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About us

Our mission

The mission of the Department of Public Health is to protect and promote the health of all Philadelphians and to provide a safety net for people who are disproportionately impacted by societal factors that limit their access to healthcare and other resources necessary for optimal health.

Our history

The history of public health in Philadelphia reaches back to the city’s beginnings. William Penn’s “greene countrie towne” was the first American city to provide free hospital care for its poorest residents at the Philadelphia Almshouse, built in 1732. Our city is home to the nation’s first medical school, children’s hospital, and eye hospital.

The present Department of Public Health was created by an Ordinance of December 31, 1919 to succeed the Department of Health Charities.

Learn more about the history of public health in Philadelphia.

Our partners

We are proud to support a broad network of community, hospital, academic, and business partners throughout Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. We work together to make Philadelphia a healthy place to live, work, and play.