California Department of Public Health

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California Department of Public Health
Agency overview
Jurisdiction California
Annual budget US$ 3.5 billion (2011)
Agency executive
  • Dr. Karen Lee Smith, Director
Parent agency California Health and Human Services Agency

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is the state department responsible for public health in California. It is a subdivision of the California Health and Human Services Agency. One of its functions is to oversee vital records operations throughout the state.[1]

Medical Marijuana Program[edit]

CDPH operates the Medical Marijuana Program, tasked with issuing identification cards under Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and California Senate Bill 420.

Kids' Plates Program[edit]

CDPH administers the state's Kids' Plates program, which funds programs to protect children through the sale of customized license plates featuring one of four symbols- Heart, Hand, Star or Plus sign in the plate message. Of the proceeds, 50% supports child care licensing and inspections, 25% supports prevention of child abuse and 25% supports accidental childhood injury prevention programs.[2]

Lead-contaminated lunch bag incident, 2007[edit]

In 2007 it was discovered that CDPH had distributed green canvas "EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AND BE ACTIVE" lunch bags (soft lunch boxes) whose cover, lining, and logo "tested high for lead levels".[3] Although CDPH eventually asked that people not use 56,000 green or 247,000 blue lunch bags,[4] CDPH was criticized by an advocacy group for not notifying parents quickly enough of the presence of lead in the green ones.[5]

Medical Privacy Fines, 2009[edit]

In 2009 CDPH imposed two fines totaling more than $400,000 against Kaiser Permanente hospital in Bellflower, CA, for failing to prevent unauthorized access to confidential patient information. The first fine was in May, of $250,000. It was the largest under a state law enacted following widely publicized violations of privacy involving celebrities, including Farrah Fawcett, Britney Spears and California First Lady Maria Shriver.

A second fine, of $187,500, was part of an investigation into employees improperly accessing the medical records of the so-called Octomom Nadya Suleman and her children. [6]

Social Marketing[edit]

CDPH uses Twitter to provide public health information.[7]


  1. ^ Figueroa, Teri (May 19, 2009), "No more free peeks at vital records", North County Times (San Diego, CA) 
  2. ^ Redding Recreation- Peter Griggs. "Kids Plates Program". Shasta Drowning Prevention. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  3. ^ Bernhard, Blythe (September 20, 2007), "Lunch bags may be tainted: State health agency warns against soft lunch bags they distributed because they may be contaminated with lead", Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA) 
  4. ^ Questions and Answers About Lead-Contaminated Lunch Boxes, Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, January 28, 2008 
  5. ^ Lewis, Truman (September 21, 2007), "California's 'Healthy Lunchbox' Promotion Backfires: State now urges parents to toss the Chinese-made lunchboxes because of a lead hazard", (Los Angeles, CA) 
  6. ^ "L.A. Now". The Los Angeles Times. July 16, 2009. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived July 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]