This is the second in a series of articles that focuses on the Health Department’s core values.
Anyone who has gone through our new employee orientation has heard me talk about our core values. One of the things I consistently say is that although all of the values are important, the one that I emphasize the most forms the foundation for all the others – the value of integrity.
When we say integrity at the Health Department, we mean that “we act with a consistency of character, and are forthright, open and accountable to our customers, our taxpayers and to each other for our actions.”
To put it simply, we strive to do the right thing in a consistent and reliable way. We should be able to trust each other to be honest to co-workers, to the people we serve, and to the communities in which we work.
Relationships in public health are built and broken on integrity. In fact, integrity is so critical to public health that the Public Health Accreditation Board incorporated it into Version 1.5 of the Accreditation Standards and Measures. Domain 11 addresses ethical decision making in public health.
As a result, we will be soon releasing a new policy designed to provide a process to help us address the ethical issues that we face in our practice of public health. Public health ethics involves using values like integrity to guide our actions when the best or right course of action is not immediately evident. Having a policy and a process in place will ensure that we approach tough decisions in a consistent, fair manner. This will also support our re-accreditation efforts.
Honesty, consistency, integrity. It’s the foundation of who we are as a Health Department.