2 The County Health Department originated with a Rockefeller Foundation grant for $5,000 and a match of $5,000 approved by the Board of Supervisors in February 1923. Much has changed since that time, but the Health Department’s commitment to the wellbeing and health of Monterey County residents and its environment has not. In 1923, the life expectancy in the United States was 56 years of age for men and 58 for women. Top causes of death at that time included measles, typhoid, diphtheria, diabetes, influenza, and cancer. Today, the life expectancy for men is 77 years and 81 years for women with heart disease, cancer, and stroke being the leading causes of death. The increase in life expectancy and changes in causes of death is a result of implementation of evolving public health practices over the last 100 years. In the early days of the Health Department, the small staff focused on maternal and child health and the prevention of diseases, plus inspections of dairies. Today, your Health Department has over 1,200 employees and annual operating budget of $370 million and provides services across many programs, from chronic disease and injury prevention, communicable disease surveillance and response, public health and chemistry laboratory, primary care and behavioral health clinics, emergency medical services, environmental health and animal services, public administrator/conservator/ guardianship, and health equity. It is safe to say that every day your life is touched by the Health Department in some way. In the last hundred years, major advancements have been made in public health science and practice. The development of vaccinations resulted in the prevention of illness and death from diseases that used to be fatal. Advancements in the field of epidemiology resulted in better surveillance and investigations which prevent further spread of communicable diseases. Other major accomplishments in public health include improved maternal and child health services and passage of policies that reduce injuries and premature death due to seat belt laws and tobacco sale restrictions. These innovations in public health practice and policy have reduced and prevented the spread of disease and injury, keeping residents of Monterey County healthier and living longer. Education has long been at the core of the services your Health Department provides. Today, we implement programs that educate residents and policymakers in Monterey County on healthy living, nutrition, diabetes prevention, food safety, infant care, mental health awareness, vaccinations, tobacco policy, and community engagement. We believe it is critical to advocate for environments and policies that make it easier for our residents to make healthier choices and achieve their unique potential. A LETTER FROM OUR DIRECTOR Copyright © 2024 by The County of Monterey Health Department. Produced by Milestone Communications. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized reproduction of this publication or its materials is prohibited.