The Illinois Department of Public Health was created in 1877 to regulate medical practitioners and to promote sanitation. Today, IDPH is responsible for protecting the state’s 12.4 million residents, as well as countless visitors, through the prevention and control of disease and injury. The Department’s nearly 200 programs touch virtually every age, aspect and cycle of life.
Public health means different things to different people. It often evokes the image of a restaurant inspector, but the range of services is much broader — vaccinations to protect children against disease…testing to assure the safety of food, water and drugs…licensing to ensure quality health care in hospitals and nursing homes…investigations to control the outbreak of infectious diseases…collection and evaluation of health statistics to develop prevention and regulatory programs…screening newborns for genetic diseases…programs to meet the special health needs of women. Combined, these vital programs and services make up Illinois’ public health system, a system that bears major responsibility for the quality of life in the state.