The role of a local health department is to protect and promote the public's health. Although a daily factor in all our lives, public health is one of the least visible and least understood of all public functions. In a nutshell, public health provides all those services needed to protect and promote health that cannot be readily performed in the private sector or by health care providers. Public health is not health care. Often misunderstood as a service for the poor or for only certain segments of the community, public health serves everyone. Unlike health care, if we do our job perfectly, you?ll never know we were there!