Know your Regulator: Texas Department of State and Health Services
The Texas Department of State and Health Services is one of such state established organizations that aims to improve safety, propagate health education, and provide basic healthcare needs to Texans. Click To TweetHeadquartered in Austin, Texas, the department operates various health care services such as hospitals, health agencies, and rehabilitation centers around the state.
HistoryThe Texas Department of State and Health Services was founded in 2003. It came into existence through the amalgamation of other state operated agencies.
- Texas Department of Health
- Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation
- Texas Health Care Information Council
MissionThe following four points outline the strategic mission of DSHS:
- Work towards analyzing, identifying, and implementing methods to prevent diseases and various other health problems. Develop health strategies that will guide people towards a better lifestyle.
- Respond to disasters and disease outbreaks by providing emergency healthcare attention to affected people. Identify root cause of disease outbreaks, inform relevant authorities about the severity of the situation, and help to prevent the spread of the aforementioned outbreak.
- Reduce health problems by aiming to create the best health standards in accordance with public health consumer protection.
- Find new and effective ways to engage with the public with the purpose of educating the masses, and making health information widely accessible.
Responsibilities and Sub-Branches:
- The DSHS assists the federal government in issuing birth certificates, death certificates, marriage, and divorce verification letters.
- The Consumer Protection Division (CPD) is an active division within DSHS. Its purpose is to ensure public safety by overseeing health services and goods providers.
- Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems to provide medical care for cases of sudden injury or illness.
- Food and Drug Safety to oversee entities providing ingestible, medical, and topical products. Ensuring that processes such as pasteurization, sterile drug manufacturing, tattooing are carried out correctly, so as to prevent potential harm.
- Radiation Control to bear responsibility of overseeing and controlling entities which are involved in or produce radiation or generate radioactive products.
- Environment Health to ensure that people are safe from illness that could occur from endangering environmentally hazardous materials
- Through Environmental Surveillance and Toxicology Branch, the division is tasked with the identification of populations which are at risk. By using principles of epidemiology, toxicology, and surveillance, the unit develops evidence-based actions.
- Tracking and researching birth-defects that occur in Texas. The Texas Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance (BSED) Branch is tasked with identifying causes leading to birth defects and developing preventive measures.
- Texas law requires an existence of a surveilling body that maintains a record of blood lead results, elevated and non-elevated. Blood Lead Surveillance Group maintains records of children who are under 15 years of age through Texas Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and people who are over 15 years of age are monitored through Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance Program
- The Immunization Unit works towards increasing vaccine coverage in Texas and raising awareness about vaccine-preventable diseases.
- To promote healthy lifestyles and educate the masses against chronic diseases and prepare them on how to prevent them. This area of expertise falls under the Division of Disease Control and Prevention of the Texas Department of State Health Sciences of DSHS.
- Texas Cancer Registry serves as a repository of information collected from cancer-stricken individuals in Texas. The registry aims to prove helpful in the research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control efforts for cancer. Without adequate and high-quality data to fuel research towards treatment, cancer will remain one of the deadliest diseases to fight against.
- DSHS houses a laboratory services section to facilitate the need for high-quality diagnosis reports.