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PHAB Launches National Center for Innovations

Friday, March 04, 2016  
Posted by: Arlyn Riskind
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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s $3 million grant enables new national center to lead change in public health 

Alexandria, VA – The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), has established the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) to identify, implement and spread innovations in public health practice to help meet the health challenges of the 21st century in communities nationwide. 

As public health departments adapt to meet the growing and changing needs of their communities, experts say there is a need for strategic coordination and a national convener to help incubate and share innovative ideas. PHNCI will foster a multi-sectoral learning community to identify and test new and innovative practices that help improve public health capacity. In this role, PHNCI will serve as the hub for national public health innovations.

RWJF is investing nearly $3 million in PHNCI’s first three-year initiative. This week, PHNCI is convening an inaugural meeting of its National Advisory Committee, a group comprised of thought leaders from health care and public health who will guide program development and coordinate national-level work aimed at achieving a Culture of Health.

Three pilot states have been selected for the first learning community—Ohio, Oregon and Washington. Over the next two years, leaders from these three states will test and implement strategies to adopt foundational public health services statewide to ensure that all residents have equitable access to public health. More states will be added to the initial pilot as PHNCI begins its first year of operations.

“As pilot communities begin work, we will start to see firsthand how innovative practices in a state or local public health department can contribute significantly to building healthier communities,” said Kaye Bender, president and CEO of PHAB. “The program is expressly designed so that others can share in the learnings and shape the innovations. Our intention is that this work will go far beyond the three pilot states.” 

PHNCI will encourage innovations in public health, in part, by engaging a network of stakeholders, including representatives from all levels of public health practice, health policy, financing and other sectors. 

“The nation is undergoing seismic changes in how we think about and deliver health services, either because of changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act, or emerging threats of infectious disease, or because we better understand how health is influenced by a host of societal factors,” said Pamela G. Russo, MD, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “To meet the needs of the 21st century, we need innovative public health practices that build on the work of non-health sectors to transform the health of the population.”

About PHNCI 
The Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) at the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) launched in November 2015. PHNCI is designed to foster alignment and spread of innovations in public health practice that promise to advance a culture of health. For more information, visit or contact Teddi Nicolaus at 

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at