Why National Accreditation Is Important to Tribes
by Lisa Pivec, MS
Focus on Accreditation and Innovation addresses current issues related to the Public Health Accreditation Board’s national public health department accreditation program, and the Public Health National Center for Innovations. This series highlights the experiences and perspectives of accredited health departments and explores topics related to the Standards and Measures, research and evaluation findings, and the latest innovations in public health practice.
Our challenge lies in translating our core values into a system based on standards and measures that may seem foreign to us at first glance. For example, our strong ability to gauge Tribal needs via fellowship and traditions translates into a public health community assessment. Upon further inspection, we understand that we have the capacity to articulate and make evident what true public health encompasses. Achieving public health accreditation also exhibits we are cognizant of the crucial role of public health in our communities and demonstrates our ability to be a mutually beneficial partner for all citizens. We believe it communicates our serious commitment to both improving and delivering quality public health services to all. We know we, as Tribal Nations, are all one. We understand that as each of us achieves so do other Tribes across the nation. We have the responsibility to leave a strong government and infrastructure for generations to come. We know strengthening and improving our knowledge, performance, and abilities is exercising our Sovereign status. We honor the great price paid by our ancestors when we show the world who we are, what we have endured, and how we continue to persevere.
Accreditation is important to Tribes as we must focus on the strengths we possess in our communities for solving problems and improving the health status of our People. We must focus on prevention, protection, and promotion of our resources and our Elders. Accreditation helps us examine our public health practices and improve the quality of the services we have been entrusted with to deliver to our communities. In exploring and embracing the PHAB standards, we can learn new strategies while sharing that which makes each of our Tribes the original stewards of public health.
For further reading, consider these related articles from the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice*:
- Balancing Tribal Sovereignty and the Role of Interjurisdictional Partnerships in Oklahoma
- Supporting Accreditation in Tribal Settings
- CDC/NACCHO Accreditation Support Initiative: Advancing Readiness for Local and Tribal Health Department Accreditation
- Oklahoma State Department of Health: Insights From a Newly Accredited State Health Department
*Articles may require a subscription to JPHMP or purchase.
Lisa Pivec, MS, is Senior Director of Public Health for Cherokee Nation Health Services. Ms. Pivec serves on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tribal Advisory Committee as the authorized representative for Oklahoma Area, Oklahoma State Health Department Tribal Public Health Advisory Committee, treasurer for the Southern Plains Intertribal Health Board, and chairs the Public Health subcommittee for the Five Tribes Intertribal Council. She currently is the principal investigator for several funding agreements with the CDC. Ms. Pivec holds a Master of Science degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Ms. Pivec is a citizen of the Cherokee originally from the Peavine community in Adair County within the Cherokee Nation and currently resides in Tahlequah where she hopes to continue working with and for her people throughout her career. [Full bio]