Celebrating 100 Years in Public Health!

100 years ago, Woodrow Wilson was president, World War I had just ended and public health in Ohio was in need of some organization.  The enactment of the Hughes Act and the Griswold Act provided that much needed re-organization and laid the foundation for public health efforts still in effect today.  In the 100 years that have passed since the enactment of Hughes-Griswold, public health has had a significant impact on health and quality of life: People are living longer, immunizations are available to prevent 18 deadly diseases; food safety and sanitation has improved and motor vehicle fatalities have been reduced by 90 percent.  While the last 100 years have been filled with much success and progress, the next 100 years promises to show the ever-growing presence and importance of public health in our everyday lives.  Join us as we celebrate 100 years of public health with the theme "How the past has made public health matter."

Ohio Public Health Timeline

1900s     Leading Cause of death is flu/pneumonia, TB, gastrointestinal illness

1918       Spanish Flu kills 25-50 million people worldwide

1919       Hughes-Griswold Act establishes basis for combined health districts and sets in motion the creation of most county health departments setting minimum standards

The Hughes-Griswold Act, passed in 1919, established municipal and general health districts across the state of Ohio to ensure that the state could effectively respond to public health crises. Although all municipalities in Ohio were required to form a Board of Health in 1893, after a statewide smallpox epidemic in 1917 and the nationwide influenza epidemic in 1918, it became clear that a more comprehensive and formalized approach to public health was necessary. In April 1919, Representative Hughes of Lorain introduced a law that established 102 health districts of two classes: municipal (in cities over 25,000) and general health (villages and townships). Each health district was required to have a full-time health commissioner, at least one full-time public health nurse, and at least one fulltime clerk. While the bill did not pass before the legislature adjourned, when they reconvened, the legislature passed the Hughes Bill with the Griswold Amendment in December of 1919. The amendment allowed for cities of 5,000 people or more to constitute a city health district and altered requirements for the Board of Health. – Courtesy of Lorain County Health Department

1920s     Dairy sanitation standards
(1924 National Public Health Service Created document to assist in development of statewide milk sanitation program in Alabama)

1920s     Maternal and Infancy Act enabled state health departments to employ nutritionists, and during the 1930s, the federal government developed food relief and food commodity distribution programs, including school feeding and nutrition education programs, and national food consumption surveys.

1925       Ohio starts national reporting of communicable disease

1930s     Federal food assistance starts (SNAP)

1953       Ohio adopts statewide food code

1953       Ohio LHDs given authority to abate nuisances, 3707.01

1955       National Polio Vaccine Effort (April)

1966       Medicare Takes Effect After the Medicare Act was signed in 1965, it went into effect, ensuring all Ohioans (and U.S.) residents 65 and over would have health insurance, regardless of income or medical history. The act led to the expansion of the nursing services in many LHDs, and also allowed for home care agencies to receive reimbursements. (From Lorain County Health Department)

1974       Federal WIC Program begins. WIC offices open in local health departments in following years.

1977       Ohio Minimum Guidelines for Sewage Systems Issued

1977       Ohio adopted rules for school inspections (1953 given authority for unsanitary conditions on school property)

1978       Ohio requires vaccinations for school (July), ORC 3313.67

1979       Smallpox declared eradicated

1986       Ohio mandatory seat belt law went into effect. (May 1986) Ohio became the 17th state to require drivers to buckle up.

1987       Pool licensing, sanitation & safety authority given to LHDs, ORC 119

1994       Back to Sleep Campaign Starts nationally

                Over 50% reduction in rate of SIDS

2005       Breastfeeding allowed in public

2006       SmokeFree Ohio passes

2009       Ohio passes booster seat law for children until age 8 or 4’9” tall

2015       Statewide Sewage Rules Adopted

2019       Celebrate 100 Years of Public Health: Added 25 Years to the life expectancy


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