Medical Officer for Health
The Medical Officer for Health (MOH), also known as Medical Officer of Health, Medical Health Officer or District Medical Officer, is a title commonly used for the senior government official of a health department or agency, usually at a municipal, county/district, state/province, or regional level. The post is held by a physician who serves to advise and lead a team of public health professionals such as environmental health officers and public health nurses on matters of public health importance.
The equivalent senior health official at the national level is often referred to as the Chief Medical Officer, although the title varies across countries, for example known as the Surgeon General in the United States and the Chief Public Health Officer in Canada.
In Canada, all communities are under the jurisdiction of an MOH. The roles of the MOH vary across jurisdictions, but always include responsibilities related to public health and safety, and may include the following functions:
- responsibility for communicable disease control;
- assessing environmental threats to human health;
- providing leadership in public health emergency situations;
- overseeing health surveillance activities;
- providing expert advise on health promotion and disease prevention;
- recommending and developing public health policy.
In the United Kingdom, the municipal position was an elected head of the local board of health, however the term MOH has also been used to refer to the Chief Medical Officer. Under the Metropolis Local Management Act 1855, London municipalities were each required to appoint a medical officer. In 1856, 48 officers took up appointments in the city, and these specialists formed Metropolitan Association of Medical Officers of Health.
- William Henry Duncan, Liverpool
- John Simon, City of London (1848-1855) - see Medical Officer of Health for London
- Alfred Hill, Birmingham
- David Davies, Bristol
- Henry Armstrong, Newcastle upon Tyne
- Shirley Foster Murphy (1848-1923) St. Pancras (1878-1884)
- John Bristowe, Camberwell
- John Tripe, Hackney
- William Rendle, St. George Southwark (1856-1859)
- Edmund Gwynn, Hampstead
- B. A. Whitelegge (1852-1933), Nottingham (1884-9)
- Henry Beale Collins, Kingston
- Edwin Lankester, St. James
- George M'Gonigle, Stockton-on-Tees, (1924–39)
Health Officer is a common term used in the United States for public health officials such as medical health officers and environmental health officers. They may serve at the global, federal, state, county, or municipal level. Current major issues for health officials and health officers include tobacco control, injury prevention, public health surveillance, disease control, access to health care, health equity, health disparities, cultural competence, access to preventive services such as immunizations and health promotion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has described the winnable battles for prevention both domestically and from a global health perspective. These battles include but are not limited to: HIV/AIDS, motor vehicle injuries, healthcare-associated infections, teenage pregnancy, nutrition, food safety and obesity prevention, and malaria prevention.
- Role of the Medical Officer of Health. Health Canada, accessed 16 January 2012.
- Anne Hardy (1993). The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Disease and the Rise of Preventive Medicine. p. 4. ISBN 0-19-820377-2.
- Anne Hardy (2003). "Public health and the expert: the London Medical Officers of Health, 1856-1900". Government and Expertise: Specialists, Administrators and Professionals. ISBN 0-521-53450-X.
- "Infant Mortality in Kingston upon Thames in 1899".
- English, Mary P. (1990). English, M.P. 1990. Victorian values. The life and times of Dr. Edwin Lankester, M.D., F.R.S. ISBN 0-948737-14-X.
- Nitzkin JL, Rodu B, 2008. The case for harm reduction for control of tobacco-related illness and death. Resolution and White Paper, American Association of Public Health Physicians. Adopted October 26, 2008.
- "Center for Minority Health /UPitt". cmp.pitt.edu. Retrieved August 21, 2008.
- "AAPHP E news and bulletins". aaphp.org. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- CDC Winnable Battles Resources
- Ashton J, Recalling the Medical Officer of Health, Health Promotion 1989; 3: 413-419.