Public Health Presence
The Lawrence and Douglas County community has benefited from a strong public health presence for more than 120 years. The Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health's mission is to advance policies, practices and programs that promote health for all, prevent disease and protect the environment.
In 1885, the City of Lawrence hired its first Health Officer to control filth-borne epidemics. In 1942, Douglas County participated with the City of Lawrence in the creation of a joint city-county health department. The Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health continues to serve as the local public health authority to this day.
Between 1885 and 1942, public health experienced significant growth. Noteworthy achievements include:
- Establishment of a Kansas Board of Health in 1885
- The formation of a U.S. Public Health Service in 1889
- Expansion from a City of Lawrence Health Officer position to a City of Lawrence Health Unit in 1929
- Sanitation programs commenced in the late 1920s
With a professional and passionate staff, the Public Health works to prevent disease and protect and promote the health of the people of Lawrence and Douglas County. The Public Health was instrumental in helping the City of Lawrence establish a tobacco use ordinance and continues to provide leadership and infrastructure support to LiveWell Lawrence and the Community Heath Improvement Partnership. Staff members serve on multiple social service agency boards such as Success By Six, Safe Kids Coalition, Together Prepared and the Douglas County Dental Clinic. Recognized at both state and national levels for achieving excellence in public health service delivery, the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health maintains strong partnerships within the civic, academic and social service communities, providing services at reasonable rates to all people in the community.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health will lead the way to health for the community. This begins by helping the people we serve understand the benefits of a strong public health presence. To affect positive change in population health outcomes, we intend to:
- Be more visible in the community by expanding our community partnerships and advocating for health in all policies
- Be a trusted source of information for local policymakers and the community
- Provide information that is timely, accurate, concise and germane to the issue at hand
- Use evidence-based strategies to improve health outcomes for our population
- Serve all segments of our community practicing cultural sensitivity, understanding barriers to service and health disparities