What Are State and Territorial Public Health Departments?
Governmental public health agencies exist in every state and territory and have a broad mandate to protect and promote the health of their jurisdictions' population. With local and community partners, state and territorial public health departments are on the front lines of keeping people healthy every day. Led by public health professionals from a variety of disciplines, state maternal and child health programs are one of the longest-standing units in governmental health departments dating to the creation of MCH programs in all states in the early 1920s. The structure and configuration of each state's health agency is unique and specific to the needs, culture, and governance in the state or territory.
State Title V Workforce Development Survey: Program Profiles, Preliminary Findings, October 2008
Seeking to better understand and address state Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) workforce and leadership needs, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health (ATMCH), with support from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) surveyed these programs between May and August 2008. Both programs in all 59 jurisdictions were requested to complete a web-based survey instrument that would provide a national profile of the state programs’ components and functions, and would indicate priority needs and preferred strategies with respect to workforce development. All 50 states and the District of Columbia provided at least one program response; of these, 49 MCH (96%) and 44 CYSHCN (86%) programs completed the survey. Four of the eight U.S. territories completed the survey. Click here to download the report.
Looking for state or territory specific information on MCH programs, including your state's MCH contact information?
Visit AMCHP's State Title V Profiles page and our State Snapshots pages.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is the national organization representing state health officials. AMCHP is an ASTHO Affiliate and active participant in the ASTHO Affiliate Council, a group of state-based public health organizations all committed to supporting state and territorial public health departments. For state-by-state guides to health agency organization, function, and structure, click here to view information on research by ASTHO on state health agency infrastructure and capacity. ASTHO's recent report ASTHO ASTHO State Profile of Public Health is a helpful resource as well.
Other Resources on Public Health Agency Organization and Function
The following resources provide additional information on state health agency structure and functions:
Reorganizing State Health Agencies, October 2004
This National Governors Association report provides a nationwide snapshot of state health agency organizational structures and examines state efforts to restructure these agencies during 2003. It also describes the focus, goals and overall outcomes of restructuring efforts. Because of Medicaid's prominence in state budgets, it places special emphasis on changes affecting the Medicaid program and its placement in state organizational structures. It also highlights the organizational placement of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant (Title V MCH) program.