The Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) has again been 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. WCCHD is the first local public health department in Texas that has been dually re-accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) for meeting public health service national standards and by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), which encompasses all-hazards preparedness planning, workforce capacity development, and demonstration of readiness through exercises or real events.

WCCHD joins a cohort of more than 520 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region.

“This community is a leader in emergency preparedness—in public health, public safety, emergency , and in other disciplines. Still, the most important factor in determining whether we succeed in responding to an emergency will be the cooperation among community, state and local partners, and helping each other in a time of duress,” said Caroline Hilbert, WCCHD Executive Director. “We learned a lot during the pandemic and continue to work to understand what recovery looks like for our community. It’s important that we continue to improve our ability to respond to any public health crisis quickly and effectively.”

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.

“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 Tremmel Freeman, Chief Executive Officer. “NACCHO commends Williamson County and Cities Health District for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

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