Public Health is a specialized science that focuses on the community as its client with an emphasis on health promotion/disease prevention activities. The Florida Department of Health in Broward County (DOH-Broward) is one of 67 Public Health Departments under the governance of the integrated Florida Department of Health (DOH). Although DOH-Broward is a state agency, it maintains a very strong partnership with Broward County Government, which is formalized in a core contract. The main administrative campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with additional facilities in geographically accessible locations. DOH-Broward is responsible for protecting, promoting and improving the health of the county’s 1.8 million residents and over 10 million annual visitors. Although DOH-Broward was founded in 1936, the current organizational structure dates to 1997 when the legislature created the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families from the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS).
DOH-Broward leads the local public health system in providing the Ten Essential Services of Public Health. The local public health system encompasses a complex series of relationships between all of the entities that affect the health of the community. These include: Health Care Providers, Hospitals, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Educational Institutions, Community Based Organizations, Faith Based Institutions, Philanthropic Organizations, Mental Health Agencies, First Responders, and many others. The Mission of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County is "to protect, promote and improve the health of all the people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts." The Vision is "to be the Healthiest State in the Nation." DOH-Broward currently employs a staff of approximately 550 and has an annual budget in excess of $46 million. DOH-Broward works with its partners to make Broward County a healthy place to live, work and play.
In order to best achieve its mission and vision, DOH-Broward is organized into a number of program areas that focus on the surveillance, prevention, detection and treatment of the most significant health and environmental issues within the county. The major services provided by DOH-Broward include:
Infectious Disease Services: HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Prevention and Patient Care, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), Tuberculosis Control (TB), Epidemiology and Disease Control, and Hepatitis.
Clinical and Nutrition Services: School Health, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Refugee Health, Family Planning, Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, Immunizations, Pharmacy, and Dental.
Environmental Health Services: Food Hygiene, Drinking Water Treatment and Distribution Facilities, Tattoo and Body Piercing, Healthy Beaches, Public Swimming Pool and Bathing Places Inspections, Group Care Facilities Inspections, Mobile Home Parks, Lead, Sanitary Nuisance and Rodent Control, Indoor Air Quality, Tanning, Onsite Sewage and Disposal Systems, Well Surveillance, Water Well Construction, and Rabies Control.
Emergency Preparedness and Response: All Hazards Planning, Leadership of Emergency Support Function 8, Health and Medical, Special Needs Shelters, Medical Reserve Corps, and Cities Readiness Initiative.
Wellness Programs: Drowning Prevention, Healthiest Weight Initiative, KidCare Outreach, Tobacco Prevention, and Employee Wellness.
Community Health Planning and Statistics: Community Health Planning, Data and Statistics, Healthy Start Data Entry, Outreach Planning Group, Vital Statistics, and Leadership of Community Coalitions.
A wide variety of professional and paraprofessional public health staff provide services within the program areas. These include Board Certified Physicians, Registered Nurses, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners, Dieticians, Epidemiologists, Dentists, Pharmacists, Health Educators, Disease Intervention Specialists, Sanitarians and Environmental Engineers, and various other health care workers.
DOH-Broward services are funded through a combination of Federal, State and Local Funding Sources. Local funding sources include: local grants, fees and Broward County Board of County Commission Funding.
Public Health Outcomes
At the national level, public health goals are guided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Healthy People 2020. The State of Florida Priorities for improving public health are addressed through a variety of plans including the Florida Department of Health’s Long Range Program Plan, the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) and the Agency Strategic Plan. The Broward County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) aligns with the State Plans and the Florida Department of Health in Broward County Strategic Plan.