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Health Department

Board of Health

Under the Metro Charter, the Board must be composed of six members. Three members must be doctors of medicine certified for practice by the state board of medical examiners and licensed by the state licensing board for the healing arts. Each of the three must have at least five years experience in the active practice of medicine. Per the Metro Charter requirements, one of the doctors must have experience in the field of psychiatry.

One member of the board must be a registered nurse. The two remaining members of the Board are chosen without reference to occupation.

Members of the Board of Health are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by a majority vote from the Metro Council. Each Board member serves his or her duties without compensation.

Board Members

Samuel L. Felker, JD  -  Chair
Attorney in private practice

Carol Etherington, MSN, RN, FAAN - Vice-Chair
Associate Director, Community Health Initiatives
Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

Alicia Batson, MD
Psychiatrist

Henry Foster, MD
Chairman, Board of Pathfinder International, Boston Massachusetts
Chairman, National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program Common Ground: Transforming Public Health Informatics Systems

Francisca Guzmán
Media and Development Advisor, Disability Law & Advocacy Center

Ruth Stewart, MD
Clinical Faculty Family Medicine Physician, Meharry Medical College
 

Board of Health Role

The role of the Board of Health is to administer and control public health for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

The Board of Health, through its chief medical director, exercise all the administrative functions of Metro Government pertaining to the following:

Board of Health Functions

  • The physical and mental health of the people.

  • The investigation and control of communicable diseases.

  • The regulation of publicly and privately owned institutions for the purpose of sanitation and public health.

  • The enforcement of reasonable rules and regulations promulgated as herein provided.

  • The collection, compilation, tabulation, analyzing and reporting of statistics and data concerning birth, still births, deaths and such vital records.

  • The performance or the functions previously assigned by law to the health officers or the health departments of the City of Nashville and Davidson County.

  • Inspect all charitable institutions, all jails and all institutions of the metropolitan government where sick, insane, destitute or other persons are confined. The board may cause any person convicted of violating any law or ordinance and who is confined, or who is on parole, to be examined as to the causes contributing to the delinquency and shall make and keep a record of such examinations.

Board of Health Duties

  • Determine and establish the policies to be followed in the exercise of its functions.

  • Establish within the health department such divisions, branches, or subdivisions, and plan of organization as may be consistent with efficient administration, which organizational plan shall be submitted by the board to the council for approval by ordinance, and which organizational plan may be amended over time.

  • After public hearings adopt reasonable rules and regulations or amend rules and regulations previously adopted as necessary for the protection of the health of the people, which rules and regulations, among other things, shall set standards and procedures and requirements of conduct not less than as set out in regulations of the commissioner of public health of Tennessee. No such rule or regulation shall be contrary to any metropolitan ordinance.

  • Hear and act upon complaints of persons affected by decisions of the chief medical director and to amend or set aside such decisions as are contrary to policies or regulations of the board.

  • Cause to be submitted, with the aid of the department of law, for submission to the Metro Council for its consideration, a comprehensive Health Code which shall embrace all matters with relation to public health to which the powers and duties of the board extend, and which shall have as its purpose the preservation and promotion of the health of the people of the metropolitan government.

  • Submit to the mayor, within six months after the beginning of each new term of office, a report of the activities of the metropolitan board of health and a comprehensive program of public health and indigent medical care.

  • Conduct inquiries, make investigations and hold hearings for the purpose of investigating nuisances, preventing the creation of nuisances, taking other preventative steps to protect the health of the community and for other purposes in connection with the powers, duties and authorities of the board. In conducting any such inquiry and mailing of any such investigation the board may exercise the same investigative powers as were vested by the Metro Charter in other metropolitan agencies which are given investigative powers.

  • Contract with other governmental agencies, or with public or private institutions, subject to confirmation by the council by resolution for such services as will further the program and policies of the board.

  • Cause to be prepared by the chief medical director, subject to review and revision by the board, the proposed annual budget for the metropolitan board of health.

  • Cooperate with agencies of the United States and of the State of Tennessee in all matters of public health and sanitation and accept, receive and provide for the use of federal and state grants in aid, state aid and matching funds.

  • Cooperate with privately endowed or operated institutions, funds or foundations in all matters of public health and sanitation and receive and accept and provide for the use of grants from any such institutions, funds or foundations.

  • Exercise such other authority and perform such other duties as may be required by ordinance consistent with the general law and the provisions of the Metro Charter.

Board of Health Policies/Resolutions/Documents

BOH Appeals Policy
Food Service Establishments
Grant Application Authority