The Latest from ERS on Rural Poverty and Well-Being

The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture released data from its research on the economic, social, and demographic factors affecting rural poverty.  The ERS reports that there are 353 persistently poor counties in the United States, meaning that 20 percent or more of their populations were living in poverty over the course of several decades. Eighty-five percent of these counties are rural.  In 2017, more than one-third of non-metro families headed by a female with no spouse present were poor (33.8 percent), and nearly half of those with related children were poor (44.4 percent).

Pennsylvania Department of Health Earns National Public Health Accreditation

March 26, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health achieved national public health accreditation on Monday, demonstrating the department’s continued commitment to protecting and improving the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.

“This is a very important milestone in our continued efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent injury and disease and to assure the safe delivery of quality health care to Pennsylvanians,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Each day, we are working to address health issues in a wide range of areas, including ensuring Pennsylvania has healthy moms and healthy kids, protecting seniors in nursing homes and addressing the opioid crisis. We are committed to working toward a healthy Pennsylvania.”

There are 34 states that have achieved their accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board since the national accreditation program launched in 2011 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. More than 240 health departments nationwide have achieved the prestigious designation, including Allegheny County, Erie County, the Bethlehem Health Bureau and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in Pennsylvania.

Accreditation also satisfies a goal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which identified accreditation as a key strategy for strengthening our nation’s public health infrastructure. A strong public health infrastructure is more important than ever in the constantly changing local, national and global health environment.

The department began preparing for this step several years ago. Before submitting its application, the department completed several crucial steps, including finalizing the state’s health improvement plan and its organizational strategic plan, addressing challenges identified in a self-assessment and strategy maps for health reform and health equity.

“Public health is an ever-changing landscape, with potential threats including Ebola, pandemic influenza and the misinformation regarding vaccinations,” Secretary Levine said. “We are committed to preparing for each of these concerns and also being aware of new potential issues that could affect the health of Pennsylvanians each day.”

For more information on the Department and the work being done to ensure the health of Pennsylvanians, visit www.health.pa.gov or follow us on FacebookOpens In A New Window and TwitterOpens In A New Window.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov