| Pre-1847 – For
centuries American Indians have called Utah home. It is understood
that personal and public health matters were discussed and handled within
small groups, and taught by the senior members of the society to the
1847 – Brigham Young
and pioneers arrive in Salt Lake City. Young advises settlers to
boil drinking water, eat sensibly, work hard and get plenty of sleep.
1849 – The Society
of Health is created. The group’s objective
is to “give information to the masses and enable them
to help themselves.”
1889 – The Deseret News advocates for construction of a downtown
sewer and a “dry earth system of defecation” for the rest
of the city.
1890 – The same
paper recommends condemning all surface wells and connecting all
residences with city water lines to prevent the spread of cholera
and other diseases that were carried in contaminated water.
1896 – Utah becomes
1898 – Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon sponsors a bill creating the
State Board of Health. Dr. Theodore Bruce Beatty is named the state’s
first health officer. He serves in the position until 1934.
1900 – Dr. Beatty recommends
the Board of Health adopt a program of mandatory smallpox vaccination.
There was immediate and statewide opposition, led by the editorial
writer of the Deseret News. Despite support for the program from
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Governor,
the State Legislature succeeds in repealing the ordinance.
1907 – Lawmakers authorize
the teaching of sanitation and disease prevention in public schools.
1911 – Doctors are authorized
to examine school children and report diseases and defects to parents.
Laws were enacted to require the reporting of sexually transmitted
diseases and to treat the eyes of newborns to prevent gonorrheal
1915 – Public Health
establishes chlorination of water in Salt Lake City.
1916 – The Utah Public Health
Association (UPHA) is formed.
1922 – The U.S. Congress passes the Sheppard-Towner act, providing
financial assistance to states for maternal and child health programs.
Dr. Beatty turned to the LDS Church’s Relief Society to administer
the law, which soon had 194 health clinics operating across Utah.
1925 – Public Health Laboratory established to do drug testing and
testing for causes of death.
1930s – More federal funding
becomes available to states with the passage of the Social Security
1937 – The Legislature orders
the Board of Health to set testing standards for prophylactics (condoms
and ointments) and the devices are tested at the State Health Laboratory.
The first fully organized local health department opens in Davis
1953 – The state adopts
a complete Utah Health Code, which sets down laws and the organization
of the State Health Department. The code includes chapters relating
to vital records, communicable disease, public health nursing, sanitation,
hospital licensor and maternal and child health.
1960s – The legislature
enacts laws to control air pollution, require testing of all newborns
for the metabolic disorder PKU, and to establish a statewide Medical
1962 – Public health begins
regulating milk supplies in response to radioactive contamination
of hay and pasture lands from the Nevada Atomic Test Site.
1967 – Public health launches the “Muzzle the Measles” immunization
campaign, which reaches an estimated 96 percent of susceptible children.
1968 – Utah establishes
the first Cancer Registry.
1970s – The state legislature
authorizes the Department to organize emergency medical services
(EMS) into a statewide system and to train and certify EMS personnel.
1972 – Office of the Medical
Examiner is first established.
1975 – The Public
Health Laboratory building is completed, providing a central location
for laboratory services.
1976 – The State Board of
Health fails in its efforts to require all public water supplies
to be fluoridated for the prevention of tooth decay.
1979 – Public health begins
to increase focus on promoting wellness through healthy lifestyles
and eliminating risk factors for diseases like heart disease and
1980s – The “Baby Your Baby” campaign
is launched to address a growing infant mortality rate.
1981 – Health statutes are
recodified to include emergency medical services, solid and hazardous
waste, radiation, health facility planning, and financial assistance
for medical care. The Board of Health is replaced with a Health Advisory
Council, with the Executive Director of Health reporting directly
to the Governor.
1986 – The new Cannon Health Building opens in Salt Lake City.
It is the first government facility in Utah to be entirely “smoke
1991 – The state legislature
removes the environmental health function form the Department of
Health and creates a separate Department of Environmental Quality.
1991 – The UDOH partners
with a local television station on the Check Your Health (CYH) program.
CYH gets regular information to Utah viewers to improve their overall
1991 – Office
of the Medical Examiner building is completed.
1992 – All but two divisions of the Department of Environmental Quality
(Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste and the Division of Water Quality)
move out of the Cannon Health Building, into the new DEQ building complex.
1994 – The
UDOH begins monitoring birth defects among Utah children.
1994 – The Utah Indoor Clean
Air Act, which prohibits smoking in nearly all public places, passes.
1995 – The Utah Statewide
Immunization Information System (USIIS) is launched with a grant
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). USIIS
is an immunization registry that makes vaccination records available
electronically to providers, health plans, schools, day care centers
and publicly funded programs.
1997 – The UDOH and the
Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault launched the first media campaign
against rape and sexual assault.
1998 – Utah's
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is born. Utah can start
insuring more children. Since the program began CHIP has insured over
100,000 low income children.
1998 – Newborn
Hearing Screening is Legislatively mandated for all hospitals that
have over 100 live births per year.
1999 – Newborn Hearing Screening
is Legislatively mandated for all hospitals and birthing centers.
2000 – Salt Lake and Davis
Counties adopted water fluoridation.
2000 – The
new Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) building completed
on the U. of U. campus.
2001 – Primary Care Network (PCN), a preventive health coverage plan
for Utah adults, is born.
2001 – In
response to a growing number of cases of asthma in Utah, the UDOH creates
the Asthma Program.
2001 – A
preventive health program called Gold Medal Schools is launched. The
program promotes physical activity, safety and healthful food choices
at elementary schools.
2002 – As the home of the
2002 Olympic Winter Games, Utah faced many new and unique challenges,
including those related to public health. During the games, public
health agencies worked together to watch for infectious disease outbreaks,
coordinate emergency medical services and enforce food safety, clean
air, pools and spas, mass gatherings and lodging. The Olympics gave
public health a jumpstart in its emergency planning efforts and brought
key partners to the same table in unprecedented fashion.
2002 – The UDOH holds its
first open enrollment for Utah's Children's Health
Insurance Program (CHIP) and received 6,078 applications representing
2003 – Utah is one of only
four states to received CDC funding to create a Chronic Disease Genomics
2004 – Utah becomes the
first state to meet the federal Healthy People 2010 goal of decreasing
the adult smoking rate to less than 12% of the population.
2005 – The Office of Vital Records and Statistics (OARS) celebrates
its 100-year anniversary. For over a century the collection of records
has had both a local & national impact. The celebration highlighted
changes in vital records over the past hundred years as well as the
impact that statistical information has had at both a local and national
2006 – The Martha Hughes Cannon Health building is 20 years old!
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