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History of the Volusia County Health Department

 

In 1931, the Florida Legislature approved a procedure to establish county health units in cooperation with the State Board of Health. In accordance with that, Volusia County established a county health department to provide health care to the citizens of Daytona Beach in conjunction with the State Board of Health.

Volusia County Health Department Site in 1942 Originally, the Health Department was located on Beach Street in Downtown Daytona Beach. At left, Health Department circa 1942 - 1950.

Dr. Hubert U. King was named the director of the Volusia County Health Department in 1967. During the early 70's, the health department employed 100 people at one of the following locations: a building on Beach Street in Daytona Beach, the old Post Office building in DeLand for west side of the county and an old motel in Edgewater for the southeast section of the county. Disease prevention and control was the main goal of the health department. Services that were provided under the direction of Dr. King included: Home health care, EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment), Communicable disease surveillance, Environmental Health Programs, Dental Care and Prevention, Immunizations, WIC, Health Education, Family Planning and Prenatal care. Home health care was a major focus of the Health Department as there was no competition from the private providers. The budget for the Health Department was $238,715.00 in 1965. Clyde Morris building

As the population increased substantially, the demand for services increased and the Health Department started construction of a new building. The new facility on Clyde Morris Boulevard was officially dedicated on September 8, 1977. With the support of the Visiting Nurses Association and local fund raising efforts, the New Smyrna Beach Health Center on Canal Street was completed in April, 1979 to serve the increasing population of southeast Volusia county. As a result of an increase in services, the budget was $2.3 million in 1980 for Volusia County. New Smyrna Location

The building in New Smyrna was the result of a dream of the Southeast Visiting Nurses Association. The money as raised through private donations, auctions, and other fund raising projects.

In 1982, in cooperation with Halifax Hospital, the Health Department was given the Halifax Hospital Indigent Maternity Program. The health department would now provide prenatal and postnatal care to indigent clients throughout Volusia County.

Beginning in 1983, as a result of the establishment of a number of both profit and non-profit Home Health Agencies, there was a decline in the need for Home Health Care.

Dr. William Cox was named the new director in 1984. There was a $3 million dollar operating budget and approximately 150 employees. The services that were provided included: Maternity and Family Planning, TB, Well baby clinics,

TD services, Immunizations WIC, Vital Statistics, Dental Care, Environmental Health and Home health. In addition 1984 marked the beginning of computerization at Volusia County Health Department.

With the start of Primary Care in 1986, the need for additional staff was evident. A pharmacist was hired in addition to more nurses, doctors, clerical staff and field nurses. The staff climbed from 185 employees to 235 employees to meet the demand of the clinic.

In 1986 - 1987 the health department responded to the new health concern and started treating HIV and AIDS patients. During this time there was an increased demand for school health services as the county experienced rapid growth.

Unfortunately, in 1987 as the health department experienced severe financial difficulty a difficult decision was made to lay off employees - first time ever.

Governor Martinez responded to a growing epidemic by establishing a substance-exposed program in 1988. Volusia County Health Department revised the medical record system by establishing a central site for all records during 1988 -1989. All records would now be kept in one place.

Dr. Cox retired in 1989 and was replaced by Dr. June Atkinson. When Dr. Atkinson took over as director, there were approximately 300 employees and the budget was $10 - $11 million.

In the early 1990's VCHD was one of the top 5 health departments in the state of Florida. The focus of Dr. Atkinson during this time was the promotion of the Primary Care program. We now offered a full range of services to the public. Additionally, The Environmental Health Lab was established and combined efforts with the Volusia County Environmental Lab.

In 1994 - 1995, the VCHD had grown to approximately 400 employees providing a wide range of services to the residents of Volusia County.

Dr. Bonnie Sorensen replaced Dr. Atkinson in 1996. The budget for the Health Department had grown to $17.9 million dollars with over 400 employees. Now the focus is going back to the roles of traditional public health - epidemiology, health education, communicable diseases, family planning, prenatal care, health information, environmental health, working in partnership with other community agencies and getting into our community to take the lead in promoting public health.

Dr. Alfred Adams replaced Dr. Sorensen in 2002.

Howard Rodenberg, M.D., M.P.H. was the Director of the Volusia County Health Department starting in October, 2003 and left February 2005.

Thomas R. Coleman, M.D., M.S. was Director of the Volusia County Health Department from June, 2005 - June 2009.

Dr Coleman, Dr. Viamonte-Ros, Jean Kline
From left to right: VCHD Director Thomas R. Coleman, M.D., M.S., State Surgeon General - Dr. Ana M. Viamonte-Ros, DOH Deputy Health Secretary - Jean Kline during a March 2007 visit to the tornado damaged Volusia County Health Department - Deland Clinic site.

Page last updated: 09/18/12