Medical Officer for Health
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.
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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.
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. They were important and influential in the establishment of municipal hospitals under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1929. In the 1974 NHS reorganisation they were replaced by Community Physicians who were attached to the different levels of the NHS.
- Arthur Newsholme
- 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)
- C. Killick Millard, Leicester, (1901–35)
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2017)|
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[when?] 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.
- Role of the Medical Officer of Health. Health Canada, accessed 16 January 2012.
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- 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.
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- Ashton J, Recalling the Medical Officer of Health, Health Promotion 1989; 3: 413-419.