100 Year Timeline Detail
1885 Governor Pattison urged Legislature to set up a State Board of Health. Serious epidemic of typhoid fever in Plymouth, Pa. cost 114 deaths in a population of 8,000.
1886 Legislature established a State Board of Health with Dr. Benjamin Lee the Secretary.
1888 First general factory inspection law passed.
1889 Johnstown, Pa. wiped out by devastating flood and fire, which caused 2,000 deaths.
1890 Legislature failed to pass Bills to prevent pollution of streams by industrial plants with wastes.
1892 First Society for the prevention of Tuberculosis formed by citizens of Philadelphia. This organization later became known as the American Lung Association.
1894 First State Board of Examiners to limit practitioners of medicine established. Diphtheria antitoxin first used as a therapeutic agent.
1895 First Sanitary Code for State drawn up by Legislative Committee. State Board of Health enumerated ten diseases as reportable by attending physician, including cholera, smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever, leprosy, etc.
Laboratory for diagnosis and control of diphtheria set up in Philadelphia. Compulsory vaccination against smallpox required by law of children before beginning school.
1896 Pennsylvania Medical School urged the enactment of a law requiring all dairy herds be tested for tuberculosis every six months.
1897 City of Reading operates first sewage disposal plant in the State.
1902 Dr. Rothrock, State Commissioner of Forests, established first Tuberculosis Camp at Mont Alto.
1905 Legislature made tonsillitis, scabies, pediculosis, impetigo, and conjunctivities reportable diseases.
Legislature created Department of Health April 27.
By Legislative Act May 1, Commissioner of Health given supervision over registration of births, deaths and marriages.
1906 Dr. Samuel Dixon appointed Commissioner of Health by Governor Pennypacker.
Headquarters of Department of Health established in the new Capitol at Harrisburg.
Division of Laboratories established at the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Division of Medical Inspectors, Sanitary Engineering, Morbidity Statistics, Distribution of Diphtheria Antitoxin set up by Dr. Dixon.
1907 Tuberculosis Sanatorium transferred from Department of Forests to Department of Health.
1908 Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Mont Alto opened.
1909 Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Mont Alto enlarged.
Immunization against diptheria by means of Toxin-antitoxin first practiced.
1910 Special degree in public health first awarded at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1911 First municipal chlorination of water supply put into operation in Erie.
1911 Great fear of importation of polio from neighboring states.
1912 Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Cresson opened.
Milton J. Rosenau, M.D Published "the milk question" in 1912 and Preventive medicine and hygiene in 1913 In 1906 established low temperature milk pasteurization which increased the acceptance of the process making it tastier.
1913 Bela-Schick test for immunity against diphtheria developed.
1914 Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Hamburg opened.
1915 The Division of Medical Inspection's local health officers were deputed to placard residences for varing communicable diseases.
1917 Drug and Narcotic Control Act passed July 7.
1918 Dr. Royer becomes Acting Commissioner of Health on death of Dr. Dixon. Influenza Epidemic serious, in October 150,000 cases in the State. Division of Child Hygiene established.
1919 Dr. Martin appointed by Gov. Sproul Commissioner of Health.
Summer camp for training of personnel established at Mont Alto. Term "health education" first used.
1919 Division of Public Health Nursing set up with Miss Alice O'Halloran, R. N. as chief.
Dental Division was established. Bureau of Venereal Disease Control organized with clinics.
Legislature authorized appointment of Deputy Commissioner of Health. Division of Newspapers and Publicity set up.
1920 Headquarters of Department moved to fifth floor of South Office Building.
1921 Passage of Sheppard-Towner Bill made funds available to state to establish services for expectant and new mothers and their offspring.
Intensive campaign inaugurated against diphtheria under Division of Child Health.
1922 Division of Medical Inspectors reactivated.
Advisory Board of Health requires all milk to be pasteurized.
1923 Dr. C. H. Miner appointed Commissioner of Health by Governor Pinchot. Commissioner's title changed to that of Secretary.
Pre-school Health Section established in the Bureau of Child Health which he set up.
Regulation passed to insure the non-contamination of milk sold in bottles or cartons.
Terminal fumigation after cases of certain communicable diseases given up. Sanitary Water Board established.
Bureau of Vital Statistics transferred to Department of Health.
1924 First "well baby" clinic opened in Harrisburg under Bureau of Child Health. Dental Hygiene service inaugurated in Child Health program.
1925 Appropriation granted for establishment of Home for Crippled Children at Elizabethtown.
1925-1927 Only one death reported as due to smallpox in the state.
