- Yakima Health District is hiring
Food Handler Test Hours
Monday - Friday:
8:30am to 11:00am & 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Special Extended Testing Hours:
1st Tuesday of every month - 1:30pm to 6:00pm
The testing process takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. (30 minute video & 35 multiple choice questions)
- Administrator’s Welcome
- YHD Strategic Plan (PDF)
- Structure of the Yakima Health District
- Mandated Services
- Board of Health
- Laws Governing Public Health
- Other Public Health Agencies
Thank you for taking the time to review the Yakima Health District strategic plan. I want to personally welcome you to our website and hope that the information contained within meets your health needs and expectations.
The Yakima Health District is the oldest health district in the nation and has a proud tradition of providing public health services to people living in, working in and visiting Yakima County for over 100 years. While we honor our tradition of trust and service to the local community, we are actively setting the groundwork for the next 100 years of public health service.
Some of you may wonder: What is Public Health and what does the Health District do? Public Health is varied and responds to the needs of the public on many levels; we work with individuals and businesses to insure that the food we eat is safe and we minimize health risks to the environment. We work with local health providers to insure that our community has access to vaccines. We prepare for public health crises so that we may respond to the needs of the public when their health is imperiled. And we collaborate with community partners to collectively improve the health and welfare of all people, regardless of their position in our society. All of this is done to insure that people living in our cities and county are safe and free from harm.
We believe strongly that the more each individual knows about public health, the better equipped we all become to improve the health of our community. The Yakima Health District’s Strategic Plan demonstrates how we intend to meet future public health needs of the community.
Again, I want to thank you for reviewing our Strategic Plan and investing your valuable time learning about what we accomplish every day on behalf of the public’s health. We welcome your input and involvement in improving the health of our community and would be happy to respond to any questions you may have. Our commitment will remain the same as it has for over 100 years—namely, to insure the health and welfare of the public. It is our privilege to serve you and the greater Yakima Community.
- The Yakima Health District is an independent governmental entity with specific powers (RCW 70.46, 70.05) and additional implied powers to do whatever is necessary to carry out the specific powers.
- The Yakima Health District Board of Health oversees and supervises all aspects of the health district. The local Board of Health is made up of the three County Commissioners, two local municipality officials, and two citizen members.
- The Yakima Health District:
- Has no power to tax or levy fines
- Has a specific, specialized mission
- Provides mandatory services for the county, cities, and towns
- Is financed by fees for services provided, contract grants, and county contributions
- Communicable Disease Control Prevention and Treatment Services
- Tuberculosis Services
- Sexually Transmitted Disease Services
- Water and Vector-borne Disease Services
- Food Service Licensure, Inspection and Certification Programs
- Vital Statistics Services
- Water and Vector-borne Disease Services
- Solid and Hazardous Waste Services
- Water Recreation Inspection Services
- Waste Water Treatment Services
- School Sanitation Inspection Services
- Food Handler Education and Certification
- General Sanitation Inspection/Control
- Such other services as mandated by State Board of Health
With extensive irrigation projects, fertile soil, and phenomenal opportunity for farming, Yakima County grew from 13,462 at the 1900 U.S. census to 41,709 at the 1910 census. Few of the towns had sewer systems or public water systems. Coupling this lack of sanitation with the exploding population, the County experienced typhoid fever deaths at a rate 5 times higher than the national average. In 1911, city and county leaders sought federal assistance in helping identify why the death rate from typhoid fever was so high.
After an investigation by epidemiologist Dr. Leslie Lumsden, it was determined that the death rate was totally preventable by reasonable and inexpensive sanitary measures. Dr. Lumsden found that privies (outhouses) were placed next to wells and were contaminating the ground water. Irrigation ditches were open and exposed to pollution from privies, so that the water used for watering crops was contaminated with sewage. Animal excreta were improperly disposed of, creating a huge fly population throughout the Valley. The sewage of the city of North Yakima was discharged directly into the Yakima River. Downstream this water was used for irrigation and as a source of drinking water.
Dr. Lumsden recommended:
- The formation of an efficient county health organization.
- Rigid enforcement of the law requiring prompt reporting of all cases of typhoid fever.
- Adequate official supervision over all recognized and suspected cases of typhoid fever to secure disinfection of patients and other measure to prevent the spread of infection.
- The safeguarding of water supplies against dangerous pollution.
- The disposal of human excreta in a sanitary manner so that the soil will not be polluted and flies will not be contaminated with this dangerous material.
- Carrying out an energetic campaign against flies to lessen their numbers and to prevent them from having access to infectious matter and to foods and beverages.
- Community education in respect to sanitation.
His recommendations produced a dramatic decline in the incidence of Typhoid Fever. This success prompted the Yakima County commissioners and the city council to establish a permanent local health department staffed by a physician, a sanitarian, a nurse, and a clerk. This success led the Public Health Service to publish a monograph entitled “The Causation and Prevention of Typhoid Fever – with Special Reference to Conditions Observed in Yakima County Washington.”
The monograph received wide distribution and became something of a bible for rural sanitation work as well as a blueprint for the development of county health departments. Although public health agencies existed in several counties prior to 1911, the Yakima achievements led to the development of county health departments in most parts of the country (taken in part from Plagues and Politics: The Story of the United States Public Health Service).
- Board of Health members:
- Rand Elliott , Yakima County Commissioner, Chair
- Kevin Bouchey, Yakima County Commissioner, Vice-Chair
- Mike Leita, Yakima County Commissioner
- Barbara Harrer, Mayor of Harrah
- Gail Weaver, Citizen Member
- Maureen Adkison, Yakima City Council
- Robyn Phillips-Madson, D.O, MPH., Citizen Member
Board meetings are held monthly in Room 205 Conference Room A and are open to the public. Check our Meetings Section for Meeting Schedules.
RCW 70.05.060 Powers and Duties of Local Board of Health