The Health Officer Liaison (HOL) supports local health officials by providing opportunities for continuing education and training through statewide conferences and regional meetings. The HOL unit is dedicated to enhancing the skills, knowledge, and capabilities of local health officers and their deputies. NH state law requires every municipality to have an appointed health officer. The HOL unit provides orientations to new health officers and ongoing technical assistance to help resolve specific issues. The unit also coordinates and implements regional and statewide trainings in partnership with the NH Health Officers' Association. The Health Officer Liaison position is currently vacant and will remain vacant for the immediate future. The current Health Officer Liaison has been promoted to Section Administrator for the Healthy Homes and Environments Section, in which the Health Officer Liaison Unit is situated. To make things as seamless as possible, DPHS is taking the appropriate steps to fill this vacant position as quickly as possible. Until further notice, several of the functions covered by this position will not be covered as outlined in a letter dated September 11, 2013 from the Division of Public Health Services.
Municipal health officers have a significant role in ensuring effective local and regional public health systems and are responsible for three critical functions.
- Enforcing applicable New Hampshire laws and administrative rules (i.e. regulations), as well as local ordinances and regulations enacted by communities;
- Serving as liaisons between state officials, local elected officials, and residents for local public health issues; and,
- Leading and actively participating in efforts to develop regional public health capacities.
The importance of these roles has increased as New Hampshire experiences disease outbreaks and demands greater emphasis on public health emergency preparedness.
The HOL unit is also responsible for processing the appointments of local health officials in accordance with state law. Identification cards, certificates and letters of appointment are issued by the unit on behalf of the DHHS Commissioner.
While the HOL unit primarily serves local health officials, information and referral services are also provided to the general public. These services typically involve referring individuals to appropriate state agencies or providing information about various public health concerns.
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