Reference Number: 
CTAS-503

Each county is required to have a health department. The county legislative body of each county may establish a board of health consisting of the following:

  1. The county mayor,
  2. The director of schools or his or her designee,
  3. Two physicians licensed to practice in Tennessee nominated by the medical society serving that county,
  4. One dentist licensed to practice in Tennessee nominated by the dental society serving that county,
  5. One pharmacist licensed to practice in Tennessee nominated by the pharmaceutical society serving that county,
  6. One registered nurse licensed to practice in Tennessee nominated by the nurses association serving that county,
  7. The county health director and county health officer,
  8. At the option of the county legislative body, a doctor of veterinary medicine, and
  9. At the option of the county legislative body, a citizen representative who not now nor ever has been a healthcare provider or the spouse of one.

In the event that a nomination is not timely made, the county legislative body may proceed to elect an otherwise qualified member. All members must be residents of the county. In the event that the required members are not available from within the county, the board remains duly constituted. The members who are not ex officio are appointed by the county legislative body to serve for terms of four years.  The county board of health governs the policies of full-time county health departments, implements state health rules and regulations through the county health director and/or the county health officer, and adopts rules and regulations as may be necessary and appropriate to protect the general health and safety of the citizens of the county. T.C.A. § 68-2-601.   

Contiguous counties may by agreement adopted by their respective legislative bodies form a district health department and have a joint district board of health instead of their own county health departments and boards of health when such a combination is determined by the Tennessee Commissioner of Health to be economical. T.C.A. § 68- 2-701. A joint district board of health consists of the county mayor, director of schools and one licensed physician from each participating county. T.C.A. § 68-2-702.