PHAB’s Tools for Transformation

This entry is part 41 of 41 in the series Focus on Accreditation and Innovation

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has developed a variety of tools to support health departments and governmental public health systems in intentionally transforming and modernizing to create equitable systems and communities.

Public health transformation requires redefining and developing a common vision to ensure the mindsets, capacity, resources, and workforce necessary to provide equitable Foundational Public Health Services and 10 Essential Public Health Services, to advance health, wellbeing, and equity in all communities. It occurs through a fundamental shift in the way a public health agency or system is structured, functions, and interacts through continuous quality improvement, innovation, partnerships, community-led efforts, and systems change. Simply put, transformation requires sustaining what is working, building on what can be improved, and reimagining what could be so that all people and communities can thrive. (PHAB Transformation Guide)

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) is committed to supporting health departments and governmental public health systems in intentionally transforming and modernizing to create equitable systems and communities. Our approach to transformation and modernization is through building and strengthening public health infrastructure to make governmental public health better and stronger and to create positive, lasting systems change.

PHAB has developed a set of Tools for Transformation (Tools) that guide and support public health departments and systems in their transformation efforts. The Tools are grounded in two national frameworks: 1) The 10 Essential Public Health Services (10 EPHS), and 2) The Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS). These frameworks serve as the basis for the PHAB Center for Innovation’s 21st Century Learning Community focused on systems transformation and other transformation efforts. A sampling of PHAB’s Tools for Transformation include:

  • FPHS Planning Guide: This guide provides health departments and public health systems with the key components to consider before operationalizing the FPHS framework.
  • Accreditation: The national accreditation program assesses a health department’s capacity to carry out the 10 Essential Public Health Services and the Foundational Capabilities.
  • Pathways Recognition: This program assesses a health department’s capacity to carry out the Foundational Capabilities.
  • FPHS Capacity & Cost Assessment: This assessment allows health departments and governmental public health systems to assess their current cost and implementation of the FPHS and determine the capacities and costs necessary for full implementation.
  • Workforce Calculator: This tool helps a health department determine its workforce needs and estimate the number of full-time equivalents needed to ensure the provision of the Foundational Public Health Services in a community.
  • Service & Resource Sharing: The PHAB Center for Innovation has a variety of tools and resources to help public health departments and systems collaborate and share across boundaries, with the common goal of encouraging better health and equity in the communities they serve.

A Tools for Transformation Selection Matrix is available to help health departments and governmental public health systems select the appropriate PHAB Tool(s) to support their transformation goals. The Tool(s) that a department or system chooses to deploy should be based on the data or information needed to support that health department or system’s transformation efforts and ultimately the outcome that is to be achieved. As a supplement to the selection matrix, a set of Example Scenarios: Tools for Transformation in Practice illustrates how the Tools can be used independently or in conjunction with one another to support transformation efforts.

If you have additional questions regarding the Tools or if you would like help with Tool selection, email

Author Profile

Melissa Sever
Melissa Sever, MPH, MCHES, is a successful public health leader with a 20+ year progressive career in local and state government, academia, and the non-profit sectors. Currently, Melissa is the Senior Advisor for Public Health Systems and Services at the Public Health Accreditation Board where she is responsible for developing and implementing strategy to assist health departments and health department systems in transformation efforts. Previously, she served as Director of Organizational Development and Culture at Columbus Public Health. There, she established an Office of Planning and Quality Improvement and led a variety of department-wide strategic initiatives in collaboration with agency leadership and community partners, including the agency’s PHAB re-accreditation process and serving as Operations Section Chief during the COVID response. Additional professional experience includes senior-level positions at the Ohio Department of Health, The Ohio State University College of Public Health, and RAPID 5. Melissa has significant experience in workforce and organizational development, public health accreditation, strategic planning and execution, community engagement, and process design and facilitation. She is consistently recognized by colleagues for her ability to build strong, productive, working relationships. Melissa received her MPH from The Ohio State University, a BS in Health Behavior/Health Promotion from Bowling Green State University, and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist. Additionally, she is trained in Art of Hosting and has a Certificate in Basic Quality Improvement and Patient Safety from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Melissa and her husband Jeff live in Worthington, Ohio and have two daughters - Madelyn and Claire.
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