The new department will have the specific charge of dealing with issues ranging from an avian flu pandemic to obesity. Previously public health was under the large umbrella of the Department of Health Services. Its new leader Doctor Mark Horton says the creation of a new department means the emphasis is where it should be.
“Things that were fifth or sixth priority in the larger department of health services will now be priority number one or number two in the new department…”
State officials say the Governor wants the new department to continue work on public health emergency preparedness. The new department was created by legislation signed into law last year.