Health, Board of

Health-Board-ofHealth, Board of, is a policy-forming or advisory body that aids the executive branch of a government in operating the health department. Both state and local governments have boards of health.

Duties of a state board may be advisory or regulatory. Some state boards have executive and police powers to enforce public health laws. City and county boards may have similar duties and powers. In some states, all members must be physicians. In others, members must represent all professions concerned with public health. Still others specify representation of the nonprofessional public. Members of state boards may be appointed by the governor or elected by the state medical society. Members of local boards may be appointed by the mayor or council, or elected by the citizens.

The United States does not have a federal board of health. In its place, Congress has authorized the appointment of advisory committees and councils to the United States Public Health Service. The U.S. Public Health Service is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.