Accreditation of state and local public health agencies is a major national priority. North Carolina, a national leader in the accreditation of local public health agencies, undertook a pilot project to evaluate a process for accreditation of the state health agency, the North Carolina divisions of public and environmental health. This pilot project evaluated the instrument and process of a state public health agency accreditation effort and provided information on agency performance. The pilot project used a modified national public health performance standards state instrument to assess state health agency capacity and performance. A site visit followed a self-assessment process conducted internally within the state health department. The pilot project revealed that public health performance standards are a useful framework for state-level standards, but that measurement should focus on stem questions to ensure measurement at an appropriate, not overly detailed, level and reduce the level of work needed to complete the self-assessment process. The project also identified major strengths within the North Carolina Division of Public Health and laid the foundation for ongoing performance improvement under the leadership of the state health director and senior staff. As a result of this experience, accreditation of state health agencies is feasible and provides immediate benefit to state health agency leadership with respect to performance and quality improvement.