Special visit kicks off local health department’s 100-year celebration

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The Tuscarawas County Health Department welcomes the state department’s Medical Director to kick off the centennial celebration!

Dr. Clint J. Koenig, Medical Director for the Ohio Department of Health, visited with the staff of the Tuscarawas County Health Department to applaud them for their collaborative work in program planning and quality improvement.  Dr. Koenig also lent his ear for any thoughts on how the state and local health departments can continue collaboration and joint partnerships.

Commissioner Seward shared her gratitude with Dr. Koenig for taking time out of his schedule to come and meet with the staff at the health department, “to know that the work you do locally means something to those at the state level means so much to the staff, the Board of Health, and myself.  This is certainly a day to remember.”  Dr. Koenig spent about 2 hours with Commissioner Seward and the Department Directors and went on a tour of the building.  He took time for a photo opportunity as well.

Commissioner Seward added further, “Dr. Koenig’s visit coincides nicely with our 100-year celebration that will start January 1, 2019.  To think the Tuscarawas County Health Department has been serving the residents of Tuscarawas for 100 years is astonishing!”  Officials explained that 2019 holds many exciting events for the Tuscarawas County Health Department: GuardCare, the long-awaited outcome of their Accreditation Site Visit, a potential redesign of programming so as to bolster population health for the county, and many more things to come for the health department and the county.

TCHD was established in 1919, 100 years ago? In the 1918s and the 1919s, each municipality or township in Ohio could choose to operate as its own health district, employing part-time, informally-educated public health employees on salaries averaging $4-10 a week.  More than 2,100 health districts existed in Ohio in the first two decades of the 1900s, with little oversight from the State Board of Health.

The Hughes Law and subsequent Griswold Act, which received widespread support from labor unions, women’s organizations and medical professionals, created a public health model for the country by organizing local health districts into city and county areas of populations of 25,000 or more.  This law was a direct response to the influenza epidemic (pandemic) of 1918/9 in which more than one-half million people died in the United States and more than 20 million worldwide.

At a minimum, each district was required to employ a full-time health commissioner, a nurse, and a clerk. In addition, each district was required to have a five-member board of health, with the health commissioner serving as administrative or executive agent of that board. A newly reorganized State Department of Health was given more oversight over local health districts, though local health officials retained the authority to resolve local issues.


To learn more about the history of the health department and the programs and services they offer, go to their website at www.tchdnow.org or contact them at 330-343-5555.  You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

The Tuscarawas County Health Department is dedicated to promoting healthy choices, preventing disease, protecting the environment for all persons who live, work and play in our community.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: