promote their health. Just going through the accreditation process itself helps health departments pinpoint the areas that are critical to improving the work they do for their communities."

Often called the “backbone” of the public health system, public health departments are on the front lines of communities’ efforts to protect and promote health and prevent disease and injury. Across the nation, health departments provide services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air, and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.

“We are grateful for the vision of our governing board, the support and engagement of our community partners and our dedicated staff who all worked together to make this accomplishment a reality,” said Stehn.

The national accreditation program, which receives support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. PHAB has a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets a set of quality standards and measures.