View all series for BOARD OF HEALTH
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).
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. MSA SH108.