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Deputy Secretary for Children's Medical Services

Contact: Florida Health


Robert D. Karch, MD, MPH, FAAPassumed his role as Deputy Secretary for Children’s Medical Services (CMS) for Florida on March 16, 2020. Dr. Karch comes to the Florida Department of Health from the Nemours Foundation, where he had practiced since 2011. He is the immediate past president of the medical staff at Nemours Children’s Hospital (NCH) in Orlando and has served as Chair of the Medical Executive Committee at NCH. Dr. Karch was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine, where he served as the Director of the Medical Nutrition Longitudinal Curricular Theme. He has also served as the Nemours Children’s Hospital Site Director for the UCF College of Medicine Pediatric Clinical Clerkship from 2014-2019. He developed the Culinary Medicine fourth year medical student elective at UCF College of Medicine. He has served as a pediatric nutrition consultant for the Nemours Health and Prevention Services (NHPS) Delaware Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative for optimal early infant feeding.

Dr. Karch is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a member of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) and sits on the FCAAP Pediatric Obesity Task Force. He is also a member of the Central Florida Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Task Force. He is a member of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN).

Dr. Karch earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree in Biology from the University of Delaware, a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with special emphasis in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a Master of Science degree (MS) in Health Policy Research from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his Medical Degree (MD) from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Karch completed his pediatric internship and residency training at the Miami Children’s Hospital (Nicklaus Children’s Hospital), where he also served as Chief Pediatric Resident. Following residency, he served in the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) as a general pediatrician in rural northern Arizona at the Canyonlands Community Health Care Center in Page, AZ. After his NHSC service, Dr. Karch completed a fellowship in Pediatric Nutrition within the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He also completed a Health Services and Health Policy research fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Karch has particular interests in optimal early infant and toddler nutrition, childhood overweight and obesity, nutrition education in medical school curricula, food insecurity and drowning prevention.