Part 4 of the 90th Anniversary for the Health Department

This article is Part IV of the 90th Anniversary of the Cattaraugus County Health Department Series.

Year 2013 marks the 90th Anniversary for the Cattaraugus County Health Department, the first organized county health department in New York State. It has been our privilege to share a brief history with the public, most of which is taken from C.E.A. Winslow’s Health on the Farm and in the Village: A Review and Evaluation of the Cattaraugus County Health Demonstration with Special Reference to Its Lessons for Other Rural Areas, 1931. (Parts 1 through 3 were published in previous months).

In 1923, the Cattaraugus County Health Department (CCHD) was officially launched as the first organized county health unit in New York State by the County Board of Supervisors. The Supervisors established a County Board of Health, which in turn appointed the county health officer and director of the demonstration. Cattaraugus County was of particular interest to the Milbank Memorial Fund for its already active interest in health programs. To build on efforts already in place, the Fund issued the new county health department to specifically address tuberculosis control and maternal and child health. The first efforts initiated by the newly formed department were aimed at establishing organization. With headquarters in Olean, six distinct bureaus were created to address communicable disease, tuberculosis, statistical records, laboratory diagnostic services, maternity, infant and child hygiene, and health education and awareness. At the same time, six district health stations were created, each run by a public health nurse; county school hygiene services were developed to provide examinations; and a health education program and social service organization were developed.

Activities were extensive; see highlights provided from 1923 to 1929:

It has been our pleasure sharing our history with you. Feel free to call us at either 800-251-2584 or at 716-373-8050 if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to serving you for another 90 years!

Submitted on December 12, 2013 by Debra J. Nichols, Public Health Educator