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Quick Facts on the History of Public Health in New York City

1805   Board of Health met for the first time in April
 
1842   City gets fresh water from Croton reservoir
 
1850   Leading cause of death: tuberculosis
 
1866   State Legislature enacted a bill providing for a Metropolitan Board of Health
 
1870   Health Department created with 4 administrative bureaus
 
1870s   Commissioner Chandler appoints first milk inspector, opens laboratory
 
1884   Department creates Division of Food Inspection and Offensive Trades
 
1892   Bureau of Laboratories opens (first bacteriological lab)
 
1904  Department opens Tuberculosis clinics
 
1905   Leading cause of death: pneumonia
 
1907   “Typhoid Mary” is traced, confined at North Brother Island
 
1915   Bureau of Public Health Education created
 
1916   Department imposes quarantines and sets up clinics during polio epidemic
 
1928   Bureau of Nursing created
 
1935   Ground broken for DOH Headquarters at 125 Worth Street
 
1947   6.3 million vaccinated against smallpox
 
1949   Pieces of literature distributed at APHA convention: 52,500
Telephone requests for information: 645
Individual requests for information via mail: 2,736
 
1954   Salk vaccine developed and tested in NYC
 
1954   New York City Community Mental Health Board created
 
1954   Leading cause of death: Heart disease
 
1969   Lead Poisoning Prevention Program begins
 
1969   Dept. of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services is established
 
1976   Window Guards law passed
 
1981  Rare cancer, later known as the AIDS virus, is detected among gay men
 
1983   Office of Gay and Lesbian Health is formed
 
1985   DOH begins offering free, anonymous AIDS tests
 
1988   Needle exchange program implemented to curb HIV among injecting drug users
 
1990   New York, New York initiative to create housing for the homeless mentally ill is established
 
1991  Programs begun to improve asthma treatment for children
 
1993   AIDS incidence peaks with more than 12,600 new cases
 
1993  Reinvestment Law is passed. Transfers State funds from psychiatric hospital closures into community based services for the mentally
 
1992-96   Multi Drug resistant tuberculosis epidemic stopped
 
1996   Citywide Immunization Registry established, requiring doctors to report all childhood immunizations and decreasing vaccine-preventable illness in children
 
1999   Disease detectives track West Nile virus
 
2001   DOHMH responds to September 11
 
2001   DOHMH responds to anthrax attacks
 
2002   World Trade Center Health Registry is launched
 
2002  The merger of DOH and the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services
 
2003  Smoke Free Air Act takes effect, banning smoking in most indoor places including bars and restaurants
 
2003  District Public Health Offices open in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx
 
2003  Leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, flu/pneumonia, diabetes
 
2004   Take Care NY
 
2004  Pieces of literature distributed: 4.2 million
Telephone requests for information: 137,373
Individual requests for information through website: 80,000
 
2005   Several syringe exchange programs open for the first time in Queens
 
2005  Bicentennial Celebration of the Board of Health
 


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