1927 Dr. Thomas B. Appel appointed Secretary of Health by Gov. Fisher.
Act of Apr. 27 required restaurants and public eating and drinking establishments to be inspected before granted a license.
1929 Food stuffs to be eaten without cooking required to be protected from flies, dust and handling in public places.
Eighty.nine clinics for venereal diseases set up.
Tuberculosis yielded its place as chief killer of young adults in the State. Special studies made of dental defects and dental hygiene in children. Bureau of Milk Control set up.
1930 Extensive program of cleaning rivers and streams begun.
Elaborate survey made of cases of typhoid, smallpox, polio, diphtheria, and scarlet fever by public health nurses resulted in the admission of the State Morbidity Registration of the country.
Over two hundred sewage disposal plants in operation and 300 public water supplies chlorinated.
Schuylkill River between Reading and Philadelphia cleaned.
Crippled Children's Hospital at Elizabethtown opened Mar. 21.
1932 Bureau of Health Law Enforcement with a division of School Inspection set up to check on sanitary conditions of schools and school grounds.
1933 Dental Division of Bureau of Maternal and Child Health vacated but reactivated later in 1935.
1935 Social Security Act passed providing insurance against disability of aged and grants-in-aid to States for the disabled and dependents.
Dr. MacBride-Dexter appointed Secretary of Health by Gov. Earle, the first Democratic administration in the State in forty years.
Bureau of Law Enforcement vacated and Bureau of Maternal and Child Health with a division of School Medical Inspection set up.
Division of Industrial Hygiene transferred from Department of Labor and Industry to Department of Health.
1936 Serious floods in winter and early spring led to immunization of 87,000 against typhoid fever.
Over 450 abandoned bituminous coal mines were completely sealed off to reduce river contamination.
Division of Crippled Children set up in Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.
1937 Ground broken for east and west wings of Elizabethtown Crippled Children's Hospital.
Bureau of Vital Statistics reorganized.
Advisory Board of Health of State made pneumonia a reportable disease.
1938 July 7 ground broken for surgical wing at Hamburg Tuberculosis Hospital.
1939 Dr. John J. Shaw appointed Secretary of Health by Governor James.
1940 Diphtheria virtually eliminated as cause of death-I. 1 deaths per 100,000 of population.
Division of Cancer Control established in Bureau of Health Conservation. Bureau of Tuberculosis Control established.
Division of Nutrition established in Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.
1941 System of School Medical and Dental Examinations established.
Dr. H. H. Stewart becomes Acting Secretary of Health on the death of Dr. Shaw June 25.
Division of Cancer Control vacated.
1945 Dr. Stewart appointed Secretary of Health by Gov. Martin July 22. He died a few weeks later.
Dr. H. W. Weest appointed Secretary by Governor Martin Sept. 14.
President Truman's Health Message to Congress introduced Nov. 19.
Division of Rheumatic Fever Control set up in Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.
Section for tabulating causes of death set up in Bureau of Vital Statistics.
1946 Health rooms for medical examinations in schools with costs transferred from local school boards to State General Funds were provided under Social Security Law.
Bureau of Dental Health established.
Division of Cancer Control reactivated with 80 tumor clinics organized in local hospitals.
1,500 chlorination plants and 457 sewage treatment plants in operation in State.
Pennsylvania Medical Society creates a Commission on Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
1947 Dr. Norris Vaux appointed Secretary by Gov. Duff Jan. 21.
Personnel Director added to Executive Board of Department of Health.
Death rate from typhoid and paratyphoid fever reduced to 0.2 per 100,000 in U. S.
Legislation empowers second class townships to make regulations for the promotion of health.
Bureau of Industrial Hygiene established with Division of Air Pollution Control.
1948 Rheumatic fever made reportable by Advisory Board of Health.
Registration of crippled children undertaken by Division of Crippled Children. Conference on local health services with Dr. R. P. Kandle of the American
Public Health Association recommended basic functions as control of communicable diseases, system of vital and morbidity statistics, maternal and child health, environmental sanitation, health education, and laboratories.
Fatal "smog" disaster in Donora, Pennsylvania was subsumed in a noxious smog. Residents had to keep lights on all day and the high school football teams couldn't see their opponents. In the five days between October 26 and 31, 20 people died, more than 7,000 were sickened. .
Publication of Keystones of Public Health for Pennsylvania, the report of the APHA survey carried out under Dr. R. P. Kandle.
Division of Cleft Palate established in the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.
