What is the purpose of the Texas Department of Health?


Quick Answer

The purpose of the Texas State Department of Health Services is to improve the health and well-being of Texas residents. Its goals include preventing and preparing for health threats, facilitating the recovery of individuals with infectious diseases and mental illnesses, and protecting consumers.

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Full Answer

The Texas State Department of Health Services provides information, services and resources for preparing for an emergency, assistance in smoking cessation and help locating mental health facilities. Its main office is in Austin, and it has eight regional offices.

Texas founded its State Department of Health Services in 1879. At the time, the governor named it the Texas Quarantine Department. In 19th century, Texas had experienced various epidemics, and by 1879, the governor and state legislature decided it was necessary for a state health officer to oversee the quarantines.

By 1891, the Quarantine Department's work expanded to include oversight of internal sanitation. State health officers focused their efforts of promoting disease prevention. In 1909, the legislature abolished the department, by then known as the Department of Public Health and Vital Statistics. The legislature established the Texas Board of Health in its stead.

The Board of Health, renamed the Department of Health in 1927, continued to expand its programs and services throughout the 20th century. These programs and services included conducting inspections to enforce sanitary laws, providing nutrition services and assisting local health departments.

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