West Piedmont Health District Receives “Project Public Health Ready” Recognition

January 22, 2024
Media Contact: Nancy Bell, Population Health Manager, nancy.bell@vdh.virginia.gov

West Piedmont Health District Receives “Project Public Health Ready” Recognition

(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) – The West Piedmont Health District (WPHD) is being recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.

WPHD demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WPHD joins a cohort of more than 550 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region, according to NACCHO.

“We are pleased that WPHD has received this recognition,” said Dr. Kerry Gateley, WPHD Director. “A team representing all aspects of public health worked very hard over the course of nearly a year to document the health district’s strengths in all required areas.”

Gateley added that the WPHD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic provided opportunities to test existing emergency response efforts. Some processes were strengthened and streamlined as a result, he said.

“Public health preparedness planning, response, and recovery begins at the local level. Local health departments play an essential role in creating healthy, resilient communities that can respond to and recover from disasters,” said Lori T. Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer. “NACCHO commends the West Piedmont Health District for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

PPHR recognition confirms that the WPHD has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices, according to NACCHO.

PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with state, local and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions.

NACCHO, the voice of the nearly 3,000 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster. Its mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.

The West Piedmont Health District covers the counties of Franklin, Henry and Patrick and the City of Martinsville, Virginia.

For more information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, visit http://www.naccho.org/PPHR.