Local public health agencies located throughout Missouri work to improve the health of thousands of Missourians every year. These agencies address a wide range of public health issues, from assessing the health risks of environmental problems to providing emergency services during natural disasters. Local public health agencies protect food safety by inspecting restaurants and grocery stores. And they work to control communicable diseases such as flu and tuberculosis and to alleviate chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Most local public health agencies were formed under Chapter 205, Revised Statutes of Missouri, which allows counties to enact a property tax to support local public health services. Each of these public health agencies has an elected board of trustees that sets policy for the agency.

Other local public health agencies are governed by locally elected bodies such as county commissions and city and county councils. Local funding for those agencies comes from city and county general revenue.

Missouri’s 115 local public health agencies operate independently of each other and are independent of state and federal public health agencies. The local agencies work directly with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services through contracts to deliver public health services to the communities they serve. Funding for many of the contracts comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other federal agencies, state general revenue and other sources. The state health department also provides technical support, laboratory services, a communication network and other services to support local public health efforts.

Local public health agencies also work with numerous partners, including private health care professionals and health advocacy organizations, to improve the health of Missourians.