About Us

City of Laredo Health Department History

1935 - August 24, 1935 - Ordinance requiring the

1935 - August 24, 1935 - Ordinance requiring the "City Health Officer" to conduct a Public Clinic and furnish all medicines and provide all help necessarily required in connection therewith. Dr. A.T. Cook, City Health Officer. Maintain public health clinic for indigent sick of City, provide medication attention at no charge. Registered pharmacist available to aid and assist in compounding all prescriptions.

1943 - County Commissioners Meeting- November 8, 1943.

Agreement between City of Laredo and Webb County to establish the Laredo-Webb County Health Unit. Appointment of Dr. E.M. Longoria as City Health Officer.

1960 -Agreement between the Texas State Department

Agreement between the Texas State Department of Health and the Laredo-Webb County Health Department (LWCHD) to receive State funds to Department, which ran under the Director of Health Department which made financial and reports to due to State.

1983 - Local Public Health Reorganization Act passed by 68lh Legislature

1983 - Local Public Health Reorganization Act passed by 68lh Legislature required local health units to reorganize to comply with act, both City and County entered into an inter-local agreement. .

1989- November 14, 1989 abolishing LWCHD creating and establishing

The Health Department of the City of Laredo, appointing a Director, identifying services to be performed by the Health Dept, providing authority to enter into contracts with State and Federal agencies in the area of public health.


  1. Personal health promotion and maintenance services
  2. Infectious disease control and prevention services;
  3. Environmental and consumer health programs for enforcement of health and safety laws related to food, water, waste control, general sanitation and information services.
  4. Laboratory services
  5. Administrative services.

Health Dept located in:

  • 1926-1958 Health Dept on 1000 block of Hidalgo Street
  • 1958-1971 Health Dept on 300 Arkansas/Satellite clinic on 1000 block Hidalgo Street
  • 1971- to present Health Dept on 2600 Cedar Ave.

1960- Services Provided:

  • General Medical Services
  • Handlers Maternity/Well Baby
  • Clinic TB Clinic
  • Immunization Clinic
  • Dental Services
  • Outreach/Home visits by RNs to the community

1960- Services Provided:

  • General Medical Services
  • Handlers Maternity/Well Baby
  • Clinic TB Clinic
  • Immunization Clinic
  • Dental Services
  • Outreach/Home visits by RNs to the community

1960- Services Provided:

  • Immunization
  • TB Control
  • Food-handlers
  • WIC Program EPSDT clinic
  • Hypertension Program
  • Inspection/Surveillance
  • Vector Control


1963- 1971

Diabetes Screening Clinic available Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays - 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. medically eligible clients are provided services including diabetic screening, laboratory tests, and physician care through indigent clinic.


Determination of health problems in the Laredo area by socioeconomic groups on morbidity and mortality rates due to diabetes. Diabetes rate in 1971- Laredo 28.8 and U.S. rate 18.5. Other statistics also available in report. Department provided same services as above and intensified alerting the community to this problem.


Under Personal Health Services Division - Services continued to be provided through clinics staffed with five (part-time) local physicians for treatment, lab services and educational instructions to clients regarding proper diet, nutrition and hygiene were given.


Home based health survey conducted by the Laredo Webb County Health Department focused on chronic disease conditions including diabetes and alerted/educated the community.

Survey also included information on demographics, housing, sanitation, and use of medical and dental services and immunization levels. Department services includes medical care by physician, patient education, laboratory testing and community based education.

1979- 1982

The Buena Lifestyle Program implemented in 1979 was a health promotion program for the prevention of chronic disease including diabetes and hypertension; funded through the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. During the four year grant period, staff and volunteers developed and utilized mass media communications, neighborhoods meetings, and individual counseling. Educational models were developed for each communication outlet - TV, radio, news print and educational material distributed. It also included effective methods, strategies and skills for lifestyle behavior changes. Basic steps for success behavior changes utilized in the outlets included the following steps: Objective attention, information. favorable attitude, motivation, decision, change, and maintenance.

1983 -1991

The program mission and definition of a healthier community was "People Helping People to Help Themselves to Better Health." This was done through the application of principles of human behavior that spur people toward a state of optimal health. The action plan developed was to achieve the following objectives Prevention: for those persons free of chronic diseases to remain free, and those at high risk to adopt and maintain a form of behavior change which would reduce their risk for developing a chronic illness contributing to premature death, by 35% within four years. Intervention: the development and implementation of intervention strategies aimed at reducing chronic diseases practices. Early Stage Chronic Disease Control: to increase the control of early stage chronic disease specifically diabetes, hypertension by more than 5% annually.


The result of the Laredo/Webb County Health Department Buena Vida grant from W.K. Kellogg results were published in the Health Values in an article titled "Chronic Disease Prevention in Laredo, Texas." This publication described the project objectives, methods, results and evaluation.


Under the Personal Health Services Division the Adult Health Program had four separate components: the first component was provision for general health screening for chronic disease including diabetes accompanied by health teaching. The second component was the Prudent Buyer Program which would pay for diagnostic tests for persons with abnormal cancer screening examinations. The third component was the Primary Care Program/Health Care Program which provided both diabetes/hypertension education combined with intensive patient tutoring. The fourth component was the Diabetes Control Project which helped to prevent blindness in diabetic patients, provided classes on the signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy and referrals to opthamologists for examination and laser treatment if needed.


The Health Department started two outreach community programs that addressed chronic diseases such as diabetes, they were the Buena Vida Chronic Disease Prevention Program and the Nutrition and Diabetic Resource Center. In-house we had the Adult Health Clinic which integrated with the Primary Health Care Educational Program and the Diabetic Control Project. The clinic was open every day between the hours of 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. Services provided included: physician care, risk assessment, medical screening, medication, health counseling, education, referral and follow-up and education to prevent and control chronic disease, and laboratory screening for diabetes. Also available were referrals for foot care (podiatrist) and referral to an opthamologist for retinopathy screening.

1991 - Present

  • The Department continues to provide services to diabetics through the Adult Health Program and through the Primary Health Care Services Program, which provides medications, laboratory screening, physician referrals, podiatry services, opthalmology services and patient education, sensitive eye exams are also provided through a State program by referral.
  • Furthermore, our Buena Vida Program which works through 26 neighborhood groups continues its diligent health promotion efforts. Buena Vida also provides one to one health risk assessment, laboratory screening and education to prevent diabetes and hypertension to numerous persons per week.
  • Our WIC program, which now has an average of 15,000 enrollees per month, provides intensive dietary guidance, counseling and education to mothers so as to increase their health and that of their family.
  • Lastly, our prenatal care program works intensely with the up to 900 women who will receive their prenatal care services with over 5,000 clinic visits at this department this fiscal year with healthy diet counseling, weight control and other chronic condition interventions that would negatively impact the pregnancy and infant.