Medical Officer for Health

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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:[1]


Health officers in India are expected to have prescribed qualifications, such as a Bachelor of Sanitary Science (B.S.Sc.), a degree of an institution recognized by the Medical Council of India or a diploma in Public Health after a 2 year study at the University of Calcutta.[2]

United Kingdom[edit]

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,[3] and these specialists formed Metropolitan Association of Medical Officers of Health.


United States[edit]

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,[7] 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.[8][9]

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.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Role of the Medical Officer of Health. Health Canada, accessed 16 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Notification No:22/2014 Health Officer in the Tamil Nadu Public Health Service, 2013-2014" (pdf). TAMIL NADU PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION. 10 December 2014. p. 14. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Anne Hardy (1993). The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Disease and the Rise of Preventive Medicine. p. 4. ISBN 0-19-820377-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 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. 
  5. ^ "Infant Mortality in Kingston upon Thames in 1899" (PDF). 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Center for Minority Health /UPitt". Retrieved August 21, 2008. 
  9. ^ "AAPHP E news and bulletins". Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  10. ^ CDC Winnable Battles Resources

Further reading[edit]

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