|CHS Administration Handbook
Minnesota's Public Health System
The Minnesota Department of Health
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.
Policy, Quality, and Compliance
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?
Public 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
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.
Next: Background on CHS Administration