Icon Agency History for board of health

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Established in 1874, the Board of Health consisted of five physicians appointed by the governor to "take cognizance of the interests of health and life among the people generally" and "make sanitary investigations and inquiries respecting the causes of diseases, especially epidemics, the sources of mortality and the effects of localities, employments, conditions, and circumstances on the public health" (Chapter 200, Acts of 1874). The board served in an advisory capacity and lacked regulatory authority. It attempted to prevent or suppress epidemics through vaccination and inspection of sanitary conditions in towns, prisons, almshouses, and hospitals, as well as slaughterhouses and other places where foodstuffs were produced or prepared. In 1880, the Board of Health was reorganized and given regulatory power to establish local boards of health and respond to emergencies (Chapter 438, Acts of 1880). Board membership was increased to seven, and included one civil engineer, three physicians, the attorney general, and the commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department. Another physician, who served as secretary and executive officer of the board, acted as the "superintendent of vital statistics." In 1910, the Board of Health became the advisory and policy setting body for the newly established Department of Health (Chapter 560, Acts of 1910). The board was replaced by the Board of Health and Mental Hygiene in 1961 when the activities of the Department of Health and Department of Mental Hygiene were combined (Chapter 841, Acts of 1961). See also: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. MSA SH108.