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Advancing the public health workforce to achieve organizational excellence
Drinking Water Program Improvement


The Public Health Foundation (PHF) is collaborating with the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a drinking water program improvement initiative, Safe Water for Community Health (Safe WATCH). 19 state and local health department grantees are participating in this initiative to improve their programs and reduce exposures from private water sources in their communities. PHF is helping these health departments prioritize their performance improvement and capacity needs and take action to develop and implement improvement projects based on the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services.

Read these stories of how three health departments improved their drinking water programs: 

Using a variety of quality improvement (QI) methods and tools, PHF is assisting health departments to:
  • Establish metrics
  • Create and improve evaluation plans
  • Identify and align project implementation activities
  • Select community partners
  • Form, assess, and improve team performance
  • Conduct process and outcome evaluations
  • Determine how and when to work with other performance improvement and accreditation colleagues

Health department drinking water programs are being provided with on-site and remote technical assistance from PHF and tools such as the Public Health Quality Improvement Encyclopedia. These sites are using Force Field Analysis, AIM Statements, Gantt Charts, the Bow Tie Diagram, and Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) to evaluate progress and achieve measureable improvements. Each health department has already developed a logic model (see example) based on the Environmental Public Health Performance Standards. QI methods and tools have proven useful in prioritizing lists of contaminants, improving testing and laboratory processes, evaluating customer experience, and developing flowcharts and guidelines for programs.

“Since engaging with PHF, AIM Statements and quality improvement is incorporated into all of our environmental health programs”

- County Health Department


For more information about this initiative or PHF’s work in environmental health, contact Vanessa Lamers at or (202) 218-4412.

Additional QI work with CDC
PHF has provided QI assistance to 15 health department vector control programs via CDC as part of the Vector Control Program Performance Assessment and Improvement Initiative and the Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram Project.


Additional resources

Drinking Water Program Improvement