As the flagship of Ohio’s Public health infrastructure, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) works with 130 local health departments to “protect and improve the health of all Ohioans.”
ODH impacts Ohioans from cradle to grave – from helping provide pre-natal care, to issuing your birth certificate, to perhaps providing your first immunizations, to offering family planning information, to performing nursing home inspections to issuing your death certificate. ODH impacts Ohioans from sunrise to sunset – Going out to breakfast? An ODH – regulated program inspects that restaurant to ensure it meets food-safety standards. Hitting the beach with our family? ODH tested it to ensure bacteria levels are safe for swimming. If not, ODH recommends a sign be posted telling you just that. Going out for a nighttime summer concert? ODH reminds you to cover up with light-colored clothing to protect yourself from mosquito bites and potential West Nile virus infection.
ODH is a cabinet agency, meaning the director reports to the governor. ODH is organized in three divisions – Prevention, Quality Assurance and Family Community Health Services and each has its unique focuses. Prevention is exactly what it says – the arm that works to prevent illness and injury and also conducts disease investigations. Quality Assurance is our regulator section, while Family and Community Health Service work to provide access to care.
Healthy Ohio – the State of Living Well – has three core program areas: health promotion, disease prevention and health equity. These areas work collaboratively with public and private partners and consult with the Healthy Ohio Advisory Council to create the changes in communities, worksites and schools that lead to better health for all Ohioans.
Division of Family and Community Health Services
ODH works hard to provide targeted health services to Ohioans. Many programs are designed to eliminate barriers to care and disparities in health outcomes, such as our infant mortality reduction initiative that aims to decrease mortality for African-American babies through the work of dedicated community health workers. The Women, Infants and Children program that provides coupons for formula and foods for mothers and their children. Our rural Health Clinics and Minority AIDS initiative also help increase access