The mission of Howell County Health Department is to improve, promote and protect the health of Howell County through awareness, assessment, planning and assurance in order that our community may achieve their fullest health potential.

In 1981 a 501C “Not for Profit” Corporation was formed under the name of Southern Missouri Association of Public Health Administrator’s, Inc., for the sole purpose of providing WIC services for Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas, and Wright Counties. The Health Department Administrators were to serve as board members. Eventually, each county contracted to provide their own WIC services, the last being Wright County in 1997.

The name was changed in 1994 to South Central Public Health Services Group, Inc., to provide public health services to Howell County residents. Howell County had been without a health department or nursing services for several years, and was the only county in the state without a health department. The Board’s mission was to provide public health services to Howell County. In August 1995, Howell County Commissioners appointed a Health Officer and South Central Public Health Services Group, Inc., as the local public health agency to serve their residents.

On April 8, 2003 Howell County residents voted for a ten cent property tax to support a Howell County Health Department. On November 4, 2003 the South Central Public Health Board transferred assets, contracts, staff and the operation of the public health agency to the newly appointed Howell County Health Center Board; therefore, establishing a permanent health department for Howell County. Since the time of the initial board appointment, all board members have been elected by vote of county residents.

Since 1900, the average lifespan of persons in the United States has lengthened by greater than 30 years; 25 years of this gain is attributable to the advance in public health. Supporting a stronger public health system can protect residents from existing health threats as well as new and emerging ones.


  • Robert D. Shaw, Jr., MD – Willow Springs-Chair
  • Lynn McKinzie – Mtn. View-Vice Chair
  • Scott McWilliams – West Plains-Secretary/Treasurer
  • Barbara Alsup – West Plains
  • David Christopher-West Plains