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Washington

NWCPHP works with public health colleagues in Washington to design and implement training activities, workforce development strategies, and public health education and training.

NWCPHP works actively with public health colleagues in Washington to design and implement specific training activities, assist in the development of a statewide workforce development strategy, and support efforts to build greater capacity for public health education and training.

WashingtonRecent activities include:

  • NWCPHP faculty member Jack Thompson joined the Board of Directors of the Washington State Public Health Association.

About Washington's Public Health System

The Washington State Department of Health is a cabinet-level agency with authority over certain parts of the health code. The Department provides resources, technical assistance, and consultation in a variety of areas, including epidemiology and risk assessment.

Washington also has a State Board of Health with authority over other parts of the health code. Local jurisdictions provide the bulk of direct services, although state programs retain direct service responsibility where some centralization makes sense. The state and local jurisdictions maintain an active partnership.

Washington has 35 local health jurisdictions providing frontline public health services within its 39 counties (county health departments, city-county health departments, and multi-county health districts). Nineteen local health departments serve about 60 percent of the state’s population. Of these, 20 are single-county departments where the county commissioners serve as the local board of health. Two are combined city-county departments (Seattle-King County and Tacoma-Pierce County). Their local boards of health are determined by inter-local agreement.

Fourteen local health districts serve about 40 percent of the state’s population. Three districts are political subdivisions separate from the other offices of county government. Their local boards of health include county and city representation. Three districts combine more than one county (Northeast Tri-County, Chelan-Douglas, and Benton-Franklin).

The total population of Washington is roughly 6.5 million people. Of these, 1.8 million live in Seattle/King County, the state’s largest metropolitan area. Washington’s 29 tribal nations report about 46,000 registered members. As in Oregon, the state is divided by the Cascade mountain range into two distinct geographic and cultural entities, creating unique challenges in planning for and implementing public health programs.