LOCAL GOVERNMENT

HEALTH CARE

LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS


[photo, Calvert County Health Department, 975 Solomon's Island Road North, Prince Frederick, Maryland] Local health administration preceded the organization of a State health department by nearly a century, when, in 1793, Baltimore City established a health office to stop an epidemic of yellow fever.

In 1922, the first county health department was formed by Allegany County. By 1934, each Maryland county had established its own health department.

Calvert County Health Department, 975 Solomon's Island Road North, Prince Frederick, Maryland, July 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Anne Arundel County Health Services Building, 3 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, Maryland] State oversight of local departments was conducted within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene by the Local Health Services Administration formed in 1969. The Administration reorganized by 1973 as the Local Health and Professional Support Services Administration and, by 1977, as the Local Health Administration. The latter reformed into the Local and Family Health Administration in 1989. That administration was renamed the Community and Public Health Administration in 1997, and reorganized as the Community Health Administration in 2001.

Anne Arundel County Health Services Building, 3 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, Maryland, February 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


In 2009, functions of the Community Health Administration, including oversight of local health departments, transferred to the Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration. In July 2009, oversight of local departments of health was placed directly under the Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services.

Today, local health departments in Maryland's twenty-three counties and Baltimore City are overseen by the Public Health Services of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Each local health department administers and enforces State, county and municipal health laws, regulations, and programs. Public health programs tailored to community needs provide preventive care; immunizations; health education; drug and alcohol abuse counseling; and rabies and communicable disease prevention. Information about these and all other health-related state programs may be found by contacting local health departments.

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