Leaders Formalize Efforts To Protect Michigan Citizens

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

August 16, 2006

LANSING – Leaders from three state agencies tasked with protecting Michigan's public health agreed to formalize partnerships between Michigan and local health departments today, with the signing of a first-of-its-kind document that cements the bond between them.

Directors from the state departments of Agriculture, Community Health and Environmental Quality joined the Michigan Association for Local Public Health (MALPH) in agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that clearly outlines both state and local public health responsibilities.

Modeled after a document developed by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, (ASTHO), and the National Association of County and City Health Officials, (NACCHO), the MOU formalizes the partnership between state government agencies and local health departments to work together to address the areas of resource allocation, policy development, advocacy, and national coordination.

"By formalizing this agreement between state and local agencies that safeguard public health on a daily basis, our state will be better protected in times of crisis,” said Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “The solid state and local partnerships we currently have in place are absolutely essential to protecting all of Michigan's citizens."

Michigan is the first state in the country to formally endorse this national model agreement.

"This agreement builds on our ongoing work with our colleagues at the local level with public health accreditation, emergency preparedness, and other initiatives that continue to put our state in the forefront of promoting and protecting the health of our citizens,” said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health.

"Our state/local collaboration has been tested recently by several food safety-related challenges in Michigan and passed with flying colors,” said Michigan Department of Agriculture Director Mitch Irwin.

"Today's signing ratifies, in a formal way, the partnership the Department of Environmental Quality has with Michigan’s local health departments to protect Michigan’s communities from environmental hazards and practices that may harm human health," stated Steven Chester, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

"We intend to use this agreement to build even stronger ties with our state partners in health endeavors,” said MALPH President Kim Singh. "This agreement assures Michigan’s citizens that state and local health authorities are always working together to protect and promote their health.”

Michigan’s public health programs, while primarily managed by the Michigan Department of Community Health, are delivered through Michigan’s network of local health departments who also work directly with the Michigan Department of Agriculture to conduct restaurant inspections and other food protection and safety programs and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to inspect water wells, septic systems, campgrounds, swimming pools, among other activities.