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Director of Health


"Director of Health" is a term characteristically used to describe the chief executive officer of a local or state health department. Sometimes the title "Health Commissioner" is used in local agencies. Approximately one-third of local agency top executives hold medical doctoral degrees, and fewer than twenty percent have graduate public health degrees. Doctoral degrees are most common in local agency executives serving populations of 500,000 or more. Almost sixty percent of current local agency directors have been in their positions more than five years. Qualifications are highly variable for state health directors and turnover is typically rapid.

C. William Keck

(see also: Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; National Association of County and City Health Officials; National Association of Local Boards of Health; State and Local Health Departments )


Rawding, N., and Wasserman, M. (1997). "The Local Health Department." In Principles of Public Health Practice, eds. D. Scutchfield and W. Keck. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers.

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