About us - Department of Public Health

Who we are

There are eight Departments of Public Health (contact details) covering the Republic of Ireland, each providing Public Health expertise and services locally and nationally.

Departments of Public Health professionals:

  • provide health protection services
  • advocate and contribute to health improvement
  • participate in health service development

Each Department is led by a Director of Public Health who is also a regional Medical Officer of Health.

Multidisciplinary services in Departments are provided by a wide range of experts*:

Public Health Staff 

* The composition of disciplines in individual Departments varies

What we do

Public Health is “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting, protecting and improving health through the organised efforts of society” (Acheson, 1988).

Public health professionals use epidemiology - a statistical science - to describe the occurrence of disease and what the causes might be - much of this work is "behind the scenes".  The more we understand about the cause of diseases, the more we can do to prevent them; detect them at an early stage; or provide the most appropriate health services.

Departments of Public Health in Ireland contribute to implementing Healthy Ireland, The Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing by actions including:

Health Protection Health Improvement
Prevent epidemics Promote health behaviour - making the healthier choice easy
Protect people from biological, chemical and radio-nuclear health threats Monitor the health status of the population
Respond to incidents and disasters Mobilise community action
Health Services
Assure the quality, accessibility and accountability of medical care
Reach out to link high-risk and hard-to-reach people to needed services
Research to develop new insights and innovative solutions
Lead the development of evidence-based health policy and planning