The Miami-Dade County Health Department is the local branch of a state public agency, the Florida Department of Health, created by the legislature in 1997, according to the department’s Web site.

It is charged with promoting and protecting the health and safety of all residents and visitors to Miami-Dade County and has been doing so since the 1940s, under various organizational structures.

The department serves the largest population of the 67 county health departments operating under the state health department and is the second largest health department, after the one in Palm Beach, in terms of budget and number of employees.

It has an operating budget of $78.6 million to deliver public health services to more than 2.5 million people, or 15 percent of the state's population.

About 46 percent of the money comes from the state, 40 percent from the federal government and the rest from local fees for services.

The department’s respo-nsibilities include pre-venting epidemics and the spread of disease, protecting against environmental hazards, preventing injuries, promoting and encouraging healthy behavior, responding to disasters and assisting communities in recovery efforts and assuring the quality and accessibility of health services.

Broad areas of responsibility include maintaining public health and safety in areas such as drinking water, sewage treatment, biomedical waste and public bathing places.

The department also responds to reports of communicable diseases such as invasive meningococcal disease, measles, pertussis, hepatitis, salmonellosis and shigellosis; disease outbreaks such as food poisoning, gastroenteritis and hepatitis.

It also takes part in disaster planning and facilitates the staffing of shelters for people with special health-care needs in the event of hurricanes or other disasters.

The department has the responsibility of maintaining vital records recording all births and deaths in the county and educating the public regarding healthy behavior such as tobacco use and injury prevention.

It has a staff of 864 employees to carry out its responsibilities, 777 or 85 percent of them classified as career service positions.

The department provides services through a network of service sites, as follows:

  • Miami-Dade County Health Department, Main Complex, 1350 NW 14th St. Phones: TB, 305-795-2100; adult immunizations, 305-324-2438; family planning, 305-575-5044; laboratory, 305-575-5036; sexually transmitted diseases, 305-575-5423; vital records – 305-575-5030

  • West Perrine Health Center, 18255 Homestead Ave. Phones: Main, 305-256-6315. Others: 305 234-5400 and enter extension. Family planning, 2518; STD, 2582; TB, 2542; WIC, 2528; adult immunizations, 2546. For immunization appointments and information, call 786-845-0550; for vital records, 305-278-1046.

  • Little Haiti Health Center, 300 NE 80th Terr., 305-795-2100

  • Environmental South Neighborhood Improvement, 1725 NW 167th St., 305-623-3574

  • Rosie Lee Wesley, 6601 SW 62nd Ave., 305-662-4932

  • PET Center, 615 Collins Ave., 305-535-5540

  • Jefferson Reaves Sr. Health Center, 1009 NW Fifth Ave., 786-466-4100

  • Refugee Health Assessment Program, 315 NW 27th Ave., 305-643-7300

  • MDCHD/Civil Surgeon Clinic, 315 NW 27th Ave., 305-643-7511

  • West Dade Family Planning Clinic, 11865 SW 26th St., Suite G-10, 305-225-5950

  • Dr. Rafael A. Peñalver Clinic, 971 NW 2nd St., 305-545-5180

  • North Miami Center, Women, Infants & Children (WIC), 14101 NW 8th Ave., 305-688-4821.

This feature was compiled using information on the Miami-Dade County Health Department’s Web site.