CHS Administration Handbook Rev. 2013
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Minnesota's Public Health System

The Minnesota Department of Health

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The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) exists to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans. It was preceded by the State Board of Health (created in 1872), and became the Minnesota Department of Health in 1977. MDH is led by the Commissioner of Health, who is appointed by and reports directly to the Governor.

Executive Office

Img Commissioner of Health
Img Communications Office
Img Director of American Indian Health [Email]
  Legal Unit
Img Legislative Relations
Img Performance Improvement

Health Improvement

Img Community & Family Health
Img Health Promotion & Chronic Disease
Img Minority & Multicultural Health
Img Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives

Policy, Quality, and Compliance

Img Compliance Monitoring
Img Health Policy

Administrative Services

  Finance & Facilities Management
Img Human Resource Management
Img Information Systems & Technology Management (MN.IT)
  Internal Audit

Health Protection

Img Environmental Health
Img Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention & Control
Img Emergency Preparedness
Img Public Health Laboratory
  State Epidemiologist & Medical Director

MDH is Where You Get...

  • Birth and death certificates.
  • Around-the-clock monitoring for infectious diseases.
  • Assurance that the water and food are safe to drink and eat.
  • A swift, effective response to disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.
  • Investigation into novel illnesses.
  • Planning with hospitals and health care systems to rapidly care for large numbers of injured or ill victims.
  • An immunization program for preventable diseases.
  • Data to identify economic trends such as health care costs.
  • Data to identify public health concerns, such as obesity.
  • Health reforms to improve population health and the medical system.
  • Quality measurement and public reporting of clinical care.
  • Statewide health improvements that focus on policy, environmental, and systems changes in communities.
  • Assurance that inappropriate care in nursing homes, hospitals and other care facilities is corrected.
  • Planning to help ensure rural Minnesotans have access to care.
  • Statewide food programs for women, infants and children.
  • Information about health behaviors and chronic disease prevention, such as which diseases are among the most prevalent, costly and preventable.
  • Information about effective approaches to improving health and reducing the state's incidence of chronic diseases.
  • Efforts to eliminate health disparities between Minnesota's different ethnic populations.
  • Programs that encourage people to make healthy choices.
  • Advice about reducing environmental and pollution risks to health.

Office of Performance Improvement

Working across MDH and in partnership with CHBs, the MDH Office of Performance Improvement (OPI) provides leadership, technical assistance, consultation, planning support, and performance measurement to assure that public health activities are closely coordinated and non-duplicative between state and local governments; are of high quality; reflect strategic goals; and that all Minnesotans, regardless of where they live, have access to the basic services of public health. OPI exists to build capacity and improve performance of Minnesota's state and local public health system.


Who Should I Call?

Find Your PHNCPublic Health Nurse Consultants

The MDH regional Public Health Nurse Consultant (or PHNC) should be your first stop for help, as s/he will be able to answer many different kinds of questions, and can direct you to additional resources at MDH. To find your region's PHNC, visit the PHNCs online.

Subject Matter Experts

Img     MDH: Frequently Called Phone Numbers by Subject

You can find contact information for MDH subject matter experts below; specific names are not listed as staff switch jobs between handbook revisions. A larger list of frequently called phone numbers is online.

Icon Health Statistics
Icon Health Information Technology
Icon Emergency Preparedness
Icon Local Preparedness Planning
Icon Tuberculosis
Icon Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV
Icon Immunizations
Icon Communities Putting Prevention to Work
Icon Physical Activity and Nutrition Strategies
Icon Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Icon Maternal and Child Health
Icon Local Accreditation Support
Icon Quality Improvement
Icon Assessment and Planning
Icon Annual Reporting

Key Resources

Icon About the Minnesota Department of Health
Icon Office of Performance Improvement
Icon Public Health Nurse Consultants
Icon Building a Solid Foundation for Public Health: A Biennial Report on the Public Health System
MDH Office of Performance Improvement

Next: Background on CHS Administration