1949 A national board of Preventive Medicine and Public Health was created thus dignifying these branches of medicine like cardiology, obstetrics, Internal medicine, ophthalmology, etc.
1950 Graduate School of Public Health in the University of Pittsburgh admitted first class.
1951 Dr. Russel E. Teague appointed Secretary by Gov. Fine Feb. 24.
Bureau of Chronic Diseases set up with Divisions of Accident Prevention, Alcoholism, Cancer Control, Heart and Metabolic Diseases, Narcotics.
Legislature vetoed appropriation for the program of the Alcoholism Section. Division of Laboratories made responsible for inspection and approval of
private laboratories concerned with biological products, biochemical analyses, and making serological tests for premarital examinations.
Legislative Act of Aug. 24-Local Health Administration Law-permitted the establishment of County Health Units, especially to provide better health services to rural communities. Empowered the State to take over and administer health laws of boroughs and townships if there were no local boards.
Bureau of Local Health Services inaugurated with divisions of Conservation of Community Health, Public Relations and Media for Communication.
Butler County Commissioners approved by resolution the establishment of a County Health Unit Oct. 30.
1952 Approval by Secretary of Health of the Local Health Administrative Plan of Butler County Board of Health. May 11.
Merit plan for personnel administration replaces to a great extent the "spoils" system of earlier years.
1953 Bureau of Special Health Services with a Division of Chronic Diseases established.
Act 338 authorized a Section on Alcoholism in the Division of Behavioral Problems in the Bureau of Special Health Services.
Dr. J. Moore Campbell retired as Deputy Secretary of Health after 41 years continuous service in the Department of Health.
1954 Establishment of a County Health Unit approved by voters of Bucks County but rejected by Northampton County.
1955 Dr. Berwyn F. Mattison appointed Feb. 3 to replace Dr. Teague who resigned as of Jan. 1.
Headquarters moved to new Health and Welfare Building.
Erie County voters approved formation of County Health Unit.
Clinics for Convulsive Diseases organized in Harrisburg and Danville.
Division of Environmental Safety set up in Bureau of Environmental Health.
Program of Home Accident Prevention inaugurated.
1956 Act 450 of Apr. 4 authorized Department of Health to set up an in-service training program to increase the skills of staff and employees.
Allegheny County voters approve a County Health Unit.
Personnel Director in Executive Office of Department appointed with a Division of Professional Training. -
1957 Epidemic of Asian influenza raged in summer and fall affecting 15 per cent of the population.
The seven regional health offices established to equalize health services to the counties.
Dr. Charles L. Wilbar, Jr. appointed Secretary of Health to succeed Dr. Mattison who had resigned.
Karl Mason was regarded as the Commonwealth's first environmental administrator, serving the Department from 1952 until his death in 1966. Mason's vision of environmental management embraced essential elements of the problems of air, water and land-related waste disposal and emphasized community environmental protection. He also promoted the prompt response of state government to issues related to energy, air pollution, heated wastes and hazardous wastes. Later environmental management prompted the creation of DNR and then DEP.
New tuberculosis hospital established in Pittsburgh. Erie County adopts a County Health Unit.
Division of Planning and Evaluating of programs initiated.
1958 Section of Traffic Epidemiology established in Division of Behavioral Problems of the Bureau of Special Health Problems.
1960 Butler County voters give up their County Health Unit after having endorsed it by referendum in 1954.
Commission on Air Pollution Control established by Legislature. Section on Nursing Homes set up in Division of Chronic Diseases.
1961 Survey of State Health Program, Pennsylvania's Health by a group from the School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University published.
Bureau of Preventable Diseases established.
Division of Air Pollution Control established; Two mobile air sampling devices and five air-quality stations were setup to monitor such things as radiation and pollen.
Polio was reduced to 52 cases for the year
Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act 1541 was enacted
A statewide survey was begun to determine the public health implications of mosquitoes. Mosquito control demonstrations were conducted in Dayton, Bloomsburg, Philadelphia, and Bristol County.
As of 1961, almost 4 million persons in 125 communities received fluoridated water. Two installations were made in Catasauqua and Quarryville.
The top 10 leading causes of death in 1961: heart disease, malignant neoplasm, vascular lesions affecting the nervous system, accidents, diseases of early infancy, pneumonia and influenza, general arteriosclerosis, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and congenital malformations.
1962 Ambulance attendant training occurred and over 1,500 ambulance attendants were certified by 1963.
County health facilities were rounded out during the year to provide at least one state operated health center in every county except: Allegheny, Bucks, Erie, and Philadelphia, in which there are county health departments. Each center provides public health nursing; communicable diseases control services, and sanitation services.
