Department of Health Services Logo


Wisconsin Department of Health Services



About Public Health

The work of public health has helped everyone in Wisconsin live longer and healthier lives. Public Health improves the health and quality of life of Wisconsin residents through the prevention and treatment of diseases and other physical and mental health conditions, the surveillance of cases, and the promotion of healthy behaviors. 

Some examples of common public health measures are the promotion of hand washing and breastfeeding, the delivery of vaccinations, and the distribution of condoms to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Here are just a few of the other ways that public health positively affects everyone in Wisconsin.

View Healthiest Nation in One Generation (Video, 2 minutes 37 seconds), a video showing how public health afects our lives.

Public health makes sure that:

  • We learn ways to improve our own health, and learn to avoid behaviors that lead to chronic disease, disability and early death.
  • Our children are protected against lead poisoning and pregnant women are aware of the harmful effects associated with exposure to mercury and other hazardous substances.
  • We know when to see our health care provider and know which screening tests we should receive.
  • A record is maintained of every birth, death, marriage, divorce and adoption that occurs in Wisconsin so that we can prove the details of these important events.
  • Our children get preventive care for their teeth that helps prevent decay.
  • Children and adults get their immunizations on time.
  • Pregnant women and new mothers have access to nutritious foods for themselves and their babies.
  • Mothers and fathers have the parenting skills to do a better job of parenting and our children thrive.
  • Fewer babies die in infancy.
  • There are properly trained first responders, EMTs and paramedics to serve us in emergencies.
  • Fewer of us get sick, suffer injury or disability.
  • Communicable disease outbreaks are discovered early and interventions applied quickly;
  • New residents gain access to the necessary health services quickly.
  • Our restaurants use appropriate sanitation practices, our hotels and motels are clean and safe, and public swimming pools do not spread disease.
  • We know how to protect our families in emergencies and have access to resources to help us recover from flooding, severe weather and tornadoes.

Modern public health practice requires multidisciplinary teams of professionals including physicians specializing in public health/community medicine/infectious disease, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, public health nurses, medical microbiologists, environmental health officers, dental hygienists, dietitians and nutritionists, health inspectors, veterinarians, public health engineers, public health lawyers, sociologists, community development workers, communications officers, and others.

Public health is always working to make Wisconsin a place with healthy people in healthy communities.  Learn more about public health by visiting the links below.

About Public Health  |  Licensing, Permitting and Certification  |  Organization Chart (PDF, 138 KB)  |  Public Health Programs and Services
State Health Officer webcasts with Local Health Officers and Tribal Health Officials  |  Return to List of Divisions

Last Revised:  July 29, 2014