North Santa Rosa


Milton, FL – The Florida Department of Health is celebrating 125 years of public health during 2014.  The state Legislature created the State Board of Health on February 20, 1889, in response to a yellow fever epidemic in Jacksonville, and Dr. Joseph Yates Porter from Key West became Florida’s first State Public Health Officer.  Yellow fever in Florida was eradicated in 1905.


DOH-Santa Rosa has been part of the Florida Public Health system since 1944, when the first health unit in the county opened with a part-time director and a staff of 10, including four nurses.  Services were provided at three sites in Jay, Munson, and the main facility in Milton and included immunizations, testing and treatment for communicable diseases, and home health visits.  As the county has grown, so has the health department.  Today, DOH-Santa Rosa has a staff of 66, three service sites, and offers Environmental Health services, Family Planning and STD services, Immunizations, Healthy Start, Vital Statistics, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program), the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs, and We Care.


“Florida’s dramatic growth was made possible through public health efforts that controlled disease and improved environmental health,” said Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health.  “Just as Dr. Porter and colleagues saved Floridians from yellow fever over a century ago, we are committed to solving the top public health threat to Florida families now: weight challenge.”


The year-long celebration of 125 years of Florida Public Health was launched in Key West on February 3, where Dr. Armstrong joined Dr. Porter’s great-great granddaughter in a ceremonial wreath laying at Dr. Porter’s grave site.  Throughout 2014, the Department will offer educational and health information opportunities. A resource featuring “Public Health Heroes” from all 67 counties will be released later this spring.  During the week of April 7-11, the Department will further highlight the 125th Anniversary as part of National Public Health Week.  In September 2014, the Department will unveil a full historical exhibit of Florida Public Health heritage at Florida’s Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee.


The Department invites Florida’s residents and visitors to join in recognizing 125 years of protecting, promoting and improving the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts/  More information is available at


Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook.  For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

Posted by on Feb 21 2014. Filed under Events, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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