National Public Health Performance Standards

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In business as well as in healthcare sectors, quality and performance improvement efforts are seen as necessary for ongoing operation and growth of organizations. It is no different in public health. In fact, because of the many competing demands on governmental and nongovernmental funding sources, public health is under considerable pressure to prove that it is a worthwhile investment. One way to demonstrate that public health is using its funding efficiently and effectively is through measurements of performance and quality improvement.
This week you will learn about quality and performance improvement initiatives in public health. Among these initiatives, as you will see, are various types of accreditation and improvement plans, all of which seek to make public health more measurable and accountable.
For this Discussion, you will examine the standards for one of the 10 essential services and share your thoughts about how well constructed these standards are.
Begin by going to the CDC Web site for the Public Health Practice Office at From this home page, read the Overview.
Then click on The Instruments (under Performance Instruments in the left menu). You may wish to download the National Public Health Performance Standards instrument for local health departments. Make sure, however, to look through at the "Local Public Health System Performance Assessment section ( for one of the essential services and read through those standards.
Describe what you found to be the strengths of the standards for your selected essential standards. Identify one way in which you would expect an improvement in public health practice as a result of applying these standards.
Are there any barriers or difficulties you would anticipate in trying to apply those standards to your local health department? Is there anything missing that you would add to these standards?
The one essential of interest is Policy Development….Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues, mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems…develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.

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