Department of Health

Entity: 483
Entity Type: State Government


The State Public Health Director and the State Board of Health were created in 1898. The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public's health through preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death; assuring access to affordable, quality health care; and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Biography/History Notes

Purpose: "To improve the overall health status of Utahns by reducing personal injury, decreasing the incidence of communicable diseases like tuberculosis and whooping cough, inspecting Utah's health facilities and restaurants, promoting healthy lifestyles, improving the medical and emergency health systems, and providing health insurance for low income families. The Department works closely with Utah's 12 local health departments, the health care community, and advocacy groups to achieve these goals." The Department has approximately 700 employees and an annual budget of $650 million. About $574 million--88 percent of the budget--is in the Division of Health Care Financing which operates the Medicaid program." (From "Capitol Connections" newsletter, volume 1, issue 7, November 1993, page 4.) The Department of Health will implement its mission through: Assessment: Collecting, analyzing and disseminating information on public health, including data on health status community health needs, the health care delivery system, and the relationships between human health. Policy Development: Proposing public health policies, rules and initiatives based on data assessment. Seeking public input in the development of public health policies, rules and initiatives. Advocating the adoption and implementation of policies which promote healthy lifestyles and protect the public's health. Assurance: Developing standards and procedures and assuring compliance with public health rules and laws. Planning and implementing programs which assure availability of medical care and basic health services for all Utahns. Strengthening local health departments and fostering community and private sector health activities." (Source: DOH web site,

The Department of Health is headed by an executive director who is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Qualifications are specified by law. The qualification that the director be a physician who has completed one year's graduate work in an accredited school or program of public health may be waived provided that the deputy director of the department possess these qualifications.

The Health Department was moved into the Department of Health & Welfare in 1967 (UCA 26-15-1) and renamed the Division of Health. In 1969 the Division of Health was moved into the Department of Social Services (UCA 26-15-1). In 1981 (UCA 26-1-1) an independent Department of Health was again created and assumed those health duties that formerly had been part of Social Services.


Health Care
Health protocol administration
Health promotion