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DOH-Marion protects residents from emergencies and disasters through national "Public Health Ready" recognition program

By Florida Department of Health in Marion County

June 04, 2019


OCALA, Fla.—Marion County residents have some positive news as hurricane season begins. The Florida Department of Health in Marion County has 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.

The department 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. The Department of Health in Marion County joins a cohort of more than 500 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region. The department presented its award noting its Public Health Ready recognition at the Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting on June 4.

“We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “A rapid and robust response is critical when our residents face a potential public health crisis, and we look forward to continuing to improve our abilities to maximize effectiveness and service to our community.”

PPHR recognition confirms that the department 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.

PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with their state, local, and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions. A prime example of this collaboration is when the department recently completed a special needs shelter exercise with Marion County Emergency Management, Marion County Public Schools, community health professionals, and volunteers. This exercise highlighted the cross-sectional partnerships that are needed to prepare Marion County to respond to and recover from a potentially catastrophic event. 

“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 disaster.” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer. “NACCHO commends the Department of Health in Marion County for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

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 to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.

For more information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, visit