The State Board of Health was established pursuant to Chapter 680 of the Public Laws (passed April 12, 1878). Six members were appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The functions of the board included the investigation of causes of disease and epidemics, sources of mortality and the effects of employments, conditions and circumstances on the public health. The board was charged with disseminating information to the public and to also investigate the causes of disease among cattle and other animals.
The re-organiztion of state government in 1935 (Public Law chapter 2188 & 2250) transferred all functions to the Department of Public Health. 1939 Public Law Chapter 660 further codified the department as the Department of Health.