The Geauga Public Health was established in 1919/1920 under the Hughes – Griswold Act, a direct response to the influenza epidemic (pandemic) of 1918/9 in which more than one-half million people died in the United States and more than 20 million worldwide. Read more about the 1918/9 Great Pandemic here. Prior to its adoption, municipalities were responsible for their own health programs, meaning that nearly 2,150 health departments existed in Ohio. Most departments had little medical training or public health knowledge. Since the formation of public health agencies, the life expectancy of Americans has increased dramatically through the prevention of diseases through safe food and water supplies, sanitation, nutrition, vaccines, and antibiotics. These are the services and educational programs that are delivered through your local and county health departments in Ohio.
The Geauga Public Health held its first meeting on January 7, 1920. The Board of Health members included: Mr. J. O. Scott of Thompson, Mr. Peter Small of Chester, Mr. Hugh O. Bostwick of Chardon, Dr. J. A. Heeley of Parkman, and Dr. T. F. Myler, President, of Burton. At the first meeting, a budget of $4,400 was adopted. On January 21, 1920, Dr. T. F. Myler was elected the first Health Commissioner on a part-time basis. Mr. Hugh Bostwick was elected President and Dr. Myler’s position was filled by Mr. Frank Griffin of Middlefield.
The first public health nurse, Ms. Allyn, was hired in December 1920. The first clerk was hired sometime in 1922/3. The Health Commissioner became a full-time position in September 1923. The Health Commissioner at the time was Dr. G. L. Lyne, who had succeeded Dr. Myler in December 1922.
The Board hired Mr. C. S. Helling as the first Geauga County Sanitary Engineer. Mr Helling began work on August 19, 1946.