A distinct honor has been given to the Livingston County Health Department, marking it as one of the best in the country.

Four years after beginning the process, the county health department has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board. Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the department, Lindsay Gestro shared what that means. Gestro said the goal of the program is to improve and protect the health of the public by transforming and advancing the quality and performance of health departments across the U.S.

In preparation for accreditation, the Livingston County Health Department prepared over 800 documents and community collaborations for consideration. Members of the Accreditation Board visited this past April for an extensive site-visit review. They evaluated the health department in 12 competency areas including developing public health policies and plans, promoting strategies to improve access to health care, and informing and educating the public on health issues. Gestro thanked the community, saying that without them it would have been a struggle to gather the data needed for the Board. She stated than when people see the accreditation seal, they will know they are working with a department that meets or exceeds national standards.

Accreditation is not something that is easily given out. Since it was first awarded in 2011, 236 departments nationwide have achieved it. The Livingston County Health Department is the only 7th in Michigan to receive its recognition. (MK)