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The DHSS Vision, Mission, and Values

The new DHSS Vision is “Optimal health and safety for all Missourians, in all communities, for life.” This vision statement includes both “health” and “safety” since many DHSS divisions and programs are designed to serve Missourians to improve their health outcomes and ensure they live healthy lives in safety. The phrases “in all communities” and “for life” call out our commitment to serve Missourians regardless of where they live and throughout all stages of life.

The new DHSS Mission is “to promote health and safety through prevention, collaboration, education, innovation, and response”. Our mission defines how we will work to achieve our vision.

The new DHSS values are: excellence, collaboration, access, integrity, and accountability. These are defined as:

Value Definition
Excellence We strive to empower our team members to deliver quality services and exceed the needs of Missourians
Collaboration We engage and communicate openly with a diverse group of partners to improve health for all Missourians
Access We deliver services to Missourians in a manner that is sensitive to their unique needs and circumstances while reflecting our rich, diverse community
Integrity We conduct services with a consistency of character in a highly principled manner by honoring our commitments and maintaining our ethics
Accountability We embrace responsibility for our work and ensure Missourians view us as a trusted source of information

Together these statements define our direction for the next five years:

DHSS will achieve optimal health and safety for all Missourians, in all communities, for life by promoting health and safety through prevention, collaboration, education, innovation, and response while maintaining our values of excellence, collaboration, access, integrity, and accountability.

Check out the full version of the DHSS Strategic Plan to learn more about how teams across DHSS came together to develop our priorities, how all team members contributed to the process through an all-staff survey, and how our steering committee ensured success throughout the project.

What are our Priorities?

Strategic map for DHSS The new DHSS Strategic Map details the five strategic priorities, two crosscutting priorities, and the objectives under each category designed to ensure progress towards achieving our vision.

  • Invest in Innovation to modernize infrastructure:
    • Public Health infrastructure is central to DHSS being able to provide quality services across the State of Missouri. Infrastructure includes initiatives such as foundational public health services, technology and data modernization, health planning, quality improvement, and abilities to strategize for future opportunities and threats to Missourians.
  • Re-envision and strengthen the workforce:
    • At DHSS, people are central to the quality and quantity of services we provide. A strong and reliable public health, direct provider, healthcare, and support workforce is key to making sure we can fulfill our role as the State Health Authority. This includes finding new solutions to improve efficiency, providing training and development opportunities to DHSS employees, instilling a sense of belonging to DHSS team members, and much more.
  • Build and strengthen partnerships
    • Partnerships are essential for DHSS to deliver services to Missourians. From working with other governmental agencies to local community organizations, DHSS is committed to building and strengthening relationships across sectors, professions, and communities to further our goals and support our mission.
  • Use Clear & Consistent Communication to Build Trust:
    • Communication is the foundation for how we educate Missourians about health and make sure our services are reaching those in need. Focusing on understanding how we communicate, build trust, and maximize our impact is essential to a healthier Missouri.
  • Expand access to services
    • Understanding Missourians’ health needs and priorities greatly influences the way we provide services across the State of Missouri. By studying how and where we provide services, we can better understand program gaps, demographic changes, and more.
  • Crosscutting priority: Include diversity and inclusion in all practices, programs, and services
    • To best serve all Missourians, DHSS centralizes internal education surrounding health disparities, needs, and challenges related to each demographic in the State of Missouri.
  • Crosscutting priority: Plan for the impact of the aging population:
    • As the population of Missouri continues to age, DHSS will pay special attention to establishing new and adapting existing services to best serve this growing demographic across the State of Missouri.

A Continuing Tradition...

In 1883 the citizens of Missouri realized that the state could not prosper if the health of its residents was not protected. Epidemics of smallpox, typhoid and cholera severely threatened the health and welfare of Missourians. Concerned physicians led a citizens’ campaign to establish a state agency responsible for the promotion of the people’s health and the prevention of disease. On March 29, 1883, the Missouri Legislature responded by creating a State Board of Health.

The steady increase in the population and the extended life expectancy of Missourians show that the first State Board of Health successfully fulfilled its mandate to build an effective state public health agency.

When state government was reorganized in 1945, the Board of Health was superseded by the Division of Health of the Department of Public Health and Welfare. In October 1967 the Legislature again created a State Board of Health but within the framework of the Division of Health. Members of the Board of Health are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

State government reorganization in 1974 placed the Division of Health in the Department of Social Services. At that time, the division’s environmental engineering and solid waste programs were transferred to the Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Crippled Children’s Service became a part of the Division of Health. After the 83rd General Assembly passed Senate Bill 25 and Governor John Ashcroft signed the legislation on July 29, 1985, the Department of Health (DOH) was created. That September, the department was officially empowered, charged with supervising and managing all public health functions and programs formerly administered by the Division of Health.

Executive Order 01-02, signed on Jan. 5, 2001, by Governor Roger Wilson, transferred the Division of Aging to the Department of Health effective Aug. 28, 2001, to become the Department of Health and Senior Services. Combining senior and public health issues into one system has allowed the department to more effectively focus on prevention and quality of life for all Missourians.