Health Department

Find health departments, DOH, and health and human services. Health departments provide information on health insurance, affordable health care, public health, human services, women, children and family health services and issues.


What is a Health Department?

A health department keeps people safe and healthy. Municipal, state and federal health departments tackle complicated issues of human health care and related services. The responsibilities of the departments extend beyond providing medical care. They include regulation and education, especially with regard to insurance programs, communicable diseases including AIDS, teen pregnancy, child care and elder care, and more. Federal agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and similar state and local health departments create and administer programs designed to address other wellness concerns, too.

Health Departments are responsible for

  1. Illness prevention and wellness. Health departments work to keep people healthy and recover from illness. This means providing adequate facilities and resources for public health care. It also means controlling toxic substances, preventing disease, and drafting adequate safety guidelines for workplaces, schools and households.
  2. Health insurance regulations. Affordable and reliable health insurance is a must for American citizens. Health departments work to make health insurance affordable and protect the rights of consumer by negotiating with major insurance companies.
  3. Research. Health department researchers strive to improve understanding of illnesses and other health issues.
  4. Social services. Health departments identify and address social issues such as drug addiction and homelessness through targeted initiatives.
  5. Education. Health education is the best way to promote good habits and healthy lifestyles. These include eating the proper foods, exercising regularly, and avoiding unhealthy behaviors. Local and state health departments teach these topics in public schools across America.

Are there different types of Health Departments?

There are departments at the local, state and federal levels. They have similar missions, yet each uses slightly different methods and resources.