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Who We Are

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is responsible for developing, monitoring and operating state public health programs and activities that affect the quality of life of all 4.4 million Kentuckians. The department oversees a variety of programs designed to improve the lives of our citizens and visitors through prevention of negative health outcomes, promotion of healthy lifestyles and protection from diseases, injury, and environmental health impacts 

DPH as authorized by KRS 211.025 and 211.180, supervises and assists all local boards of health and 61 local health departments serving all 120 Kentucky counties.  The department relies on local health departments to carry out core public health activities required by statute or regulation, and to provide preventive services to specific populations mandated by budget appropriations. 

DPH has identified the following seven core public health services that are required at the local level, either through local health departments or by another provider:  

  • Enforcement of public health regulations
  • Surveillance of public health
  • Communicable disease control
  • Public health education
  • Public health policy development
  • Reduction of risk to families and children
  • Disaster preparedness 

Programs &

DPH Commissioner

Jeffrey D. Howard, Jr., MD is a resident of Louisville, KY where he lives with his wife, Dr. Brandy L. Howard, and his two children, Jeffrey and Katherine. He and his wife are natives of Appalachian Kentucky. Dr. Howard attended Union College, where he was an academic all-conference football player, a Bonner Scholar, and AmeriCorps member. During this time, he served the local community by volunteering more than 1,000 hours. To improve volunteer efforts, he founded a novel program that helped to provide community service organizations with evidence-based practices. Subsequently, he attended the University of Louisville School of Medicine prior to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

During his tenure, Commissioner Howard has been dedicated to combating the opioid epidemic noting that Kentucky's number one public health focus is to address this epidemic.  Commissioner Howard has participated in national roundtable discussions focusing on prevention of opioid abuse and continues to support efforts to promote access to treatment through the Mobile Harm Reduction Pharmacy as well as programming to address Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Commissioner Howard has also been the leader in addressing a number of public health issues including Kentucky's recent Hepatitis A outbreak and flu epidemic. 

Dr. Howard currently serves as Research Coordinator for Surgery on Sunday, which is a non-profit organization providing free surgical care to uninsured and underinsured patients. Other interests include improving access to medical and surgical care, healthcare policy, surgical approaches to cancer treatment, and serving Kentuckians in the most meaningful manner possible.

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