A soil scientist was employed by the Division of Sanitation to interpret morphology and chemistry as it relates to disposal of effluent into subsurface systems and to determine the suitability of soils for on-lot sewage disposal.
1963 Bureau of Planning, Evaluation, and Research established.
PA experienced one of the worst and longest droughts in history. Many Pennsylvanians turned to the Health Department for emergency water supplies.
Since studies show that people who do not smoke before they are 21 years old probably never will become smokers, the Department heightened its educational program to convince pre-teenagers and teenagers not to start smoking. Public, private, and parochial schools gave full cooperation.
The Department began a study of the use of practical nurses assisting public health nurses in a home care program in Wayne County. It was hoped through this study to be able to extend home care services to more people in the future.
1964 The Department approved for use new methods to screen for PKU, a condition that can cause mental retardation.
Two hundred and five blood samples were collected from birds and mammals in a continuing encephalitis surveillance project.
The health department began an oral exfoliative program to detect mouth cancers.
Forty-six new sewage treatment plants became operative in the Department’s continued drive for clean streams.
1965 Testing of all newborn infants for phenylketonuria became law.
38 school districts elected to adopt dental hygiene programs under guidelines developed by the Department of Health.
Wider use of the pap test to uncover uterine cancer and the reduction of cigarette smoking were stated as the two most important cancer control measures available to the State Health Department.
1966 An ambulatory clinic for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases was established at Woman’s Medical College, and the number of stroke rehabilitation centers was increased.
A program on alcoholism for State employees was approved and a federal grant was obtained to train Commonwealth supervisors to recognize and help problem drinkers.
A pilot project of hearing screening for pre-school children began in 1966 at a child health conference in New York.
1968 Realignment of the Department’s seven regional field offices into six "Human Services" regional areas was effected so that services from the Department would fit the same geographic boundaries that other departments in the State government would have in the delivery of human services. The new regions have their headquarters in Philadelphia, Kingston, Williamsport, Pittsburgh, Meadville, and as an-yet-undetermined location in York.
Solid waste management received concentrated attention in 1968. With the passage of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act 241, municipalities were required to submit official solid waste management plans to the Department of Health for approval, and the Department was given responsibility for a statewide plan.
The first mandated school tuberculin testing program was conducted during the 1976-1978 school year.
1969 A $70,000 research grant was awarded to the Department from the Food and Drug Administration for the first year of a proposed three-year study of accidental injuries associated with consumer products.
A new hospital environmental control program began to assist hospital s and institutions in meeting their sanitation and staff in-service training needs.
A new pollution incident prevention program was designed to make disposal systems from water-using industrial plants as fail-safe as possible.
The one-millionth person was screened for diabetes by the Department of Health diabetes program, making Pennsylvania the second highest screened state in the nation.
A Departmental computer was installed in mid-year and by the end of the year was being utilized for all data processing operations.
1970 A new renal disease program was initiated through Act 140 of the Pennsylvania Legislature with an appropriation of $1,000,000.
A new program of radium licensing was begun and license applications were mailed to approximately 456 radium users.
A statewide emission inventory was initiated which will provide a comprehensive analysis of emissions and process information for most pollutants and all sources in the State.
1971 In 1971 there were no cases of polio or diphtheria reported.
Twelve methadone clinics were approved, with seven more pending. These clinics were serving over 2,000 patients during 1971.
1972 The Health Department was given the responsibility of providing care and treatment to persons 21 or more years old who are suffering from cystic fibrosis. Thirty were enrolled in the program in 1972.
During the flood of Agnes, Pennsylvania was buried under the highest flood water in its history. The Department provided clean water and support to those in need.
A sickle cell anemia program was initiated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and screened approximately 6,000 persons for sickling diseases in 1972. Nearly 100 children were enrolled in a treatment program.
The Division of Alcoholism Studies and Rehabilitation was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to conduct training courses for 1,981 persons in business, industry, and government.
1973 The Statewide program for comprehensive care and rehabilitation of the hemophilia patient began.
Pennsylvania and the federal government became partners in the chronic kidney disease program when legislation was enacted for the care of persons suffering with chronic renal disease. Three hundred patients were admitted to the program in 1973 and the active patient census was 553.
1973 was a year of change and redirection for the Health Department, with organizational revisions taking effect, changes in program structure and budgetary descriptions, and decreasing emphasis on direct service with a corresponding increase in contracting for services with the private sector whenever feasible.
