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What Is Local Public Health?

Michigan has 45 local health departments (LHDs) representing one city, 30 counties, and 14 multi-county districts. LHDs aim to protect and improve the health of the communities they serve by preventing and controlling the spread of disease and injury, safeguarding against environmental threats, preparing and responding to public health emergencies, and promoting healthy behaviors.

LHDs provide a range of services, including immunizations, childhood hearing and vision screenings, and nutrition programs; regulation and inspection of restaurants, pools, private drinking water wells, and septic systems; ongoing surveillance of disease in their communities; and public health emergency preparedness and response, among other functions.

LHDs work closely with other components of the state’s public health system, which includes the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS); the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD); the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE); the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA); the Michigan Department of Education (MDE); the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO); the Michigan State Police (MSP); health care providers; universities; public health stakeholders; and community members.

MDHHS plays an important role in supporting the state’s LHDs by providing state and federal funding for local health services and overseeing local public health accreditation, in addition to providing technical support, laboratory services, and other supports.

Public health in Michigan is governed by the Public Health Code, Public Act 368 of 1978, as amended. State public health law and regulation are critical in granting authority, along with defining roles and responsibilities of a governmental public health system.

LHD contact information for each of Michigan’s 83 counties can be found via this interactive map.

For those looking for additional information about local public health in Michigan, Michigan’s Guide to Local Public Health for Local Governing Entities provides an excellent overview.