After six years of work, Fort Riley’s Public Health Department achieved something Cpt. Joshua Mosier called “historic.”
The Public Health Department at Fort Riley is the first military organization to both seek and receive national certification by the Public Health Accreditation Board. A ceremony announcing the news was held in Irwin Army Community Hospital Wednesday — Cpt. Mosier narrated.
The PHAB is a non-profit organization that has a set list of standards for public health departments. They accredit departments who meet their standards on a voluntary basis with the goal of improving and protecting public health “by advancing the quality and performance of Tribal, state, local, and territorial pubic health departments.” Their standards are typically designed for civilian departments and communities.
The department joins three other public health departments out of the 100 in Kansas to have achieved national accreditation.
The Preventative Medicine team at the department initiated the process. Fort Riley Public Health Department Director Col. Donald Robinson says the journey was long and spanned several commanders as well as two public health directors.
To demonstrate the importance of the accreditation, Robinson first described public health. He defined it as the application of numerous skill sets to improve the health and welfare of a community through regulation, innovation and analysis.
“So public health accreditation seeks to improve or enhance community resilience through continuous process improvement,” says Robinson. “This process requires annual submission of data coupled with community-inspired or leadership-mandated program development.”
Robinson says they received help from many individuals and organizations and that achieving certification wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of their team.
Robinson also took time to thank multiple people involved with securing accredition for the department, including the former Director of the Public Health Department, retired Col. Paul Benne.
“Dr. Benne’s leadership and innovative thinking fostered the idea of public health accreditation,” says Robinson. “Paul was the catalyst from which our accreditation journey began.”
Benne was also awarded a plaque for his work on behalf of Irwin Army Community Hospital command and staff.
Robinson also says their department has a leg up on many other communities as public health infrastructure is already in place at Irwin Army Community Hospital.
“Not so in most civilian communities,” Robinson says. “Our unique situation provides structure, resources, oversight and direction.”
The entire press conference can be viewed on the Irwin Army Community Hospital Facebook page.