Public Health in New Brunswick

Public Health was the first non-military government health service in New Brunswick, with the first Public Health Act being passed in 1796, even before the creation of a Department of Health. Initial efforts were focused on controlling travel and examining suspected cases of various diseases in the hopes of preventing or controlling epidemics, as well as the use of quarantine for epidemics and other communicable diseases. These efforts had mixed results, and public health only began to truly improve with the creation of public services for sanitation and water.  

Since then, the modern practice of public health in New Brunswick has expanded in scope, as our understanding of the various causes of diseases and illnesses has grown. The current objectives of NB Public Health include:

  • PROMOTE the health of the population
  • PREVENT poor population health outcomes
  • PROTECT the health of the population

Public health efforts

Many roles and activities have developed for Public Health out of this initial focus, including:

  • Food safety through training, licensing and inspection
  • Immunization
  • Public health clinics
  • Sexual health clinics
  • Air and water quality, sewage
  • Prenatal care and healthy babies
  • Tobacco-free living and healthy eating
  • Health protection and healthy learners

The NBHC has a number of common interests with NB Public Health and manages indicators on a number of priority areas such as:

  • Healthy weights
  • Tobacco usage
  • Birth weights
  • Immunization of school children

Public Health staff and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH) have an important role to play in the health outcomes of New Brunswickers and ensuring the safety of many activities we take for granted. More information can be found by visiting the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Public Health).