The Mohave County Department of Public Health is one of 16 governmental departments across the country that have recently achieved five-year accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). Accreditation occurs through an arduous process of measuring department performance against 97 public health standards.

The regimen, frequently an effort of two years or more, involves submission of documents, site visits, peer review and much more. The effort was perhaps even more cumbersome for a Mohave County Department dealing with staffing and funding challenges while delivering services in the nation’s 5th largest county.

“Our report noted that this health department has a lot of energy and passion for serving their communities, that the health department and the work that they demonstrated and accomplished in spite of limited resources is significant,” said Kaye Bender, President and CEO of the PHAB. “The department demonstrated a high level of commitment, versatility and innovation from the staff.”

Bender says accreditation can help departments capitalize upon funding and partnering opportunities in the public and private sector. She said accreditation also helps departments attract and keep highly performing employees.

Bender said becoming PHAB accredited is essentially an exercise in good government, building department and community pride when public programs are so often critically viewed.

“This is so awesome,” said Patty Mead, Director of the Mohave County Department of Public Health. “We’ve worked really hard for this.”

Mead began her professional career 40 years ago and acknowledged department accreditation was on her bucket list before she retires sometime within the next three years. The achievement leaves her boss, County Administrator Mike Hendrix, proud as a peacock.

“I can’t say enough about Patty Mead and taking on the accreditation process. It’s extremely difficult. She’s extremely short-staffed and they really shined,” Hendrix said. He noted that the department will only get better in coming years through submission of annual reports and ongoing performance analysis while involved in the accreditation program.

“By getting this accreditation, she’s dedicating the entire health department to continuously improve and continuously look for best practices and improve her organization and the quality of service they provide to Mohave County,” Hendrix said.

Bender also complimented Mead on having the courage to subject her department to tedious evaluation in an effort to improve its operation and function.

“I cannot imagine a better legacy than to leave a health department better than you found it and that’s exactly what she’s doing,” Bender said.

Mead will deliver an accreditation presentation at Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.