To create awareness on teen pregnancy a statewide conference "School-Age Parents: A Time For Action" was held in Harrisburg. In 1972, 27,657 babies were born to teenage mothers in PA.
1974 The Department implemented a joint program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide supplemental food to eligible pregnant or lactating women, infants, and children under age four.
Legislation to require certain immunizations of children entering school for the first time was passed and a list of required vaccines for school entry was established by the Advisory Health Board. These include: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, and rubella.
A statewide hotline "Operation Venus" is implemented by Secretary Speller to educate and eradicate the growing VD epidemic.
1975 The Pennsylvania Comprehensive Emergency Services Plan was established to coordinate a statewide emergency health service delivery system eventually resulting in the creation of a 911 number by 1980.
As Act 111 Health Care Services Malpractice was passed the department stood ready with a Governor’s Action Center Toll Free hotline to protect the consumer in the event the physicians statewide would strike.
The Department assisted in providing health care services, equipment, supplies and personnel to 17,000 Vietnam Refugees at Fort Indiantown Gap.
The Mr. Yuk symbol was recognized by the Department as an effective poisoning prevention symbol created by the Children's Hospital Poison Control Center, Pittsburgh.
1976 In the summer of 76, an outbreak of severe respiratory illness occurred in Pennsylvania chiefly among those who had attended a state American Legion convention in Philadelphia July 21-24. Later the disease became known as Legionnaires' disease.
Governor's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports created with an Executive Order and placed under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Department of Health
In 1978, Governor Schapp signed Executive Order 1978-16, which established the nation’s first State Center for Health Statistics in the Department of Health.
1979 48 Jul 19 HB 308 Health Care Facilities Act - enactment (effective OCT. 1, 1979) An Act relating to health care; prescribing the powers and duties of the Department of Health; establishing and providing the powers and duties of the State Health Coordinating Council, health systems agencies and Health Care Policy Board in the Department of Health, and State Health
Facility Hearing Board in the Department of Justice; providing for certification of need of health care providers and prescribing penalties.
On March 28, at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant near Middletown, PA an accident occurred that resulted in low level radiation being released into the atmosphere. Shortly afterwards a TMI health research program was authorized by a Governor’s Executive Order and state funding for health-related studies was obtained through a special appropriation.
1980 From 1980 to 1991, the TMI Health Research Program with additional researchers working with the Department developed 31 publications, reports, and papers.
1981 The Governor’s Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse along with its powers, functions and duties as set forth in the Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 221, No. 63) was transferred from the Governor’s Office to the Department of Health by Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1981. The Council was made advisory to the Secretary of Health and the Plan took effect on July 1, 1981
1981 First case of AIDS was reported in Pennsylvania.
1982 Hospital reporting to the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry was initiated and became fully operational statewide in 1985. The information collected by this registry has been a valuable resource for cancer prevention and control for more than twenty years
1983 Due to a rabies outbreak, a total of 22 community meetings were held on the prevention and pathogenicity of rabies. From 82-83 there was a rabies increase of 115%.
1984 The Department’s epidemiology surveillance system was expanded statewide.
1985 The Emergency Medical Services Act was established to prevent and reduce premature death and
disability in this Commonwealth by providing Emergency Medical Services.
1987 Pennsylvania became the first state to make HIV/AIDS education mandatory in grades K-12
In 1988, 74 free anonymous and confidential HIV counseling and testing sites were established. That same year 7 community based AIDS service organizations were funded to provide education, support and case management services.
1989 The Bureau of HIV/AIDS was established and the AIDS Fact line was created.
1989 The Commonwealth’s first Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System telephone survey was conducted and continues to be conducted annually. The survey provides useful baseline information on Pennsylvania’s citizens 18 years of age and over on the prevalence of smoking, over-weight, cancer screening, and many other health behaviors, so that state and local public health programs can assess the extent of public health problems and risky behaviors
In 1991, Pennsylvania created the seven regional planning coalitions as a response to the Ryan White Care Act, which was passed by Congress in 1990.
1992 Act 113 of 1992 established the Primary Health Care Practitioner Program to develop a comprehensive program to support the supply and distribution of primary care practitioners. Since the inception of Act 113, the Department of Health has created robust initiatives, such as the Primary Care Practitioner Loan Repayment, J-I Visa Waiver Program, National Interest Waiver and Community Challenge Grants for Clinic Development, to assist with the recruitment and retention of physicians and dentists in rural and urban underserved areas
1993 First Placement in the Primary Care Practitioner Program.
Since 1993 through 2005 the Department of Health's HealthyWoman Program has screened 43,134 women for breast and cervical cancer and provided diagnostic tests and referral for treatment to 1,023 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 57 women diagnosed with cervical cancer
1994, Act 102 has increased Pennsylvania’s efforts to inform and encourage Pennsylvanians to become voluntary organ donors. the Department is responsible for the coordination of organ and tissue donation initiatives and reporting to the General Assembly about donation progress.
