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The Center for Local Health, established in 2014, is the liaison between the Bureau for Public Health and the 49 autonomous local boards of health and health departments in West Virginia. Under the direction and leadership of the Deputy Commissioner for Administration, the Center works with the Bureau’s 16 offices and centers to provide funding to support the statewide delivery of public health services, establish reporting requirements for local boards of health and health departments, publish statewide data, deploy training and technical assistance and support statewide communications to local boards of health and local health departments. The establishment of this unit as the Center in 2014 was an important step to support the strategic alignment of state and local public health resources with the contemporary challenges and changes facing our public health system and impacting the health of our communities.
Support to local health departments and local boards of health has traditionally been focused on core public health functions such as the prevention and control of infectious disease, preventing and responding to environmental health hazards in our food, air and water and promoting health and wellness. With the events of 9/11, the increase in the number of insured West Virginians through the expansion of Medicaid, the establishment of a national public health accreditation board and the need to address chronic conditions, specifically the social and environmental factors that influence health, the Center’s efforts have focused on supporting a state and local public health system that is best positioned to successfully navigate these changes.