The Miami-Dade County Health Department and its Role in the Community
The Miami-Dade County Health Department (MDCHD) is the local branch of a state public agency, the Florida Department of Health, created by the legislature in 1997. The Health Department is charged with promoting and protecting the health and safety of all residents and visitors to Dade County. Although the Florida Department of Health is a new agency, the Miami-Dade County Health Department has served the Greater Miami-Dade County community since the 1940's under various organizational structures.
The MDCHD represents the largest population of the 67 county health departments operating under the Florida Department of Health, and is the second largest health department (following Palm Beach) in terms of budget and number of employees. The MDCHD has an operating budget of $78.6 million to deliver public health services to over 2.5 million residents of Miami-Dade County, 15% of the state's population. Approximately 46% of the budget is state money appropriated by the legislature, 40% is derived from Federal Funds, and 14% from local fees generated for services.
Protecting and Promoting Health
The responsibilities of the Miami-Dade County Health Department are to:
- prevent epidemics and the spread of disease
- protect against environmental hazards
- prevent injuries
- promote and encourage healthy behaviors
- respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery efforts
- assure the quality and accessibility of health services
In addition to these global concerns, the MDCHD has identified certain populations to target specific programs or services based on its public health mission. These include providing testing and treatment for persons with preventable communicable diseases; such as sexually transmitted diseases (STD), tuberculosis (TB), and HIV/AIDS. The MDCHD also offers a wide range of programs aimed at women, infants and children. These family health programs include school-based health clinics, immunizations, family planning clinics, nutritional programs, programs that target high-risk pregnant women and high-risk children, teen pregnancy programs and others.
The MDCHD has several facilities located throughout the county. There are three full service locations located in the North, Central and South regions of the county and six smaller health clinics that serve specific areas. Administrative functions are centralized at the downtown location.
The MDCHD maintains a staff of 864 employees: 777 (85%) are classified as career service positions (the state's civil service system) and 87 (15%) are Other Personnel Services (OPS) employees. The Department's employees are a highly educated group with 34% of the career services employees having completed undergraduate college courses and 22% with graduate-level college education. Employee categories include: administrative/clerical (36%), managerial (5%), other professionals (22%), para-professionals (7%), physicians (1%), professional health care (22%) and support services (5%).
The MDCHD has many relationships with partners in the community on both a formal and informal basis. Almost $15 million is spent on outside contracts with more than 80 community providers.
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