Health/Human Services Department - Health Division

Health and Human Services Department

Since 1887, New Jersey's municipalities have been required to have a local Board of Health with the power to pass ordinances and make rules and regulations in regard to public health. In the 100 years since then, the role and function of local Boards of Health has evolved to meet changing public health needs. Local health activities in the early 1900's were focused on basic sanitation, infectious disease epidemics and immunization campaigns. However, changing health issues and needs have involved local Boards of Health in such diverse and complex issues as AIDS, drug resistant tuberculosis, lead poisoning, asbestos, environmental contamination, occupational health, cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention and health promotion.

Local Boards of Health are required today by "Recognized Public Health Activities and Minimum Standards of Performance for Local Boards of Health in New Jersey" (N.J.A.C. 8:52) to provide a comprehensive array of public health services in the area of public health administration, environmental health, communicable disease, maternal and child health, and adult health services.

These regulations, which are promulgated by the State's Public Health Council, serve in the large part to direct the activities of local Boards of Health. However, local Boards of Health also have responsibilities in such areas as water pollution, solid waste and air pollution which are under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; childcare under the jurisdiction of the Department of Human Services; housing under the jurisdiction of the Department of Community Affairs.