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History of Florida public Health

Florida Public Health Oral History Project

Collection Index

In 1997, Dr. Charles Mahan, then dean of the USF College of Public Health, Sam Fustukjian, director of the USF Libraries, and Dr. E. Charlton Prather, a former Florida health officer, established the Florida Public Health Oral History Program. Dr. Prather interviewed administrators, physicians, laboratory managers, epidemiologists, nurses, and many other experts, prominent in the field of public health in Florida. The interviews were conducted at Florida Department of Health units in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and West Palm Beach from 1997-2002. 

In this collection, the 60 interviewees discuss their motivation to pursue a career in the field, their education, the challenges and highlights of their jobs, and their determination to ensure the health of the people of Florida despite organizational upheaval and the vicissitudes of state politics.

Note: Audio files for all of the interviews are currently available online, but transcripts are not yet available for all interviews.  The Oral History team is working on the transcripts and the transcript PDFs will be added as they are completed.

The 125th Anniversary of Public Health in Florida

By E. Russell Jackson, JR. 

Series published in the Florida Public Health Advocate Newsletter in 2014

Part 1  The 125th Anniversary of Public Health in Florida
Part 2  The Law Creating the State Board of Health on February 20, 1889
Part 3  Dr. Joseph Yates Porter:  Florida's First State Health Officer
Part 4  Dr. Henry Hanson and the Years Between Dr. Porter and Dr. Sowder
Part 5  Dr. Wilson Sowder and the Golden era of Public Health in Florida
Part 6  Dr. Charlton Prather and the First Years after the State Board of Health
Part 7  The Historic Mission of the Florida Public Health Association
Part 8  Dr. Carl Brumback and County Health Departments in Florida
Part 9  Florida's Historic Capitol and the History of Florida's Public Health
Part 10  An Idea Whose Time Had Come
Part 11  Miami's First Public Health Officer:  James M. Jackson, Jr., M.D.
Part 12  The 125th Anniversary of Public Health in Florida and the Creation of the Department of Health in 1996

More Florida Public Health History

Florida's Public Health Heritage 
William J. Bigler & Davis D. Janowski

Public Health in Florida - Yesteryear 
William J. Bigler, 
Florida Journal of Public Health Vol. 1, No. 3, May 1989, p. 7-19

100 Years of of Public Health in Florida

By William J. Bigler

Oral Interview

Oral interview with Dr. William J. Bigler, a biologist with the Florida Department of Health. In this interview, Dr. Bigler discusses his work on a project concerning the history of public health in Florida. He describes how he started in public health working in the Veterinary Public Health section and how, through this work, he started to investigate the history of the veterinary section and eventually the department. Dr. Bigler also talks about the numerous efforts that were taken to try and salvage some of the early artifacts and photographs related to Florida public health. The interview is concluded with a discussion about the creation of a public health history museum in Jacksonville.

14646 NW 151st Blvd.
Alachua, FL 32615

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