Multi-State Learning Collaborative (1, 2, and 3)

Funding agency: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Multi-State Learning Collaborative (MLC) convened states to inform development of a national accreditation program for public health agencies and to prepare state and local health departments for national accreditation. Through the MLC, the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) supported development of the national public health accreditation program, strengthened Michigan’s local public health accreditation program, and prepared Michigan health departments for national accreditation.

As part of MLC-1 and 2, Michigan developed and implemented a voluntary quality improvement (QI) supplement to the accreditation review process that mirrored draft standards in the Public Health Accreditation Board’s (PHAB) “Domain 9,” which focuses on performance management and quality improvement. Additionally, through MLC-2, MPHI and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) developed a practical guidebook on QI, Embracing Quality in Public Health: Michigan’s Quality Improvement Guidebook. The Guide is available online at no cost (, and has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

The MLC-3 brought state and local practitioners and other stakeholders together in a community of practice to:

  1. Advance application of QI methods that result in specific, measurable improvements, and institutionalize QI practice in public health departments
  2. Contribute to the development of the national voluntary accreditation program
  3. Prepare local and state health departments for national accreditation by establishing QI mini-collaboratives

In each year of the project, four of Michigan’s local health departments (LHD) were selected through a competitive application process and received a grant to conduct a QI project. Each mini-collaborative consisted of two LHDs and a mentor from an LHD with previous QI experience. The project also involved preparing MDCH for accreditation through facilitation of completing the National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP), and supporting Michigan’s participation in the PHAB Beta Test.

MPHI staff led the project and Michigan’s MLC-3 Steering Committee provided oversight. MPHI conducted project monitoring and evaluation, served as a technical assistance resource for the LHD mini-collaboratives, assisted with development and execution of QI trainings and resources, and coordinated completion of the NPHPSP. MPHI also participated in bi-annual national meetings of MLC grantees to share lessons learned and contribute to development of the national accreditation program.

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