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South Dakota’s Office of Vital Records and Health Statistics Awarded National Accreditation

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2021

Contact: SD COVID-19 Joint Information Center


South Dakota’s Office of Vital Records and Health Statistics Awarded National Accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board

PHAB Accreditation Demonstrates DOH’s Commitment to Excellence


PIERRE, S.D. – Today, the South Dakota Department of Health announced its Office of Vital Records and Health Statistics, has been awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), the national accrediting organization for state, Tribal, local, and territorial health departments. In 2018, PHAB added the Vital Records/Health Statistics Accreditation program to the robust portfolio of public health department accreditation.


“It is an honor to be the first VRHS unit in the country to be awarded PHAB accreditation, further demonstrating our commitment to accountability and performance improvement,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health.  “The South Dakota Department of Health relies on preserved information and accurate data to best inform and deliver public health programs to our communities. I would like to thank Mariah Pokorny, Shawna Flax, and their team of dedicated professionals, for achieving this goal on behalf of all South Dakotans.”


Vital records are essential to public health service but can often fly under the radar when we think about the role of a health department in the community. Vital records are responsible for filing, protecting, and preserving birth certificates, death certificates and other important documents and records. Health information is collected and used for calculating basic statistics at both the local and national level and the data are regularly used for medical and health research. The vital records unit is critical in creating and informing effective public health programs in communities.


“We are so pleased to be recognized by PHAB for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement," said Mariah Pokorny, State Registrar. “We hope this announcement, coming as it does in the midst of our rapidly unfolding public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will reassure our community, partners, and elected officials that the services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of all in our community.”


The VRHS national accreditation program, which receives support from the National Center for Health Statistics, sets standards against which the nation’s governmental VRHS units can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. The program was developed with support and input from VRHS professionals from across the country and the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems.


"The value of becoming nationally accredited through PHAB extends far beyond the interior walls of the health department," said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN. "Communities served by accredited VRHS units can be assured that their data and important information are handled with care and used to inform vital public health services in their community.” 


For more information visit www.doh.sd.gov.



About the Office of Vital Records and Health Statistics

The Office of Vital Records and Health Statistics, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in South Dakota. Learn more about their work by visiting https://doh.sd.gov/records/. For more information, please contact Daniel Bucheli at Daniel.Bucheli@state.sd.us or via phone at 605-773-3361.


About the Public Health Accreditation Board

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Vital Records/Health Statistics accreditation is funded, in part, by the National Center for Health Statistics. The development of national public health department accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, state, local, Tribal, and territorial levels. For more information, contact PHAB Communications Specialist Janalle Goosby at jgoosby@phaboard.org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at www.phaboard.org, and by signing up for the PHAB e-newsletter