In 1995, the Department of Health implemented a system to allow hospitals to electronically file birth certificates. Today, all hospitals, in addition to several birthing centers, across the state are using this system, which provides an efficient, time-saving method for registering births
1996 Act 87 established the position of Physician General and the State Dentist as well as removing the requirement for the Secretary of Health to be a physician.
A statewide system designed to connect families of children with special needs to services and providers is established by the Department and dubbed "The Special Kids Network"
1997 The Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Sports was reestablished to promote good health and physical activity among all Pennsylvanians
1998 The Department launched its first website. The Bureau of Health Statistics and Research first released statistical aggregate information via the Internet on the Department of Health’s website.
1999 The Department established the first-ever Nursing Home Patient Care Survey website.
2001 Act 77 of 2001, authorized the Department of Health to establish the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program (CURE), which awards over $50 million each year in grants to Pennsylvania research institutions for health services, clinical and biomedical research projects
In 2001, the Department of Health began a Statewide Immunization Information System to assist in assuring that all children in the Commonwealth receive adequate protection against vaccine-preventable disease
The Department of Health initiated an unprecedented partnership to develop and implement the first-ever Pennsylvania Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan to reduce the burden of cancer in the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan was released in December 2003 and serves as a statewide blueprint for all sectors of Pennsylvania to work together to meet the growing challenge of cancer
On the morning of September 11, New York, Washington D.C. and Western Pennsylvania were attacked. More than 2,600 people died at the World Trade Center; 125 died at the Pentagon; 256 died on the four planes. The death toll surpassed that at Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
The first Health Alert was issued statewide.
In 2001 Anthrax attacks followed September 11 by a week. Letters containing anthrax bacteria were mailed to several news media offices and two US Senators, killing five people. The Department assisted in the investigation of these incidences.
2002, the Department of Health partnered with the University of Pittsburgh to conduct research in biomedical informatics including further development of the electronic surveillance system known as the Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance System (RODS). The purpose of this system is to permit real-time analysis of symptom data from emergency departments through Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping and provide alerts to designated public health officials
2003 the Department of Health initiated a cornerstone in bioterrorism preparedness and response through the implementation of the Pennsylvania National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (PA-NEDSS) to improve the timeliness and accuracy of disease reporting and expand the public health infrastructure to improve response to possible bio-terrorism attacks. As a result, the Department was the recipient of the 2005 Davies Award of Excellence for "a public health program that improves the health of a defined community through health information and management for PA-NEDSS
The Bureau of Health Statistics implemented an interactive health statistics web tool, Epidemiologic Query and Mapping System (EpiQMS) to assist health data users to better obtain useful health statistical information.
A Hepatitis A Outbreak occurred among the patrons of a Chiles Restaurant in Southwestern PA. Over 600 persons with Hepatitis A have been identified. Making it the largest Hepatitis Outbreak in US history. The Department screened nearly 10,000 people for the virus and more than 9,100 received antibody injections.
2004 Pennsylvania is currently among a small number of states to support arthritis and osteoporosis prevention and education, to fund arthritis and osteoporosis outreach initiatives, release an Arthritis Burden Report and Pennsylvania Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Strategic Plan in 2004 to respond to state and community health needs across a lifespan, and collaborate with an Osteoporosis and Arthritis Legislative Caucus to assist with implementation of outreach and education initiatives
In September 2004, the Department of Health was one of five states in the nation to be awarded a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Steps to a HealthierUS initiative, a community-based effort to reduce the burden of asthma, diabetes, and obesity by focusing on the modifiable risk factors of poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and tobacco use in three Pennsylvania counties – Fayette, Luzerne, and Tioga.
The Department of Health joined four other Commonwealth agencies (Departments of Aging, Insurance, Public Welfare and General Services) to establish the Health and Human Services Call Center, which seeks to provide services for all different age groups within the family, from infant to elderly parent and respond to their needs via 15 health and human services programs on eight toll-free lines. Since its inception, the Call Center has received over 89,000 calls
2005 The 500th Placement in the Primary Care Practitioner Program.