In Broward County, the public health system is the Broward County Health Department. Every day, in some way, the department touches the lives of more than 1.8 million residents and thousands of visitors. It provides tools for healthy living and encourages people to take control of their health.

“The mission of the Broward County Health Department is to promote, protect and improve the health of all of the people of Broward County,” said Dr. Paula Thaqi, department director. “We carry out this mission in pursuit of our vision, which is ‘a healthier future for the people of Broward County.’”

Obesity, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition, environmental issues, tobacco, communicable disease, KidCare health insurance for children and drowning prevention are some of the public health issues heard in the news daily. The department offers educational sessions and information to the community on these topics and the services are free of charge.

Through Environmental Health and Engineering, the department addresses issues such as food hygiene at group-care facilities, rabies control, indoor air quality, safe drinking water, public swimming pool inspections, body piercing, onsite sewage treatment, beach water inspections and occupational hazards.

The Office of Emergency Operations is responsible for coordinating the preparation, response and recovery after natural and man-made disasters and emergencies, including terrorist acts, that have or could have public health consequences.

The department has four health centers where highly qualified public health professionals offer an array of services. These include birth certificates and death certificates, dental health for children and adults, immigration medical examinations, family planning, immunizations for children, adults and travelers.

Services offered also include breast and cervical cancer early detection, teen health, hepatitis screening and testing, refugee health physical examinations, school health physicals, sexually transmitted infection counseling and treatment, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, tuberculosis services and women, infants and children services.

Broward County Health Department Health Centers are Edgar P. Mills Health Center, 900 NW 31st Ave., Fort Lauderdale; Fort Lauderdale Health Center, 2421 SW Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; Paul Hughes (North) Health Center, 205 NW Sixth Ave., Pompano Beach; and South Regional Health Center, 4105 Pembroke Rd., Hollywood.

The centers may be reached by calling 954-467-4700. Not all services are available at all locations.

The department is part of a larger public health system that includes public health agencies at the local, state and national level, as well as other organizations that affect public health, such as healthcare providers, schools, businesses and other government agencies.

The department takes a leadership role in community coalitions such as the Tobacco Free Partnership, the Broward County Nutrition and Fitness Taskforce and the Broward Immunization Action Coalition and actively participates in organizations such as the Healthy Broward Coalition, Project BRIDGE, Broward County Comprehensive School Health Advisory Committee.

For more information on the programs and services of the Broward County Health Department, visit

This feature was provided by the Broward County Health Department.