Structure of Governmental Public Health in Colorado
Local Public Health Agencies – Colorado has a decentralized public health system wherein each of its 64 counties are required to either operate a local public health agency or participate in a district public health agency. Prior to 2008, local public health was provided by a mix of public health nursing services and some organized local health departments. Today, 53 local public health agencies, some representing multiple counties, provide a set of Core Public Health Services and additional services customized to their community needs and resources. Public health professionals in local public health agencies are the front-line of public and environmental health in Colorado.
Local Boards of Health – Local boards of health provide administrative, policy, and financial oversight to their local health departments. Their role and make-up were formalized by the 2008 Public Health Act. Local public health agencies serving populations of 100,000 or more are required to have an independent board of health made up of at least five health experts and community members. LPHAs serving smaller populations can be governed by either an independent board of health, or at minimum, by a board of health comprised of the three county commissioners within a county.
State Health Department – First created in 1947, Colorado’s state health department was renamed the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in 1994. Headquartered in Glendale, Colorado, the department provides both traditional state public health services, like wellness promotion and vital records management, as well as environmental protection services, like water and air quality monitoring. The Colorado state health department is one of only a few state health departments with combined human and environmental health responsibilities and services. Learn more about CDPHE.