PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records




Pennsylvania State Archives



The Department of Health, created by the Act of April 27, 1905 (P.L. 312), replaced the State Board of Health and Vital Statistics originally established in 1885. The Department enforces all statutes pertaining to public health and the rules and regulations passed by Pennsylvania's Advisory Health Board. In addition to the Secretary of Health, the Advisory Health Board is comprised of eleven members appointed by the Governor and charged with establishing rules and regulations for disease prevention, protection of lives and health, and providing health services to counties and other political subdivisions.

In addition to enforcing statutes and regulations pertaining to public health matters, the Department works to prevent and suppress outbreaks of disease, and ensure high quality health care at a reasonable cost by coordinating a comprehensive state-wide health program. As a result, the Department operates numerous State Health Centers that serve as primary public health service units in local communities. The Department also operates bureaus and programs dealing with the control and prevention of cancer and communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, conducts laboratory research, collects health statistics on preventative and educational programs for mothers and their children, drug and alcohol abuse, and regulates pharmaceutical drugs, devices, and cosmetics. Over the years, the responsibilities of specific bureaus and divisions within the Department of Health have been shifted, reorganized, or transferred to other Departments. Related materials will be found in the Records of the Department of Environmental Resources (RG-43), Records of the Department of Education (RG-22) and Records of the Department of Public Welfare (RG-23).

Please call the Archives Reference staff at (717) 783-3281 to inquire about the exact nature of the restrictions. Information in patient files is restricted to patients and immediate members of their families.

Office of the Secretary of Health

Office of Chief Counsel

Office of the Deputy Secretary for Environmental Protection

Office of the Deputy Secretary for Planning and Quality Assurance

Office of Legal Counsel (1968-1970)

Bureau of Children's Services

Bureau of Communicable Diseases (1997- )

Division of HIV/AIDS

Bureau of Environmental Health (1955-1967)

Division of Sanitary Engineering

Bureau of Epidemiology (1995- )

HIV/AIDS Surveillance and Epidemiology Section

Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention (1978-1994)

Division of Environmental Health

Bureau of Health Communications

Bureau of Health Education

Bureau of Health Financing and Program Development

Division of Health Care Plans

Bureau of Health Statistics and Research (1997- )

Bureau of HIV/AIDS (1991-1996)

Bureau of Laboratories (1972- )

Bureau of Nursing

Bureau of Planning (1980-1994)

Division of Planning and Technical Assistance

Bureau of Professional Health Services (1980-1986)

Bureau of Quality Assurance

Bureau of Sanitary Engineering

Bureau of Special Health Services (1962-1971)

Division of Chronic Respiratory Diseases

Bureau of Tuberculosis Control

Air Pollution Commission

Anatomical Board of the State of Pennsylvania

Drug, Device and Cosmetic Board (1961- )

Elizabethtown Hospital for Crippled Children (1925-1982)

Health Policy Board (1996- )

Office of Community Affairs

Sanitary Water Board (1923-1970)

Tannery Waste Disposal Committee of Pennsylvania (1924-1930)

State Health Coordinating Council (SHCC) (1976-1992)

State Health Data Center (1980-1995)

State Health Facility Hearing Board (1981-1995)

Vietnam Herbicides Information Commission (VHIC) (1982-1987)

Vietnam Veterans Health Initiative Commission (VVHIC) (1987-1996)

Last minimal processing update: 2/11/2015, acc. #6624.

PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records